“Breathe has become a central part of what I offer to my clients and is now part of Cherington HR’s fabric."

Founded in 2006 by Helen Astill, Cherington HR Ltd. is a people management consultancy, which supports small businesses in and around Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. Helen provides a range of HR services including performance management, training and development, psychometric testing and change management.

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Helen specialises in supporting businesses with directors who are passionate about the services and products they provide but who have little experience of the practicalities of HR and effective people management. Helen also helps international businesses that do not have their own HR departments but employ people in UK.

Helen’s approach is to provide expert advice as well as an ethical advisory service to help business owners manage their people and understand their legal and pastoral responsibilities as employers. Helen works with clients and not for them. This means she often plays the role of ‘critical friend’ to clients who need to manage their teams and comply with employment law. In thirteen years, Helen has supported more than 200 small businesses.

The Challenge - automating HR admin

Helen was on the hunt for a simple-to-use, cloud-based HR automation software to help her clients manage their employees and business. Fortunately, that’s when she found Breathe.

Helen had previously recommended an older system originally developed to be located on clients’ own IT systems that was complicated to navigate, more expensive and not regularly updated by its developers. Helen joined Breathe’s 500-strong network of partners in 2018 and went through their comprehensive training programme.

Breathe’s partners earn a commission from reselling and recommending Breathe. So far, it’s paying off. As it’s a low-cost system, the value really comes from enabling Helen to access her clients’ information on one, centralised system as opposed to multiple spreadsheets and paper files.

“The system I used to recommend was clunky and I didn’t have the same level of visibility of my clients’ employee data as I do with Breathe. Now if a client needs me to provide advice about a particular employee, I can login and I have all the information I need at my fingertips. This makes it very easy to make the informed decisions my clients rely on me to provide to guide them through often sensitive solutions.

Before using Breathe, I was a little daunted by the idea of demonstrating it to clients and prospects as well as providing support but as the system is so easy to use, I very quickly overcame this challenge. I can also rely on the excellent guidance provided by Breathe’s support and partner teams. If there is anything that I can’t resolve, the teams are there for me and my clients and we all know that any problems will be rapidly rectified. Everyone at Breathe is so friendly.”

Helen Astill, Managing Director

Breathe automates HR-admin processes so Helen’s clients can focus their time and energy on other areas of their businesses. This is essential for growing organisations where directors are often pulled in different directions.

“Although my clients are experts in their own fields, they are often the first to admit that they know little about HR. Many directors are financially minded; after all, they have gone into business to make money - they don’t know what they don’t know about managing people. By enabling them to take care of the HR side of admin, I can focus on supporting with them with my knowledge and experience.”

Helen Astill, Managing Director

Helen particularly likes Breathe’s tools for managing and tracking sickness-related absences. Managing this and calculating allowances for employee’s annual leave is complicated and time-consuming. Breathe helps her clients to tackle this side of admin with ease.

Other features include document, performance and recruitment management, applicant tracking and employee self-service.

"Breathe has become a central part of what I offer to my clients and is now part of Cherington HR’s fabric"

Helen Astill, Managing Director

The Solution - securely managed hosting in the cloud

The fact that Breathe is hosted securely in ISO 27001 data centre facilities means that Helen and her clients can rest safe in the knowledge that all employee data is secure and protected at all times.

Many small businesses rely on software held locally on their own equipment and thus face the added challenge of ensuring their software servers are properly guarded from cyber-attacks such as phishing, viruses and ransomware. Breathe is hosted by Amazon Web Services in a state-of-the-art datacentre, which is ring-fenced by highly sophisticated security systems.

Another benefit of hosting Breathe in the cloud is the fact that it’s accessible to Helen’s clients and their team members from anywhere with internet connection. The software can be accessed by laptops, desktop PCs, smart phones and tablets, which is now essential as more people work from home or from remote locations.

The Result - a growing business, relaunching her website alongside Breathe

Helen is currently focusing on growing Cherington HR and is planning to relaunch her website. Watch this space, as the updated webpages provide the latest information about her range of services as well as explaining how these can interweave with Breathe’s functionality.

“I’m really happy with Breathe and the service I receive from the team. I would – and do – recommend them to other HR consultants who need a simple-to-use and cost-effective solution to provide to their clients.”

Helen Astill, Managing Director

Feeling inspired by Helen Astill and Cherington HR? Book a Partner demo to find out more about becoming a Breathe Partner. Or, contact our helpful team today.

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