The Grafton Group

Grafton Group Plc unifies its fragmented processes with a comprehensive cloud HR platform


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Workforce Management


Grafton Group Plc is a diverse business that trades under a variety of brands in building, plumbing retail and manufacturing. Established in 1849, Grafton manages 850 locations across four countries and employs 13,000 people. Succeeding in the builders merchanting industry can be a challenge as companies face an uphill battle against digital disruption. Ecommerce continues to be transformative, but there are other, less talked about obstacles plaguing businesses in the sector – including human resources. Grafton struggled with internal issues and managing human resource services across its workforce.

In 2013, Grafton opted to seek a change and find a HR platform that could consolidate talent management and other key functions, and meet each brand’s individual needs. Managing payroll, timesheets and benefits for 13,000 employees isn’t easy. Doing so across four different countries is infinitely more complex – as each company comes with unique modes of operation, pay-cycles and regulations. Grafton leaned on its five different HR and payroll teams and 90+ employees to rise to the challenge to facilitate over 1,000 internal transactions every month. This ultimately required seven payroll legacy systems, six HR systems, and four workforce management systems – all of which didn’t integrate with each other – leading to a predominantly manual process with a lack of reporting accuracy across the board.


Grafton chose CoreHR as it could unify Grafton’s HR management, yet still give individualised functionality to its array of subsidiaries. In July 2014, Grafton and CoreHR rolled out the cloud HR platform for Selco, a UK-based builders merchant in less than a year. It was the start of a journey that saw the two companies customise the deployments to the specific needs of businesses located across the UK, Ireland and Netherlands over the course of the next three years. Moving forward, Grafton continues to benefit from everything CoreHR has to offer by adopting further functionality through various tools and staying up to date on all the latest releases.


Grafton’s HR teams saw a multitude of benefits by upgrading to CoreHR’s cloud platform, including workforce management, onboarding, devolved HR and real time reporting. Grafton reaps the benefits of minimum business disruption by staying up to date with the latest release via CoreHR’s project methodology and close partnership. After its implementation, the company saw adoption rates of 69 percent on desktop and 28 percent on mobile. “There are a few key areas of focus for us in terms of why we want to stay on top of the latest version – mainly around efficiency, compliance, control, auditing and up-to-date technology,” Cliff Rendell, Head of HR Services, Grafton Group Plc says. “Having gone through upgrades we’ve now seen huge benefits. Each release with CoreHR is transformational and the customer is always front of mind.”

Grafton’s digital-first mindset has allowed a number of its businesses to set the standard in their industry as the first employers to go completely paperless for traditional HR functions like payslips. Moving forward, the company will continue its journey as leaders in a digitalised workplace with an annual upgrade cycle that takes advantage of all the technological advancements CoreHR rolls out with each version.

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"The ability to centralise a number of siloed systems had a profound impact on the efficacy and efficiency of our HR team - especially as a multinational conglomerate."

Gareth McGrane

Head of HR at Grafton Merchanting ROI

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