Case Study: National Trust

Delivering an enhanced user experience with a return on investment in the first year.


Background to the project


Charity UK c12,000 employees

National Trust is a business built on its people; from those who are within the properties to those running business functions. In 2012, The National Trust introduced a new internal HR system, MYplace, to streamline current HR processes and help manage a workforce of approximately 12,000 employees.

Hosted by Oracle, the platform consisted of the following modules: Core HR, iRecruitment, Employee & Manager Self-Service, Learning Management, Time & Labor and Payroll.

The deployment was successful and the National Trust realized many administrative benefits of having an integrated, centrally run HCM system. However, they came across some common problems:

  • System wasn’t trusted by other business functions
  • Not well adopted and overly complicated
  • Feedback from staff that they system wasn’t user friendly
  • Applicant feedback that the recruitment process online was error-prone and unintuitive
  • No mobile access for the workforce comprising of people that do not have easy access to PCs
  • Complex and unintuitive screens for managers resulting in forms being filled out incorrectly, causing problems in payroll, time recording, vacancy creation and job changes

Another trouble spot was iRecruitment. This was deployed as an external job board for candidates to view National Trust vacancies and apply for jobs. Poor usability, errors and an unbranded experience caused candidates to abandon the ‘apply for a job’ process. It was also not possible to search for vacancies or apply for jobs using mobile devices. Key performance indicators like Time to Publish, Time to Offer and Time to Hire were below expectations and candidate numbers were falling. Improving the candidate experience became a critical priority, especially with the volume of seasonal recruitment.

The overall project objective was to deliver a faster and easier to use system for the whole business.

Having invested long term in Oracle HCM, the National Trust were keen to realize their original return on investment so, as part of a larger organizational strategy focused on enabling their people, National Trust HR team embarked on a large HR transformational project which included increasing the accessibility, usability and capability of their people systems.


The Applaud team supported and assisted in driving the MYplace refresh program. Working alongside expert Oracle consultants Claremont and National Trust team, the program was broken down into smaller phases, allowing teams to work together on a focused effort that could be planned and tracked, ensuring that all timelines and deliverables were achievable to support the operational teams.

The phases of deployment covered a refresh of the following areas:

  • Phase 1: Employee and Manager Self Service, including Absence recording & stage 1 of Recruitment
  • Phase 2: Timecards, recording & associated payroll
  • Phase 3: Second stage of Recruitment & External Job Board
Phase 1: Employee and Manager Self Service, including Absence recording & stage 1 of Recruitment

The initial program of work focused on the essential areas outlined above, Applaud and Claremont have continued to work with National Trust on an ongoing continual improvement plan, implementing new functionality and upgrading to HTML 5.

Phase 2 – Timecards, Recording & Payroll

The second project phase was to streamline time entry processes, improve data quality and transparency and optimize payroll processing, particularly when handling retrospective entry. New capabilities enabled hours to be entered individually or on mass, and allowed managers use of search functionality and to approve on mass timecards for payroll.


  • No manual intervention for contractual hours
  • Consistent, accurate calculations
  • Improved data quality and governance
  • Improved self service access to timecard data and status
  • Streamlined processes for line managers and the People Services Center
Phase 3 – Recruitment & External Job Board

The third and final part of the project focused on simplifying the process for internal and external candidates to search and apply for vacancies with the National Trust. A seamless end-to-end candidate experience was created by combining a custom careers site, aligned with the new National Trust’s website branding, together with Applaud Recruitment where candidates find and apply for vacancies.

In order to redefine the application process, there was a focus on strong employer brand, a mobile-first design, reducing common errors that lead to abandonment and reducing the number of steps that an applicant had to make to apply for a role.

Finally, the internal screens used by managers and hiring teams were simplified, with tools introduced such as mass applicant update, candidate communications and vacancy and offer forms with prebuilt defaulting, validation and more intelligent approval routing. These changes helped capture errors at source, improve the quality and consistency of new vacancy postings and offers which, in turn, reduced the time to publish, offer and hire.


  • 40% increase in applications year 1
  • 90% increase in applications over 2 years
  • 183% increase in site visits
  • The average time to respond and manage a vacancy went down from 4-5 days to 1-2 days compared to the previous year
  • Number of applications received via mobile applicants increased by 1300%
  • 12% increase in vacancy creation on the intranet as managerial trust in the efficiency of the system increases
  • The National Trust won 3 awards, including the FIRM Award 2016 for best careers website
  • Within the first month there were 1000% additional transactions through MYplace
  • Positive ROI within the first year


The National Trust deployment of solutions from Applaud delivered a return on investment within the first year. Their mobile-first recruitment and enhanced desktop website has increased the number of candidates applying for jobs, reduced the time for hire and won a nationwide award. They now have a system that has improved the reputation of their People Team and increased engagement from employees, managers and candidates.

To support the National Trust’s growth and strategy, the people processes and systems had to adapt and evolve accordingly. Retaining a strong Oracle core HR and reinvesting, rather than ripping/replacing, was essential to deliver a program of work that realized efficiencies in people, systems and process and delivered a fast ROI.



“Applaud’s solution has taken our People services to the next level, we’re receiving a lot of great feedback from our staff and applicants. The solution has helped us to deliver ROI to the organisation and enhanced user experience for all our Users.”

Tracey Dyer
Head of People Services
National Trust


About the National Trust

With a membership 5 million, The National Trust is the UK’s largest membership organization. The National Trust has grown to become one of the UK’s largest charities and Europe’s largest conservation organization.

They look after coastline, forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, nature reserves, villages, historic houses, gardens, mills and pubs. They restore and protect them whilst opening them up to members of the public.