Wardman Brown

Background

Wardman Brown is an architectural organisation, delivering all aspects of architectural services, from consultancy and design to project management and completion.

Lee Wardman, Director at Wardman Brown tells us: “We were established in 2011 as Sole Trader and became an Ltd Company in 2014. We are members of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists providing Architectural Services for sectors including Domestic, Commercial, Industrial, Retail, Residential, Leisure and Health Care.

Challenge

Making the shift from sole trader to a Limited Company comes with a particular set of challenges. The difficulties of employing people can be numerous. “When we started employing staff we had problems with sickness absence,” states Lee, “which we now seem to have under control after a lot of advice and help from Croner.

“We were using another HR company before coming to Croner, but we didn’t find their service to be very good. Unfortunately, we were locked in to a 12 month contract.

“Our HR system prior to this was managed by me, and it was just myself trying to monitor and deal with it, including keeping track of our files which were kept as digital copies.”

Managing HR alone can take up a significant chunk of time that could otherwise be spent on business development. Managing health & safety on top of this can be a further distraction.

“We managed health & safety internally too,” says Lee, “There was an H&S system in place but it was very basic and areas of our H&S policy were lacking and not tailored to our requirements or business needs.”

How We’ve Helped

“We’ve been signed up for HR services for around eight months now,” explains Lee, “we primarily use the Simplify system for monitoring sickness, holidays, and we have sought HR advice regarding a dismissal. The call relating to the dismissal was very, very helpful.”

Croner’s Simplify system is designed for users to (as the name suggests) simplify the management of HR. Lee found that when facing difficulties with the system, the support provided was second-to-none:

“It’s quite easy to get a handle on the Simplify system. However, I did have a slight issue a couple of weeks ago when I had put the holidays incorrectly and it had blocked out a full year of holiday entitlement. I rang up the technical support team and they managed to fix the issue within a matter of seconds and talked me through how to correctly input holidays. The support provided was incredibly helpful, and the implementation of the system overall has been very good.

“The most useful resource Croner provides however is the access via telephone to help whenever I need it. It means that any queries or concerns are dealt with quickly and personally. We use it frequently when required.”

On the health & safety side, Croner also provided a full on-site assessment of the office: “We had an on-site visit with Mark Whigham who was extremely helpful. He conducted an H&S inspection, followed by a comprehensive report and advice. I would say it has had a noticeable impact, in particular it has improved the H&S of our business.

“The overall service has been good, and I’d recommend Croner to other architects in need of HR and H&S support.”

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