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cheaper waste


100 to 200 employees

Commercial waste management

“For us as a people team, it supports us in all the day-to-day admin and questions that can slow the function down. It frees the team up to have valuable conversations.”

Michael Shane, Operations DirectorCheaperWaste


CheaperWaste is one of the UK’s fastest-growing business waste management service providers. The Newcastle upon Tyne-headquartered business has over 20,000 customers who rely on them for their waste collection and disposal.

The company partners with national commercial waste recovery specialists such as Biffa and Veolia to provide waste management solutions to small and medium-sized businesses across England, Scotland and Wales.

CheaperWaste’s mantra is ‘minimal landfill’ and the company prides itself on its commitment to reducing the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill, actively encouraging its customers to recycle as much of their waste as possible.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the CheaperWaste team has grown by an impressive 25% during 2020 and the company now employs 100 full-time staff.

The Challenge

Operations Director, Michael Shane came into the business in June 2019 as an external consultant. He explains: “When I joined the business, it was growing to the point where they needed to bring in someone like me to take a look at where improvements could be made: they knew they needed something, they just didn’t know what.”

Tasked with auditing businesses processes for their people, their legal obligations and identifying areas for improvement; Michael quickly discovered a distinct lack of HR function, nor any kind of HR management system: “I came into the business to do a health check and the paper-based records they did have were scattered everywhere: in drawers, stored in filing cabinets or saved electronically in many, many, different folders and drives.

“There was no cohesive or regular reporting on absence, performance or annual leave.”

With paper-based processes and filing cabinets forming the foundation of CheaperWaste’s people department; Michael recommended the company look to invest in an HR system as a priority: “There was no real knowledge of what an HR system could do for an organisation,” Michael explains.

Soon after, and with no incumbent HR department within the business, Michael took up the mantle and initially joined CheaperWaste as People Director to spearhead the company’s digital HR transformation.

The Solution

As Michael began his search for an HR system in earnest, he was looking for a system that could provide an end-to-end solution for the business. “I wanted a system where I didn’t have to rely on two or three systems; I didn’t want to have to plug one into another. I wanted a system that could look after everything: from the minute when a requisition is added, tracking every single part right the way through up until that person leaves the organisation.

“I looked at a few different HR systems. The really high-end providers were just too complicated and very expensive. The size and complexity of these systems and the size of the business itself was something we just didn’t want.

“When we looked at Natural HR, it was the functionality and ease of the system that ticked all the boxes. It was the fact that we could take everything we needed and tie it all intuitively together that was the selling point for me.”

CheaperWaste went live with Natural HR in October 2019. The HR team has since grown threefold with Michael now in post as Operations Director overseeing the people and customer service teams, supply chain and business partners, along with two People Team Officers.

The Benefits

Having gone through various system implementations in the past, Michael took a pragmatic approach to implementing Natural HR into CheaperWaste. “I set up a 12-month project plan as I wanted to implement the system in segments each quarter. We started by asking all employees to get used to the system: adding in their own personal data and records, using it for annual leave and sickness absence and to clock-in and out.

“Then we moved onto timesheets, recording overtime, the recruitment cycle, getting workflows set up, the training module and reporting.”

Since introducing Natural HR little over a year ago, Michael has been tracking a number of key metrics with the help of the system and the impact Natural HR has had at CheaperWaste has been remarkable. “Since we introduced Natural HR, our absence rate has dropped considerably and it is now less than 1% across the whole organisation since we started to track it. We have 100% accuracy on annual leave and different types of leave. We’re able to track and report on our equality and diversity figures and we now have 100% accuracy on all staff metrics because we record all of this information in Natural HR.”

In terms of time saved since using Natural HR Michael shares how his team of People Officers are now free from laborious record-keeping and admin: “They just press a button and it’s there!”

As the business enters its second year using Natural HR, Michael and his team have found the reporting capabilities of Natural HR second to none. “It’s just so easy. My team are now in a position each month to produce a monthly people report using the reports we have set up in the system. I like the fact that it is so visible and accessible for the entire team.”

Michael is equally as effusive about how well-received the system has been by all of CheaperWaste’s employees. “Everything they now use the system for is very intuitive, they’ve just adopted it and picked it up really quickly. We’ve got 100% of staff using the system on a daily basis.

“For us as a people team, it supports us in all the day-to-day admin and questions that can slow the function down. It frees the team up to have the proper, valuable conversations we should be having as opposed to being a PA to somebody.”

The Future

Looking ahead, Michael is now looking to introduce Natural HR’s payroll system into the business: “We’re already using it to its full capabilities now and it is set up end-to-end, which is what we wanted from an HR system. Once we’ve got payroll set up, then the whole system fits.”

A true advocate of the system, Michael is keen to embed the system in every single employee and to ensure it is always at the forefront of their minds: “We’re issuing every member of staff with their own personal laptops and setting them up so that whenever they open their laptop, Natural HR opens for them to sign into.”

Throughout his experience with Natural HR, Michael has been impressed by the consistent levels of support provided by the team at Natural HR: “I’ve never had a project managed as well as Natural HR ran our implementation project. The customer service is just second to none. We can ask a question and get an answer back that same day – usually within half an hour! They have an infinite amount of patience and wisdom. The support videos are brilliant. Everything around implementation and support is really second to none. That’s it, I love it!”

When asked for his advice for those considering an HR system like Natural HR, Michael added: “A lot of people will just go out and buy a system because they think they need one. But the more time they spend thinking about what they want, what they are thinking of has already been thought of, especially where Natural HR is concerned. Look for your purpose first, then find a system that fits.”

To find out more about CheaperWaste, please visit