Charles Trent Ltd

Background

We are vehicle recyclers, which is very different to what you’d imagine a typical scrapyard to be. We’re a lot more high-tech. We like to think of ourselves as the ultimate, original green company. We take every single bit of damaged scrap, vehicles, and insurance vehicles and extract as much as we possible can from them to reuse.

We have around 185 employees at the moment. Roughly 70% of those are back on-site, while the remaining 30% are still on furlough. Anyone who has an office-based job currently has the option of working from home. But all of those with hands-on roles are coming back. As you can imagine, it’s quite difficult to scrap a car from your living room.

We have two main sites, one in Poole, the other in Rugby, and a storage site in Nottingham.

Challenge

It wasn’t myself who initially signed up with Croner, I wasn’t with the businesses at the time. However, from what I understand, Charles Trent originally sourced their HR advice locally. They started shopping around for an HR system to manage documentation and records, and found Croner. The online management system was impressive and it came with a good HR advice package too, so we signed up.

“We only originally shut down the business for the first three weeks of lockdown. We have contracts with specific companies—organisations that were deemed essential—we supplied them with a lot of vehicle parts to keep them on the road. And so, we had to open up to continue to service them. We had a skeleton staff come back to work, and continued to bring people back when the workload required it. On average, we usually process around 1,000 cars a week. Now, we are processing around 600, so we’re still not back to full capacity.”

“I thought, being in HR as long as I have, that nothing particularly new would come along. But then coronavirus threw a whole slew of brand new HR issues at us.”

How We’ve Helped

“It was during this period of lockdown that I found the Croner service to be invaluable. The advice line and the team of advisers were fantastic. It was due to their assistance that I felt the need to formally pay them a compliment. It was so impressive because new guidance on what you can and can’t do would be released daily sometimes. It was like we were always trying to hit a moving target. And yet, the Croner advisers were always able to offer me sensible advice and support our business. When the guidance changed, the team would always be happy to clarify the changes.”

“More specifically, we asked for advice on the furlough agreements in the initial stages of lockdown. Then, as time went on, we needed support in other areas. In particular, we asked for advice on getting people back into the workplace. We did have some individuals who were more than happy to sit and home and do nothing when there was work available for them. Luckily, the vast majority of our workforce have been absolutely brilliant during the process. However, where we did encounter issues, Croner helped us navigate them.

We did have one employee who agreed to be available to come back to work in his initial furlough agreement. Then, he decided to go back home to Italy, despite us needing him on-site.

“I would recommend the Croner service to anyone working in our industry without question, I think the team are a bunch of superstars. They’re not afraid to give straight, pragmatic answers, even if they’re not the ones I want to hear. I think that’s exactly what employers need during this time.

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