Acorn Stairlifts

Based in Yorkshire and Scotland, with three UK factories, Acorn Stair Lifts is a global business, exporting cutting edge stairlifts to more than 80 countries. The company, a customer since 2008, estimates one of its stair lifts is installed somewhere in the world every eight minutes, 365 days-a-year.


With the business expanding rapidly but still reliant on paperwork and spreadsheets, operating without any HR technology in place, it needed to find new solutions to meet changing demands and increase efficiency.


When Kate Gledhill joined the business in 2008 as HR Manager, it had no HR system, no database, and lots of data managed manually on spreadsheets.

She says: “We had a payroll system but some of the information but then the rest was archaic - wall planners for holiday, for example, and lots of paperwork. Nothing was joined up.”

With the firm expanding rapidly, recruiting heavily, and the need to cut out much of the manual work, things needed to change.

“As an HR manager I didn’t have ability for gain an overview or tools for reporting,” Kate explains.

The problems came daily – with the firm lacking the ability to carry out various key tasks, such as automated document production, creating communications for job candidates, and storing key documents efficiently and easily.


“From my previous jobs I knew the power of software and having joined up data,” says Kate. So, she went in search of a solution. She had this checklist for what it must achieve:

  • Flexible reporting
  • Scalable
  • Tailored
  • Payroll integrated
  • HMRC approved
  • Future proofed
  • Add on modules for later if needed

She was also keen to ensure best value because it was going to represent a big investment.The company embarked on a research and procurement process, culminating in a shortlist and viewing demos.


When Kate discovered IRIS Cascade, she was quickly convinced it ticked all the boxes, and this proved to be the case in the long run.

She says:Fundamentally, it’s given us one central place we can store all the reporting information, as well as the data like holiday records and training history, and it’s at your fingertips.

“We use it to provide headcount, staff turnover, and more. It provides really good qualitative information to help us make decisions.”

She adds: “The reporting is so intuitive and flexible, I didn’t have to have a qualification to write a report. I can quickly pull out and provide the information I need, rather than taking days to trawl through things, as it used to be.”

The software has enabled her to meet the demands of senior managers.

“It gave us a really powerful tool for managers,” she explained. “Previously they didn’t have any sight of information about employees.  Everything was paper-based and even the holiday planner was a massive win for them.

“Overall, it saves lots of time and provides transparency and clarity of information. You can see your team in a snapshot and its really visual.”


“We’ve been very happy with adopting IRIS Cascade, because it’s enabled us to become more efficient and focus on higher value HR activities,” she tells us. “We’ve come a long way.”

In fact, in terms of increasing efficiency in her department, she estimates IRIS Cascade has reduced manual work by at least 60%.

Kate also highlights the self-service capability, which empowers staff to do things like book holidays, and the ability it provides to work anytime, anywhere.

“The fact you can do it on your phone, your home PC, any device is great. You don’t have to be at your office desk.”

This has been especially helpful for business continuity during the pandemic, while the software has also enabled specific COVID-related issues to be tracked easily too, including absences and furlough.

Furthermore, the firm is in the process of rolling out IRIS Cascade to its US subsidiary, which is one of eight around the world. Managers in those countries use the software to different degrees, but all use the holiday bookings and documents functions. Kate can access all of this information.


Why would Kate recommend IRIS Cascade to other HR professionals?

“Many reasons,” she says. “It’s not just for us in HR, it’s easy to get managers to buy into as they see the benefits so fast. With the reporting dashboard, it sells itself really. It is scalable and grows with the business - you can use Cascade to do what you need to do. It’s really simple and easy to use.”

Discover what IRIS Cascade can do for your business or browse our full range of HR Software now.