Colleagues are at the heart of the Company, and its greatest asset. There are over 2,200 colleagues at Headlam within a variety of departments, including warehousing, transport, sales, and administration. The Company continues to focus on making Headlam a great place to work, and ensure colleagues share in the Company’s long-term success.
Communication channels continued to be expanded upon, with a particular focus on facilitating feedback. Headlam always wants its colleagues to freely give their views, including any concerns they may have. A new ‘Speak Up’ policy was put in place in 2022 improving the Company’s existing whistleblowing policy and practices. Colleagues are able to ring a hotline or submit concerns online, anonymously if they wish, with the service managed by a specialist third-party.
Chris Payne, who became Chief Executive in March 2022, and members of the Executive Team held newly instigated ‘open forums’ across all the Company’s distribution sites during 2022. The forums gave colleagues from all departments the opportunity to give feedback and ideas for improvement directly to members of the senior team. These forums will continue in 2023.
There has also been more frequent face-to-face engagement by the Board’s Non-Executive Directors, with a greater number of formal and informal meetings at sites across the group. Additionally, the format and scope of the established Employee Forum, which has both Executive and Non-Executive Director representation, has been enhanced to allow greater interaction and mechanisms for feedback from a wider cross-section of colleagues, who also visit other sites while attending the Forums.
A DEI strategy is fundamental to providing an inclusive and successful working environment where everyone can progress and succeed. While improvements were made during 2022 in localised areas, an expert in the subject matter joined Headlam in early 2023 to focus on formulating and rolling out a group-wide DEI strategy.
To help address the prevailing inflationary environment, its impact on cost of living, and support more junior colleagues, the Company decided in 2022 to take a tiered approach to its annual pay award in 2023. For 2023, lower salaried employees received a higher percentage increase to their salaries, with this percentage decreasing higher up the scale. Importantly, following a review during 2022, the Company ensured that everyone received the equivalent of the National Real Living Wage.
The Company has a number of established rewards and benefits in place, including: pension provision; death in service benefits; HMRC approved save-asyou-earn (‘SAYE’) Sharesave scheme; and access to retail discounts. Changes and improvements implemented during 2022 included:
• Moving to one pension for all colleagues, providing a more generous and flexible contribution structure, and consistency and fairness across the group
• Enhancing and harmonising holiday entitlement
• Putting in place equal sick pay for all colleagues
• Partnering with Salary Finance which provides responsible financial products, helpful tools and support to improve financial wellbeing
During 2022, the Company also introduced a Recognition Scheme, ‘Headlam Heroes’, to celebrate colleagues’ great performances and commitment. This has been widely embraced across the group through the giving of eCards and vouchers.
Towards the end of 2022, the Company formally launched its Apprenticeship Programme to sit alongside the already established learning and training programmes in place. Headlam is now actively promoting apprenticeships across the business both internally and externally, and enrolling new colleagues who wish to obtain qualifications.
Mental health and wellbeing sits firmly within the Company’s focus on health and safety culture. The Company has an established Employee Assistance Programme in place, ‘Lifeworks’, which includes mental health support. To build on this, during 2022 the Company trained an initial group of mental health first aiders at sites across the group using a specialist third-party, and will continue the roll-out of this training along with further developing its mental health strategy.
The local communities in which Headlam operates are instrumental to the success of the Company’s many regional and national businesses, both in terms of recruiting great people from the communities as well as securing sales. The Company actively recruits from its local communities to help support the areas in which it operates. In 2022, to further its support and ties to communities, Headlam launched a locally focused Communities Programme which allows for funded donations to local causes, as well as paid volunteering time and flooring product donations. This Programme will be an ongoing initiative, with the local causes celebrated across the group to help promote their work.
In line with the UK Government’s regulations which introduced gender pay gap reporting, the Company has published its most recent report dated 5 April 2022 on the gov.uk website and its own website. The report fully complies with the legislation and an abridged summary is given below which includes the Company’s two legal entities required to report (‘HFD’ and ‘MCD’) and additionally the ultimate holding company (‘PLC’) not required to report.
The Company’s overall median pay gap was lower than the UK national average at 4.8% (national average: 14.9%). The proportion of men and women receiving bonuses:
A strong and embedded health and safety culture is imperative to keeping colleagues safe. Headlam continues to invest in this area, and in early 2023 engaged with a leading consultant to reinforce this priority.
The HR team has been expanded in 2023 to support the delivering of all activities, and importantly also provide further support to senior managers across the group responsible for teams of people.
Further developments planned for 2023 include the launch of the ‘Headlam Way’ focused on bringing the Company’s values and vision to life and immersing them in the business. Additionally, a Long Service Awards Scheme is being launched to recognise and applaud the long heritage of businesses and colleagues across the group. The Scheme will award colleagues after certain milestones of service with a monetary gift and shares in the Company.