Our people

Of primary importance to the Company is the provision of a safe and environmentally sound workplace for employees and visitors and one where employees are encouraged to progress and achieve their full potential.

Both the H&S and HR teams were expanded during 2017, most notably with the engagement of a National Health & Safety Manager and People Director (further details on Health & Safety). A number of initiatives were launched by the HR team during the year to support the overall wellbeing of the Company’s employees, including:

  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • HR and employee relations support
  • Employee satisfaction survey
  • Monthly HR Bulletin
  • Occupational Health

The Company actively recruited in all departments throughout 2017 and the total number of employees grew year-on-year to 2,427 as at 31 December 2017 (2016: 2,384). Recruitment is undertaken through a number of avenues including the Company’s own website, recognised job boards and, where appropriate, recruitment providers. The circulation of an internal vacancy list was introduced in December 2016 to give employees greater visibility of the vacancies available across the Company and encourage internal moves as a measure to retain talent and experience. This reflects the Company’s commitment to giving all employees the opportunity to progress their careers within Headlam, supported by ongoing training and development. It is the Company’s intention to supplement the level of training available to its employees over the coming years.

Employee retention and tenure is a key metric for the Company and 39% of UK employees have been with the Company for 10 years or more, with 135 employees having been with the Company since its establishment in 1992. As is not uncommon in the sector, a high proportion of employee turnover is among those with less than six months’ service and the focus is on reducing this through improved recruitment, induction and onboarding practices. The Company employee retention metrics for 2017 and 2016, and initiatives for improvement, are given within the Key Performance Indicators on page [ ] of this Annual Report.

Headlam undertook its first employee survey in May 2017 with the aim of giving all UK employees the opportunity to express their views on a confidential basis and help identify areas for improvement. The survey was completed by 53% of employees, considered acceptable for a first survey, with an overall engagement score of 77%.

Individual survey reports were provided to all the Company’s businesses, with workshops and action planning subsequently undertaken at both group and local level involving champions from all departments, with ideas and concerns discussed and actions agreed. Actions subsequently implemented include improvements to the physical working environment, efforts to improve internal communications, introducing local social and team events, job shadowing to create better understanding of different job functions, and modifications to some operational processes and CRM systems. The Company is committed to continuing and broadening these actions to improve the overall working environment and deliver a culture where all employees are confident their ideas and concerns are listened to and acted upon. To this end, the Company intends to hold another survey in May 2018 and is focused on improving the response rate, particularly in the departments of Transport and Warehouse, so it can better ascertain the views of all its employees.

The Employee Assistance Program (‘EAP’) was introduced in November 2017 as a continuum to improving employees’ wellbeing and in response to employee feedback. Delivered via a company called LifeWorks, EAP is a confidential telephone and internet/app-based service available to all employees and their immediate families providing advice, information and support on a range of issues spanning the categories of Work, Health, Life, Family and Money. It is designed to offer assistance and specialist support to employees and their families through difficult times should they need it. 

The cost of living award is designed to benefit employees through helping offset the effect of inflation and the rising cost of living. For 2017, the Company elected to award a cost of living increase of 2.0% to base salary to all its UK employees earning £42,500 or below. The Company has determined to award an increase of 2.0% for 2018 to all employees, with the exception of the Board and Senior Management team who elected not to receive it. In relation to its employees in Continental Europe, the Company followed local market practice for both 2017 and 2018.

The Company is fully committed to upholding the principles of equal opportunities in employment and in the provision of our services. The Company’s policy is to ensure that no job applicant, or employee, whether permanent, temporary, part time, fixed term, or former receives more or less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, age, disability, pregnancy or maternity, or is disadvantaged by a provision, criterion or practice which cannot be shown to be justifiable. As the Company has businesses in Continental Europe, the policies 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 the Company’s responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act. Where practicable, subject to the nature of the Company’s activities, employees who develop a disability during employment are given the opportunity to retrain for alternative employment within the Group. This policy applies equally to the treatment of the Company’s customers, suppliers and members of the public.

Recruitment and selection criteria and procedures will ensure that potential and current employees are selected, promoted, trained and treated on an equal basis and that all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.

Each individual associated with the Company, is individually responsible for implementing the Company's commitment to the principle of equality.

The Company will not tolerate acts of unlawful discrimination or harassment and all instances of such behaviour or alleged behaviour will be treated seriously, be fully investigated and may result in disciplinary proceedings (up to and including dismissal).

The Company’s recruitment, training and development processes are designed to ensure that it has suitably skilled and qualified employees to meet the operational needs of the business. The Company recognises 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. The Company is committed to developing the potential of its people, offering opportunities for employees to develop and grow and periodically reviewing succession planning processes.

The Company is committed to improving its practices to combat slavery and human trafficking.

It understands that the issue of slavery and human trafficking is a global issue and that no business sector will be able to eliminate or be free of slavery within their supply train without working collaboratively within its industry. The Company has a zero tolerance to slavery and human trafficking and will strive to eliminate any slavery and human trafficking found to be in its supply chain.

The Company sources an extensive range of floorcovering products including carpet, residential vinyl, wood, laminate, luxury vinyl tile, rugs, underlay and commercial flooring. In 2017, following the acquisition of Domus, the business of the enlarged Group diversified into ceramics and increased its presence in specification services. In 2017, the Company purchased from significant suppliers based in 20 countries. As for 2016, in 2017 over 90% of purchases were from suppliers in the EU.

The Company is committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in its supply chains or in any part of the business. This reflects the commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all business relationships and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls working towards ensuring that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place anywhere in the Company’s supply chains.

As part of the Company’s initiative to identify and mitigate risk, representatives from the Company visit suppliers and inspect their manufacturing facilities. During 2018, the Company will maintain its regular schedule of overseas visits to ensure anti- slavery practices are being monitored, reviewed and maintained within the supply chain. Greater internal training will be given to relevant employees to help them investigate and identify slavery or human trafficking practices which are not acceptable. Further, systems will be put in place to:

  • Identify and assess potential risk areas in the supply chains.
  • Mitigate the risk of slavery and human trafficking occurring in the supply chains.
  • Monitor potential risk areas in the supply chains.
  • Protect whistle blowers.

The Company is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in its businesses and seeks to gain transparency within the supply chain. Further information on activities will be made available on the Company’s website.

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 it expects all employees and individuals that work at its sites to follow health and safety policies and procedures and be free from substance abuse at all times.

It is the Company’s policy to conduct all business in an honest and ethical manner. The Company takes a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and is committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all business dealings and relationships.

The policy applies to all employees, directors, officers, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, interns, agents, contractors, external consultants, third-party representatives and business partners.

Any individual who breaches the policy will face action, which in the case of employees could result in dismissal for gross misconduct. Any non-employee who breaches the policy may have their contract terminated with immediate effect.

All employees and those working for the Company are expected to ensure that the interest of the business remains paramount at all times; be impartial and honest in the conduct of their official business; use the funds and resources of the Company to the best advantage of the Company, always ensuring value for money; not abuse their position of employment for personal gain or to benefit their family or friends; and not to seek advantage or further private business or other interests in the course of their official duties.

It is strictly forbidden for an employee corruptly to accept any inducement or reward for doing or refraining from doing anything, in his or her official capacity, or corruptly showing favour, or disfavour in the handling of contracts.

Gifts must be of an appropriate type and value depending on the circumstances and taking account of the reason for the gift. Employees are required to declare and keep a written record of all material hospitality or gifts given or received and are also required to submit all expenses claims relating to hospitality, gifts or payments to third parties in accordance with the Company’s expenses policy and record the reason for expenditure. All employees who are in contact with suppliers and contractors, and in particular those who are authorised to sign purchase orders, or place contracts for goods, materials or services, are expected to adhere to high professional standards.

Headlam encourages and supports the financial security of its employees and offers a number of benefits including opportunities for participation in the Company’s defined retirement benefit plans, 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.

Additionally, the Company operates a HM Revenue & Customs approved Save-As-You-Earn share option scheme (‘SAYE’), a monthly savings scheme facilitating the purchase of shares in Headlam at a discount by eligible employees. The SAYE not only provides employees with a tax-efficient savings plan but additionally promotes a sense of ownership of the Company. During 2017, 941 eligible employees participated in the Company's SAYE schemes, equivalent to 44% of the UK workforce.

All employees are actively encouraged to take advantage of training and development opportunities available to them, and which are considered an important part of the Company’s strategy for success. In 2017, 247 UK employees attended training courses covering the areas of Health & Safety, People Management, Leadership, Communication, Selling and Influencing Skills. Additionally, the Company is proposing to launch a Sales Training Academy during 2018.

The Company utilises the services of an external driver training team for continuing professional competence training for its commercial vehicle drivers, and this team continues to deliver the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (‘CPC’) training to all the Company’s commercial vehicle drivers to ensure that the statutory requirement of 35 hours’ CPC training for every driver over a five year period is achieved. In 2017, 408 drivers received CPC training via a course titled ‘The Professional Drivers Day’. The same trainer also delivered the Safe Urban Driving Course to 55 individuals from specific Company locations to assist in achieving further FORS Silver accreditations in the future (see Environment ). The training course for 2018 is designed to, among other things, raise understanding of vulnerable road users and how the industry and road schemes influence the safety of all road users.

The Company continues 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, transport managers and supervisors attended an Operator’s Licence Awareness Training course and received refresher training on a broad range of transport compliance during 2017.

Further details on the Company’s diversity policy as required by DTR 7.2.8AR is set out in the Corporate Governance statement of our Annual Report. Headlam recognises and values highly the benefits of diversity in the workplace, and maintains a policy of employing the best candidates available in every position, regardless of gender, ethnic group or background, and is committed to fair and equal treatment. Where existing employees become disabled, it is the Company’s policy, wherever practicable, to provide continuing employment under normal terms and conditions and to provide training, career development and promotion wherever appropriate, and the Company gives full and fair consideration to applications for employment from disabled persons.

As at 31 December 2017, the Company had 2,427 employees of which 18% were female (2016: 17% female).

Table showing gender diversity:

  Directors Senior managers Other employees Total employees
Male 6 248 1,735  1,989
Female - 30 408   438
Number of employees at 31 December 2017 6 278 2,143  2,427


During 2017, three females were appointed to the Senior Management team, and post the year-end the Company appointed its first female Director to the Board.

In-line with the UK Government’s regulations introducing mandatory gender pay gap reporting, the Company has published its Gender Pay Gap Report on the GOV.UK website (www.gov.uk) and its own website. The Report available on the two websites fully complies with the legislation but, by way of a summary, as at 5 April 2017 (the ‘snapshot’ date for all the data given) for the Company’s two legal entities required to report under the legislation (‘HFD’ and ‘MCD’) and for the ultimate holding company (‘PLC’) not required to report:

  • The Company’s overall median pay gap was lower than the UK national average at 10.5%
    • The proportion of men and women receiving bonuses:
    • HFD - men 98%, 97% women
    • MCD - men 97%, women 96%
    • PLC - men 71%, women 67%

  • The bonus pay gap:
   Mean Median
In HFD the bonus payment for a female is 41.6% lower than a male 14.6% lower than a male
In MCD the bonus payment for a female is 44% lower than a male 24.5% lower than a male
In PLC the bonus payment for a female is 95% lower than a male 99.9% lower than a male
  • The proportion of men and women in each quartile of the Company’s pay structure:

The Company is working to improve the male:female ratio across the whole Company and, as detailed above, appointed three females to the Senior Management team during 2017 and post the year-end appointed its first female Director to the Board. In addition, it is committed to improving the balance of the workforce through both supporting the women who work for the Company moving into more senior positions and attracting more women to join.

The Company is in the process of ensuring that it will comply with the GDPR when it is implemented in May 2018. During the latter part of 2017 the Company identified the data processing activities in which it is engaged and is liaising with all third parties (be they customers, suppliers, employees or other third parties) involved in those data processing activities (or who may be the subject of data processing) to ensure that it will be compliant whether as data controller or data processor by the relevant time. The Company will also be putting in procedures to ensure the safety and security of the data it holds and/or processes as well as implementing new policies and providing training to employees who are engaged in roles which require them to process personal data.