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Customer success story

Simple, reassuring, budget-friendly and impactful

James Chessum, Founder @ Red5 people

Red 5 people

Why Red5 People's journey might resonate with yours:


They didn’t have in-house knowledge for HR – it was only when faced with challenging HR situations that they realised they needed support. 


Their 1 to 1s were happening sporadically – before Charlie, they had irregular catch ups and no records of past ones, making it difficult to follow through on goals and progression. 


They managed time off through spreadsheets and calendars – in the words of their founder, it was quite chaotic. 

Customers >
Red5 People




London, UK

Team size




Charlie users since

September 2023

Person in charge of HR



Red 5 People are a 6-person recruitment agency to the employability sector, with a majority of clients being charities. They are a remote based company with a satellite hub in London, but recruit nationally throughout the UK. The company is growing, with plans to scale in line with the demands of the employability sector.

Favourite features

Performance management 

Time off

HR advice

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Why Charlie?

They picked Charlie because they had no reliable HR processes in place and needed to build them from scratch. 

The challenges

They not only needed an employee handbook and reliable HR processes, but HR software that would help with time off management and 1 to 1s.  

The feedback

“We would have never been able to do all of this without Charlie, and it’s been an absolute game changer for us.” 

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What are the challenges Red5 People was facing and how did CharlieHR help to solve them?

Challenge 1 – Unreliable employee handbook and HR policies 

After having to deal with some challenging HR questions and situations, it came to James’ (the founder) attention that they didn’t have any processes they could rely on. 

As the sole person responsible for HR, this was quite anxiety-inducing and he knew he needed to find a solution sooner rather than later to put his mind at ease. 

That’s when he started researching HR software that would also provide the HR expertise he so badly needed.

Result 1 – HR advisors on-hand when Red5 People needs it most 

When James discovered Charlie, he was keen on our HR software as well as the CIPD-qualified advisors we offered. 

Through the HR advice service, which works in direct continuity with the software, James realised this was the expertise he’d been looking for, removing the hassle of finding and paying for a freelance HR professional or an employment lawyer. 

With Charlie’s HR advisors, Red5 People swiftly put together their HR processes and created a comprehensive handbook. 

This handbook is now conveniently stored within Charlie’s software app, providing easy access for all team members at any time. No more dusty papers at the back of a cupboard—the employee handbook is now a staple for Red5 People.

I didn’t even know how important employee handbooks could be before I had to deal with an HR-related issue. The Charlie HR advisors really helped me put the right processes in place, relieving my stress and anxiety with clears steps.

James Chessum, Founder @ Red5 people

Create your company handbook with Charlie
Create your company handbook with Charlie

Challenge 2 – One-to-one’s happening sporadically 

Before signing up for our software, Red5 People had a pretty basic performance review system. While most team members had one-on-one meetings, they didn’t happen very regularly, making it hard to set goals and have a clear view of everyone’s progress. This didn’t make for a very fair process when it came to promotions and progression. 

This was particularly tough for James, who managed it all on his own, but he knew how critical regular reviews were if he wanted to increase engagement and retention.

Result 2 – Employees feel valued and 1 to 1’s are part of the company’s culture 

When James discovered Charlie, he was thrilled to see that performance management could easily be managed through our software in just a few clicks—no need for a complicated setup. This meant that:

  • He could regularly schedule one-on-one meetings with minimal effort.

  • Team members could receive reminders to complete their reviews.

  • All records were kept in one place, allowing easy access to past reviews if needed.

“Having performance reviews within the software is brilliant. It’s great to be able to come back to past check-ins, but it also takes away the fear of irregular 1 to 1’s as it’s just becomes part of our routine.”

James Chessum, Founder @ Red5 people

Reviews in CharlieReviews in Charlie

Challenge 3 – Documentation and processes all over the place   

Before getting Charlie, HR tasks often felt chaotic for James, who handled HR on his own (with help from someone for accounting and finances). 

Time off was managed through spreadsheets and calendars, requiring James to manually check allowances each time a request was made. 

This caused him significant anxiety, as it was very difficult to predict staff shortages and overlapping time off. Whether it was this or having documents spread across different places, it became challenging to keep proper employee records.

Result 3 – A super easy platform and a time off management that runs itself  

With Charlie, Red5 People finally had some breathing room to establish clear processes. While trialling Charlie and then BreatheHR, James realised how straightforward and user-friendly our platform was in comparison to our competitors

He also preferred the immediate access to HR support through our own in-house team. 

Here's what Red5 People got with Charlie:

  • A user-friendly software to manage all their time off.

  • A platform that makes the team feel valued. 

  • A reliable system for all their HR needs and a professional look. 

  • A no-fuss HR software that can be set up independently.

“Before Charlie, we were like sitting ducks with HR. I now feel so much more in control of what happens at the company, and it’s all automated.”

James Chessum, Founder @ Red5 people

What would you say to small businesses and startups considering CharlieHR?

“Life is pretty scary without Charlie. It’s so simple and reassuring, and it had a massive impact on our business on top of being budget-friendly. The HR advisors we work with just make us feel like they’re part of the team, always in our corner for support. We finally feel like a proper company with Charlie by our side.”

James Chessum, Founder @ Red5 people

Life with and without charlieLife with and without charlie

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