National Federation of Women’s Institutes invests in HR software from Cascade

WI Royal Albert Hall by Rebecca Miller

It is one of the most established women’s membership organisations in the country, having just celebrated its centenary year. But the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) – the organisation that oversees all 6,300 WIs in England, Wales and the Islands – now has its sights set firmly on the future, with the help of intuitive HR software from Leeds-based Cascade.

Passionate about providing women across the UK with the skills and opportunities needed for the 21st century, it is no surprise that the WI is equally as committed to the progression and support of its own 97 staff.

But, dissatisfied with its existing HR technology – which imposed a number of limitations on the team – the WI knew new HR software was required.

Participation in one of Cascade’s advice-led auto-enrolment webinars back in 2013, meant this award-winning vendor was the obvious place to start. So, when the time was right, a one-to-one online demonstration was arranged, closely followed by a face-to-face demo with key users at the WI’s London HQ. By this time Cascade was the clear front runner, winning the business after an extremely short selection process.

The NFWI has selected Cascade’s HR, workflow and auto enrolment modules. The system has been configured to suit the NFWI’s needs and is currently in the data integration stage. A phased training programme will run from May-July, with a ‘go live’ date scheduled for August.

Karen Lake, Head of HR for the NFWI oversaw the project, said: “We needed a HR system to streamline processes, reduce the amount of unnecessary paperwork and proactively highlight upcoming tasks. Our business would become much more robust if the software could alert teams to potential problems such as annual leave clashes and sickness absences.

“We were also looking for a solution supported by high quality services, as well as regular legislative updates to ensure compliance. We’ll get this as standard with Cascade HR, without the worry and ‘headaches’ we’d otherwise associate with ongoing changes such as Shared Parental Leave.”

Designed to present information visually, so that it can be interpreted at a glance, the system will support the WI with everyday tasks such as point-in-time annual leave analysis. But the flexible technology will also evolve alongside the HR department as the NFWI continues to progress.

“The reporting capabilities appear extremely sophisticated, meaning we will be able to uncover trends and future opportunities for the NFWI, without any of us needing to be a data analyst!” added Karen.

Andy Court, Cascade’s head of marketing, said: “We are delighted to be working with an organisation as prestigious as the WI, on a project that exemplifies the importance of offering clients choice. We’ve configured the solution to satisfy the WI’s specific requirements, but because our technology is dynamic, it will continually adapt to support the team through future periods of change.”

WI Royal Albert Hall by Rebecca Miller
NFWI members outside the Royal Albert Hall recreating archive campaigns. Picture by Rebecca Miller

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