We are committed to treating our employees fairly and equitably, recognising individuals’ basic human rights and an ethical approach to employees, suppliers and customers.

Equal opportunities

Our recruitment, training and development processes are designed to ensure that we have suitably skilled and qualified employees to meet the operational needs of the business. We recognise that successful businesses need to deliver a good service and product which can only be done by developing, supporting and maintaining the right staff to provide this. We are committed to developing the potential of our people, offering opportunities for employees to develop and grow and periodically reviewing succession planning processes. We also participate in work experience placement schemes. Employee turnover remains relatively low resulting in a stable employee base.

It is our policy that all employees should have access to employment opportunities, irrespective of age, gender, ethnic origin, religion or disability. As the Company has businesses in Continental Europe, these are appropriate for the local areas of operation. Consideration is given to applications for employment, having due regard to the particular aptitudes and abilities of the applicants and to our responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act. Where practicable, subject to the nature of our activities, employees who develop a disability during employment are given the opportunity to retrain for alternative employment within the Company.

Human Rights

We are committed to treating our employees fairly and equitably, recognising individuals’ basic human rights and an ethical approach to employees, suppliers and customers. The Company respects the human rights of those working for or with us, and of the people in the communities where we operate. We will not knowingly do business with companies, organisations or individuals that we believe are not working to at least basic human rights standards. Our businesses comply with applicable pay and working-time laws and other laws or regulations affecting the employment relationship and workplace.

We oppose the exploitation of workers and we will not tolerate forced labour, or labour which involves physical, verbal or psychological harassment or intimidation of any kind and we will not employ child labour in any of our operations. Nor will we permit the exploitation of, or discrimination against, any vulnerable group. We support fair and reasonable rewards for workers, with pay reflecting local norms and meeting or exceeding any legal minimum wage levels.

The Board is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in our businesses and seeks to gain transparency within our supply chain. We shall report further on these activities on our website shortly.

The Company is also committed to maintaining a safe and productive environment, free from harassment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity and we expect all our employees and individuals that work at our sites to follow our health and safety policies and procedures and be free from substance abuse at all times.

Communications

The continued success of our business relies on good relations and communications with employees and on the provision of a safe and environmentally sound workplace, which complies with applicable laws and regulations, providing an environment in which people can flourish and succeed. Our employees’ wellbeing and professional development is a key element to recruiting and retaining high-performing individuals.

Our people seek to deliver their best for the business, which, combined with a fair and responsible way of doing business, generates a common ambition to add value. We expect employees to respect confidential information, Company time and assets, and believe in open and honest communication, fair treatment and equal opportunities, all of which support the fundamental principles of good governance.

We encourage the involvement and participation of employees in matters that affect their interests through formal and informal meetings, and value their communication with management, both senior and at the business unit. Employees continue to be informed on matters affecting them and on the various factors influencing the performance of the Company, including through the Company’s website and intranet site. Eligible employees are able to benefit from the Company’s performance through participation in share schemes, including a savingsrelated share option scheme which at the year end had 924 active savings accounts representing circa 900 employees participating.

Considering it important for our employees to make provision for their retirement, the Company offers opportunities for participation in the Headlam Group Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme, the Headlam Group Pension Plan and the Government auto-enrolment National Employee Savings Trust, also providing death in service benefits through the Headlam Group Life Assurance scheme.

Training

Employees are encouraged to take advantage of our training and development opportunities, which are an important part of our strategy for success. Training is delivered through internal resources, a significant proportion of which is on a one-to-one basis, and external providers. In 2017 we have continued the bespoke training programme for our managers and sales representatives.

We require our employees to act ethically and responsibly in accordance with the policies and procedures within our employment handbook, which covers our policies on ethics, bribery, fraud and whistleblowing. This includes a zero tolerance approach to discrimination, bullying and harassment. All our policies promote the principles of fairness and equal opportunities and if these are not followed, employees can use the whistleblowing hotline to report adverse behaviours.

Utilising the services of an external trainer, continuing professional competence training for commercial vehicle drivers was undertaken during the year with further training scheduled during 2017.

Our externally sourced driver training team continues to deliver the driver Certificate of Professional Competence (‘CPC’) to all of our commercial drivers to ensure that the statutory requirement of 35 hours’ CPC training for every driver over a five year period is achieved, a total of 403 drivers each receiving seven hours’ training in 2016. Training is facilitated using our distribution facilities, with course material in 2016 including loading and loading safely, lifting accessories, product handling, carpet winch, vehicle loading and load distribution and restraint. The 2017 training programme is following a similar approach to that in 2016 albeit with different subject matter, including driver responsibilities, defect reporting, drivers’ hours rules and regulations, tachograph legislation and digital downloads, working time rules and regulations and first aid. We continue to offer the opportunity for class 2 driver training to drivers where changes in business need require a heavy goods vehicle to be used. Additionally, our Transport Managers and Supervisors attended an Operator’s Licence Awareness Training course and received refresher training on a broad range of transport related activities. Several employees completed their Managers Certificate of Professional Competence, something that we encourage and support our Transport Managers and Supervisors to strive towards.