Pebbles Care

400 to 500 employees

Residential care and education services

“Natural HR had everything we were looking for and more, including electronic document signatures, company announcements, an intranet, time and attendance, an Applicant Tracking System and document management.”

Yvonne Thompson Assoc. CIPD, Head of HRPebbles Care


Pebbles Care is part of a group of companies incorporating Pebbles Care Ltd, Radical Services Ltd and Partners in Care providing care and education services for vulnerable young people employing 450 staff in 45 residential care homes, two academies and professional support teams.

With over 17 years’ experience, Pebbles pride themselves on innovation, dedication and excellence. The company operates in a sector governed by regulation and as such, guaranteeing the safety and welfare of those in their care begins with ensuring only the very best professionals are employed by the organisation.

The Challenge

Yvonne Thompson Assoc. CIPD, joined Pebbles Care as Head of HR in June 2020. With no incumbent HR software in place, Yvonne swiftly prioritised acquiring a system that would unify the companies in Pebbles’ portfolio.

With a growing concern about a paper-based HR department’s lack of security and the ‘back to front’ processes that she encountered; Yvonne developed a strategy to ‘level up’ Pebbles’ HR with an intuitive HR system at its core which would securely bring the function and processes together.

In such a heavily regulated sector, inspections by OFSTED and the Care Inspectorate are frequent, and often unannounced. As part of this, Pebbles Care must supply documentation pertaining to their employees, recruitment and training. Without an HR system, these sensitive documents were being stored in filing cabinets and weren’t readily accessible upon inspection. Pebbles Care needed absolute certainty that all HR processes met with regulatory requirements to safeguard the vulnerable people in their care.

The Solution

As Yvonne developed an HR strategy for the company, it became increasingly clear that a comprehensive HR system would be the keystone of Pebbles Care bright future. Their overarching objective is to: “have the right people in the right roles at the right time to ensure those in our care are kept safe and the best people are employed to do this.”

With HR objectives spanning compliance and data structure, organisational design, recruitment and on-boarding, employee retention and goals, roles and rewards; Yvonne and her team looked for an HR system that would provide a platform which could scale with them and their lofty growth plans. Subsequently, the business sought a robust system that would make employees more self-sufficient, enable Pebbles Care to satisfy all of their security and regulatory obligations, and to transform HR from an administrative support function into one that added tangible value.

Having used Natural HR in a previous organisation, Yvonne was aware of the functionality available within the system. Notwithstanding her prior knowledge of Natural HR, Yvonne wanted to ensure that the system she chose for Pebbles Care was the correct one. After immersing herself fully in Pebbles’ business goals, objectives and industry, Yvonne researched the HR software market thoroughly to understand the other available options in order to develop a balanced view during the selection process.

After a thorough demonstration process and in-depth discussion, Yvonne was certain that Natural HR was the ideal solution for Pebbles Care. “We needed a system that was more than holiday requests and storing employee data. Natural HR had everything we were looking for and more, including electronic document signatures, company announcements, an intranet, time and attendance, an Applicant Tracking System and document management.”

The Benefits

Yvonne was aware of the scale of the project, but our implementation and project management team got to work right away. From collating employee data and documents to translating and redefining Pebble’s HR processes into the system; team NHR worked closely with Yvonne and her team to provide full support and guidance throughout: “The support offered was key. We knew it would be a huge project getting all our data together in one place but Natural HR was on hand every step of the way and did most of the heavy lifting.”

Together with the team at Pebbles Care and Yvonne’s experience of HR software projects, the implementation of Natural HR took just over 3 months.

Despite only using Natural HR for little over 5 months, the impact at Pebbles Care has been remarkable. Over 34,000 log-ins, 250,000+ actions taken and 11,000+ documents are now stored securely in Natural HR. The entire team at Pebbles Care has taken to the system with ease, submitting just 41 support tickets since January 2021: just 1.7% of all tickets in the same period.

Prior to Natural HR, Yvonne shared how difficult it was to know, with any degree of certainty, who made up their workforce. Now they have a comprehensive employee database, can record training and qualifications, and safer recruitment measures that meet regulatory requirements ensure that no one joins Pebbles Care without relevant checks. Without Natural HR, Yvonne believes they would need at least four more employees just to manage HR and recruitment admin.

What’s more, when any inspections now occur, the team has everything they require to hand, in a system that is fully auditable. Able to demonstrate their HR and recruitment processes within Natural HR, the team can show inspectors the steps they are taking to ensure theirHR and recruitment processes are 100% compliant with the high safety standards required. Yvonne effused how impressed the regulatory body was with the processes they had developed in Natural HR and the level of professionalism the system provides.

The Future

Natural HR has been well-received by the team at Pebbles Care, too and Yvonne shared how well employees have engaged with the software. With employees across the country, Yvonne shared how difficult it was to gauge satisfaction levels in the past. Now, employee satisfaction is easily measured via feedback forms and pulse surveys in Natural HR. Employees can access their HR file and managers can set clear goals and objectives, meaning everyone knows what is required of them and how they fit in with wider company goals. Pebbles’ managers are saving valuable time, too. They no longer have to track their team on paper forms or spreadsheets as this is now done online, giving managers back the time they need to focus on their role and team.

The HR team is now able to measure key people metrics and ROI with ease, including tracking the financial performance of each branch of Pebbles Care.

Yvonne believes that this, when coupled with recent restructures, will have a positive impact on EBITDA, providing a solid platform for growth.

As the team at Pebbles Care looks ahead to a future with Natural HR by their side, they now have a platform which is able to scale with their business as they continue to grow their portfolio. Together with Natural HR, Pebbles Care is confident in their aim to become the UK’s leading residential child care provider, with the very best people and HR processes in place.

To find out more about Pebbles Care, please visit