Success Story

Aspens Charities success story

Aspens Charities

Ciphr HR and onboarding: using HR and onboarding to streamline processes and improve reporting


Key points
  • Needed to streamline manual processes to focus on value-added HR tasks
  • Project centred around seamlessly linking onboarding, HR and learning systems, simplifying administrative tasks, making more use of HR data to make decisions, and getting internal buy-in for the new HR platform
  • Ciphr customer since 2022


About Aspens

Aspens is driven by a mission to deliver exceptional care and support to individuals on the autism spectrum and with learning disabilities. Its goal is to meet these individuals’ unique needs and aspirations while empowering them to learn and grow. Aspens, a charity, offers a wide range of support and care services to children, families and adults residing in southeast England, from supported living options and community outreach programmes to specialised groups for children and young people and family specialist assistance.


What challenges was Aspens facing?

One of the main challenges was the People Department’s reliance on manual processes, including Excel spreadsheets and manual data collection, leading to inefficiencies, limited data analysis capabilities and a lack of visibility for employees and managers. Aspens’ existing HR database didn’t have the ability to track the evolution of employees’ roles over time and restricted access to data to only those working within the People and finance departments.

Inefficient administrative HR tasks consumed significant time and resources, impeding the focus on value-added HR activities. Recognising the need to improve data analysis, visibility and efficiency, Aspens decided to procure and implement a new HR system.


Why Ciphr was the right fit

Ciphr was the right choice for Aspens for several reasons, says Aspens’ Director of People Jo Gouldthorpe. “Ciphr’s onboarding system was exactly what we were looking for and we liked the look of the system immediately when shown the demo. We also liked that Ciphr HR could integrate seamlessly with our current learning management system. This was a significant advantage as it automated the process of maintaining written logs of who had completed what training, allowing better control and visibility over mandatory courses and identifying knowledge gaps.”

The friendliness and expertise of Ciphr’s team also played a key role in the decision-making process, adds Gouldthorpe. “The clear understanding of HR challenges by Ciphr’s representatives demonstrated a comprehensive grasp of our needs and how the system could effectively solve our HR-related issues.”

“Ciphr’s track record of supporting other organisations in the not-for-profit sector was also an important factor,” adds People Manager Sian Bartle. “Ciphr’s existing client base in the social care and education industries was appealing, given the similarities between these sectors and Aspens. The system was already equipped with safeguarding features and functionalities tailored to the specific requirements of our sector.

Bartle adds: “The web-based nature of the product and the availability of mobile access without requiring staff to download an app were major advantages for us. And Ciphr’s offering of additional modules such as recruitment and payroll provided us with the potential for future development and expansion with the same provider.”


Implementation made easy

“Implementation was such a smooth process and very well organised,” says Bartle. “Our project manager was fantastic. She made sure we kept on track, so much so that we finished the implementation a week in advance of the final deadline. All the HR system consultants that I spoke to throughout the process were highly knowledgeable and happy to help us.”

Ciphr’s team also supported Aspens with their roll-out plan for the new HR software, says Gouldthorpe. “They recommended we continually promoted the software before launch, so we made sure to frequently bring it up through internal communications. And, they recommended we launched [the modules] in stages so as not to overwhelm our team.”

These tricks worked: post-launch, Aspens saw positive reactions from employees and managers, who quickly made use of the new HR platform for tasks such as booking annual leave.


Streamlined admin, robust reporting and more

So, what have Aspens gained from switching to Ciphr’s integrated HR and onboarding system? “Ciphr HR makes it easier to access information from all across the People department in one place,” says Gouldthorpe. “It made us question our previous admin processes, too,” says Bartle. “For example, we’re completely redoing our onboarding process because of Ciphr Onboarding.

“There are so many people in our organisation,” says Bartle, “and Ciphr HR streamlines their information. If you’re a manager, you can easily look up your team’s information, access data, run reports and more.” Gouldthorpe agrees that Aspens’ employees are benefiting from all relevant information being in one place: “They can look up general queries easily, from what their notice period is to their sick leave entitlement. It’s saving the People Department from having to answer these questions.”

Reporting and data analysis is also much simpler and quicker with Ciphr HR. “It’s so nice to just be able to pull all the relevant data and see it in a professional-looking report,” says Bartle. “It’s made my job easier and helped me know where to focus my strategic efforts.”


How Ciphr stands out from the crowd

Bartle and Gouldthorpe both agree that Ciphr HR is intuitive, user-friendly and easy to access compared to other systems they’ve used in the past. “When I’ve done a report from scratch, it’s just easy,” Gouldthorpe says.

“It was the simplicity of Ciphr HR I loved, along with the fact that you can easily navigate around it,” says Bartle.

She adds: “I would always recommend putting the time and effort into your tender process to make sure you fully understand how your system works – and are sure it can do what you want it to do,” That’s what we liked about Ciphr HR. It fit the bill for us and, because Ciphr’s sales representatives come from an HR background, they knew what really matters to us.”

“I would definitely recommend Ciphr HR to other social care and educational organisations,” says Gouldthorpe.