At citrus HR we are proud to help many charities with managing their HR and we were recently fortunate enough to chat with Merryn Kidd, the Interim Chief Executive of The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens in Wells. The site and buildings of the Palace is owned by the Church Commissioners and operated by The Palace Trust, a registered charity which manages the site as a heritage visitor attraction.
Run as a visitor attraction on behalf of the Church Commissioners, the medieval palace welcomes approximately 500,000 visitors over its drawbridge each year – all eager to make use of the croquet lawn and cafe. At least a third of these visitors will then pay to visit the Palace itself and its 14 acres of gardens. With twenty five core staff and another twenty employees that work seasonally, it’s no wonder that The Palace Trust was in need of some HR support.
When speaking about the varied workforce, Merryn said “It’s not standard here, most people are part-time or work different hours, summer hours only, or annualised hours.”
The Trust’s previous HR software just wasn’t suitable for this, but luckily their new Head of Finance had an idea.
“Natalie had used citrus HR before at a previous organisation when she suggested we take a look, we thought “that looks like a great solution for us.” The software does everything. We use it for managing staff and contracts, recording one to ones – all the helpful stuff like that.”
Merryn was very quick in her praise of citrus HR’s software but said what The Palace Trust had found most helpful was citrus HR’s support, which she described as invaluable.
“The legal advice has been absolutely fantastic; we’ve had a number of incidents that we would have found challenging if it hadn’t been for the citrus HR experts. I was dealing with sensitive issue and one of your consultants came out and sat in the meeting with me and it was just brilliant, and great, great value.”
citrus HR were very happy to assist Merryn through this process, and though she led the meeting, our consultant was there for support. Merryn mentions that The Palace Trust is grateful to have our experts to turn to. They are often in touch when they want to double-check any HR queries they have.
“It feels like we’ve got someone who’s got our back and we can just ask ‘Can we do that? Can we not?’ The scripts for meetings and letter templates you provide are just brilliant as well. It makes it really clear on what we need to say. We’ve had to make a few posts redundant recently, which is obviously really difficult, but to have the process mapped out step by step really clearly was unbelievably helpful.”
Merryn went on to mention how impressed she was with the speed of the responses she gets from the HR team. She sees that as huge selling point of the service because, when a HR concern is raised it can be worrying for anyone involved, and the sooner that it’s resolved, the better for everyone.
The last question we asked Merryn, was what the three best features of the support service were.
‘Peace of mind to know that we’re getting the up-to-date advice, it’s incredible how you update policies and other documents – we’ve used it for refreshing all our policies as well, which you know needed doing. Speed of response and knowing someone has got your back.’
Thank you Merryn, it was really great to hear about The Bishop’s Palace and how citrus HR helps you keep such a wonderful organisation running so smoothly.
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