Awen Cultural Trust

Awen attracts around a million visits a year to its diverse range of cultural facilities and services which include theatres, libraries, community centres, a country house and park and two work-based projects for adults with learning and physical disabilities. Its work has a significant impact on local economies, people’s wellbeing and in bringing communities together.

Over 150 staff transferred from Bridgend County Borough Council to join Awen when it was established in October 2015. From the outset, Awen’s Head of People, Helen Sage, was determined that the people management policies and systems would reflect the organisation’s strategic vision and ethos, support the transition to the third sector and foster a culture where all staff are happy in their work.

People Empowerment at Awen Cultural Trust

“We are committed to engaging and empowering our staff to help them be the best that they can be. How we manage our people management policies and processes plays a huge part in delivering on this,” said Helen.

To ensure there was a continuity of service, the new trust initially continued to utilise the local authority for contractual administration and the payroll function. However, one of Helen’s early priorities was to transition across to a new, state- of-the-art HR solution that could provide these services as soon as it was feasible.

“The contract with the council had served its purpose in allowing the transition to be smooth and seamless and we appreciated their support throughout,” added Helen. “However, it was clear that we needed a long-term solution whereby we could control our own data, reduce duplication of work and introduce robust and
efficient ways of working.”

A forward-thinking culture

“When it came to evaluating the options, there were two key must-haves at the top of our wish list,” said Helen. “In what has been a somewhat ‘traditional’ sector, we were establishing a new forward-thinking culture of our own. In order to best empower our people self-service was a must; as was the ability to configure the software as and when required. Furthermore, with multiple sites, working time patterns and even job roles, as well as extensive historic data, we were looking for a cloud-based, modular system that met our own current requirements, but with the ability to grow with us in the future.”

“After an extensive evaluation, we opted to go with Cezanne’s HR’s People Management and Absence Management modules followed a few months later with the Time Management module.”

The trust also opted to implement a payroll system from Payroll Business Solutions (PBS) as it offers some integration with the Cezanne HR system.

Integrated payroll

“There have been over 10,000 user logins since we went live with the system and it has become the ‘go to’ place for staff for everything from booking a holiday to checking current policy documentation. It is saving us a huge amount of time and providing much better insight into key HR metrics.”

“Our employees can access their payslips along with their personal data from wherever they are, at any time. This fully secure, self-service functionality supports our philosophy of empowering staff, gives them the responsibility of managing their own records and provides managers with staffing data and analysis to inform their decisions.”

A smooth implementation

Having selected the Cezanne HR solution, Awen worked closely with the support team at Cezanne HR to hit the implementation and training deadlines that they had set.

“We made the decision to go with Cezanne HR in January this year and were up and running bang on schedule before the financial year end in April,” explained Helen.

“The team at Cezanne HR has been very helpful. Peter Hall, who manages the support team, has helped every step of the way. Nothing has been too much trouble and every question I’ve asked has been answered quickly and effectively. He also worked closely with our PBS technical team to ensure the transfer of data between the two systems suited our needs.”

As there was a lot of historic information that needed to be retained, Awen took advantage of Cezanne HR’s advanced data upload service. “Peter worked with us to make sure we understood how the data would map into the new system and orchestrated the whole process for us. It saved us a lot of time and helped ensure a smooth transition from the old systems to the new.”

Moving forward, Helen has ambitious plans to exploit this functionality and is expecting to start trialling the Performance Management module soon. “We’re developing our own internal performance management approach at the moment so will soon be looking to integrate that with the module from Cezanne HR to help us manage the process,” concluded Helen.