· People

Sharon Ashcroft, HR director, TrustFord

?During her 14 years at TrustFord Sharon Ashcroft has played a crucial role in building a positive culture; one that rewards, nurtures and inspires 3,200 employees

Ashcroft now oversees the HR operations of the largest Ford dealer group in the world, which has a turnover of £1.7 billion, as well as the largest part of the national Parts Plus franchise network.

Her work has been recognised by the automotive industry and the wider HR industry alike: the company won Motor Trader’s ‘Employer of the Year’ accolade in 2019 and has been placed in The Sunday Times' 25 Best Big Companies to Work For for four years running. Ashcroft led by example, with the HR division gaining the highest satisfaction scores in the confidential survey.

Ashcroft started her career in the operations team at GT News before being offered the position of personnel manager. In 2001 she moved to Gamestation to take on the role of HR manager before becoming a senior HR consultant at CODA.

Ashcroft joined TrustFord in 2005 as a HR manager, and straight away took on a key role in a number of large HR initiatives. This included a unique £2 million HR-driven customer services training programme, which has resulted in more than 3,000 members of staff across 65 dealership sites earning either an NVQ in customer service or a Ford Retail ICS diploma. This is an industry first.

Following her appointment to HR director in 2013, Ashcroft led an ‘organisational clarity project’ which resulted in the collaborative formation of TrustFord’s Purpose, Principles and Ambition – an overarching ethos centred on customer and colleague satisfaction that guides the whole organisation.

She also launched an Induction Academy in late 2014; a full-immersion residential on-boarding course, unique within the automotive industry, which has resulted in an increase in employee retention. To support this initiative Ashcroft introduced an innovative internal communications employee app, connecting all colleagues throughout the UK, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

During her long career at TrustFord she has introduced a revolutionary approach to recruitment. Ashcroft and her team use personality, ability and competency assessment tools as well as assessment centres to ensure new colleagues are measured on their behaviours and not simply their industry experience.

She has also helped TrustFord expand its apprenticeship scheme, with opportunities for 91 young people this year – the company’s biggest apprentice intake ever. As a result TrustFord now has a workforce recruited from a much broader talent pool, all of whom share the same ethos and passion.

Ashcroft’s work goes beyond her role, and she now sits on the board of trustees for automotive charity Ben, demonstrating her commitment to mental wellbeing in the workplace.

She is passionate about diversity and fair access to the automotive industry. She is currently working alongside The Prince's Trust to offer new opportunities to 15 young people across the company’s new Quick Lane sites, and regularly participates in the ‘Speakers for Schools’ programme as part of her efforts to change perceptions of the sector and to inspire young people to consider a career in the industry.