The Company has introduced a number of new forms of workforce engagement over the last few years which significantly increase the channels available to the Company to test ideas and actively seek feedback, making changes and improvements in response. Key new engagement activities are listed below, with these supplementing enhanced policies and procedures and regular interaction via various communication channels, all of which are designed to further improve the working environment. Further detail is given within the Our People section on page 46 of the 2019 Annual Report.
The Company engages with suppliers through a variety of means including meetings, presentations, collaborative trade show events, reviews of practices and questionnaires, including in the area of ensuring a supply chain free from slavery and human trafficking. The Company has actively sought to increase its partnership approach with suppliers in 2019, including members of the Executive Team undertaking a more comprehensive schedule of meetings with suppliers with which to obtain feedback and which supplements the suppliers’ frequent interaction with the Company’s delegated buyers.
The Company shares market feedback and sales performance data to suppliers allowing them to adjust their ranges and production activities as appropriate, and actively supports suppliers in new product development and the marketing of innovative and sustainable products, an example of which is given in the Environment section on page 50 of the 2019 Annual Report.
Two further engagement initiatives instigated in 2019 are given below, both of which have increased the collaborative approach between the Company and its suppliers.
Customer relationships and their performance are integral to the success of the Company, and many different touch-points are maintained with customers. Customers have regular interaction with sales representatives, delivery drivers and customer service teams, all of which provide a method to gain feedback which is then utilised to improve customer service levels. The Company has increased its engagement with customers via formalised customer surveys and enhanced e-commerce support through the provision of a relaunched e-commerce platform, detailed below.
Clear and concise regulatory announcements and regular interaction with shareholders and the wider investment community is essential for their understanding of the Company and its performance, and evaluation of the Company as an appropriate investment. The Company proactively offers meetings to its largest shareholders and analyst community, primarily following the publication of its interim and final results, while also encouraging the investment community to visit its main operating locations to review operations first-hand and meet additional members of the workforce. Feedback is actively sought, either directly or via the Company’s brokers, and then considered and monitored against performance and strategy, with investor and analyst feedback a Board Meeting agenda item.
The Company is committed to maintaining a comprehensive level of engagement with shareholders and the investment community, including via members of the Executive Team and the Board as detailed within the Corporate Governance section on page 58 of the 2019 Annual Report, with two specific areas on how this is done given below.
The Company is committed to positively impacting the communities and local areas in which it operates, and strongly supports all its businesses in their various channels of engagement with the communities in which they operate. As referenced in Our People on page 46 of the 2019 Annual Report, the Company actively recruited in all departments throughout 2019, with the Company’s businesses predominately recruiting from within their local areas and utilising a number of methods including local employment agencies, job boards and word-of-mouth.
The Company actively encourages each of its businesses to build strong relationships with their communities and has in place a Charitable Donations Policy which supports locally-focused charitable giving and community involvement by each of the Company’s businesses, thereby allowing local communities to benefit directly.
When there are complaints from members of the public or other road-users regarding a member of the Company’s workforce or the Company’s operations, these are fully investigated by the business concerned with support from the centralised HR function.