Anne Frank Trust UK

More time to help tackle prejudice

Industry: Nonprofit

About the company: Anne Frank Trust UK is the UK partner of Anne Frank House, Amsterdam. The charity empowers young people to challenge all forms of prejudice, learning from Anne Frank and the Holocaust. Their team of 27 work to bring education programmes to primary and secondary schools across the UK.

Anne Frank Trust UK
Tom Asher, Anne Frank Trust UK
Tom Asher

Director of Operations

Anne Frank Trust UK logo

Creating the world ‘Anne would have wanted’

In the three decades that Anne Frank Trust has been helping young people across the UK to challenge prejudice, the scope of their work has evolved immensely. The team hosts three education programmes: a schools programme, an online learning programme and an ambassador programme with mentoring and residential elements.

“We get to learn from them”, shares Tom Asher, Director of Operations. These incredible young people might do a presentation to their peers or run their own project on a topic of their choice that tackles antisemitism, racism, misogyny or homophobia.

“Like a lot of small charities, we try to punch above our weight – we have to wear many hats and live outside our comfort zones and do lots of things. We’re an ambitious bunch”, says Tom. They are driven by one simple wish: “We try to embody the world that Anne would have wanted through our values”.

For this, the team tries to live and breathe equity, diversity and inclusivity not just internally in terms of how they work, operate and treat each other but also in their empowerment of young people: “We’re all about learning. We educate and we try to educate ourselves as well. That’s part of who we are as an organisation”.

higher efficiency for HR
faster onboarding
faster reporting

Personio has been transformative. People still talk about how it’s so great. It’s provided so much clarity and consistency. It’s definitely improved morale and it’s made everyone’s life a little bit easier. It’s been a game changer.

Life before Personio: underutilised HR with no technical support 

“There was definitely some room for improvement here”, laughs Tom. "We had a system which had outgrown organically over time and was too big for what they needed. Whilst there was a lot of functionality, navigating it and finding the support needed was a significant challenge." 

A key area we identified for further optimisation was HR data: “Our HR records in terms of absences and personnel files weren’t as readily available as they could be. This made it challenging for both line managers and staff to access the information they needed quickly.”

Manual leave calculations for 27 employees

Onboarding took up a lot of time, along with performance management. And being able to check an employee’s holiday balance was a challenge: “That was a classic example where someone would be like 'oh I want to take holiday but I don’t know what my allowance is and the system is saying this but I know it’s not that'. I didn’t have the technical knowledge to know how to adjust that and the customer support wasn’t really there.” 

The result was that Tom would have to calculate each individual holiday balance from scratch for all 27 employees on payroll, having to send an email giving the previous balance, requested days and remaining balance. Unsurprisingly, this process would take hours of Tom’s time.

A challenging employee experience

Underutilised systems had far-reaching consequences to both HR management and implementing policies: “For me, the HR system is the backbone of your team and we needed to optimise to maximise our value for money and return on investment.” 

Staff were feeling the impact of underutilisation: “People management impacts everyone across the organisation on a daily basis. It’s those little things that impact people. That builds up and creates drag for everyone. It can be demoralising over time”

Central to Tom’s role is to make the Anne Frank Trust a great place to work: “Ultimately, how can we make their lives easier so they can do the best work of their lives which has a better impact for the young people we’re all here for?” 

That’s where Tom sees the importance of not spending not spending half a day calculating someone’s annual leave: “That’s a really basic thing that people should just be able to see at the click of a button. We have to optimise for that.”

Putting Personio in place 

The solution actually came from outside work rather than endless hours of research: “I’d seen Personio used at my wife’s company so that enabled me to have advanced first-hand knowledge, but also they were raving about it and how it made things easier. It’s just transformed everything that we’ve done.”

The experience of getting the system in place was brilliant: “It’s worth its weight in gold. It was really well structured. It was well paced. We could go as fast or as slow as we wanted. The support was at the end of the line, over email or through a ticket. Every single person I’ve met in Personio has been brilliant."

Life with Personio: Transforming employee engagement

“Personio has been transformative. It seems small but people still talk about how it’s so great that we’re able to check or request our annual leave so easily. It’s provided so much clarity and consistency. It’s definitely improved morale and it’s made everyone’s life a little bit easier. It’s been a game changer.”

For most of the past two years, the HR team was a small but mighty team of one, so Personio’s templates and eSignatures have made a huge impact on freeing up Tom’s time, along with automated onboarding checklists and the ability for every employee to easily check their remaining leave in just one click.

Having a dedicated mobile app was critical for the team as half their workforce (the education team) are out and about working in schools. The team also appreciates the constant platform updates: “There’s been a lot of development happening which is exciting.” They are working on a performance management framework at the minute and hope to maximise Personio to do that.

The team are now able to have more formalised processes and procedures and are recognised by the rest of the organisation as being a formal function, rather than just a team that complete paperwork. It’s helped managers too: “Managers are experiencing the same things because they’re using the same software, following the same process and have access to records they previously wouldn’t have.”

Here’s a taste of some of the processes they have completely streamlined with Personio:

  • Onboarding: “With onboarding checklists, we’ve been able to break down the tasks for managers and central HR on what needs to happen and who needs to do what, when. We can keep track of all that which is brilliant. It’s all in one place, attached to the person onboarding rather than in documents or emails.”

  • HR templates:  “Being able to utilise templates to send out the letters for signing has meant that I can send a letter that confirms an amendment to someone’s terms and conditions and they can sign that within Personio and it’s all saved and in the one place. That’s changed the way we operate.”

  • Making requests on the go: “Having an app was critical for us – not everyone offers it. Half of our workforce work remotely, so being able to quickly apply for TOIL or time off on your phone is really helpful. The flexibility on the go was a real win for us.”

  • Reporting: “The reporting is great because it’s all built into the system. But it’s also quite easy and user-friendly to design my own reports for things.”

  • Absence management: “A massive difference would be that when we’re looking at carryover leave at the end of the year, rather than it being half a day or potentially longer per person, it takes me half a day for the entire organisation to calculate. The policies are in the system so you’re just doing it in one go.”

  • HR task management: “Onboarding has definitely become easier. Day-to-day absence, management, sickness and annual leave has definitely become easier. Record-keeping or maintenance of our HR data such as sending letters and getting signed letters back is so much easier now.”

And his favourite feature… The level of support

Even after implementation, that level of support continued: “The aftercare was great. Personio provided training materials and documentation and webinars we could join."

He explains: "I really got the sense that our Implementation Manager really cared about the bespoke elements for us, what we needed and how we needed it to work. She’d go away and explore some options and come back with how other organisations do it."

I really got the sense that our Implementation Manager really cared about what we needed. The support was at the end of the line, over email or through a ticket. I haven’t had a bad customer experience. Every support ticket has been looked at seriously. Every single person I've met at Personio has been brilliant.

- Tom Asher, Director of Operations

If you’d like to speak to Tom about his experience with Personio, you can reach out here.

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