As we all continue to experience the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and well-being of our customers, partners, suppliers and employees remains our key priority.
Stephen Bird, Group Chief Executive
Employee engagement and wellbeing
In 2020 we increased the amount of engagement with our employees in response to COVID-19. This was to give assurance to our people and to retain their trust through this most challenging of years.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, we have been able to continue with our employee engagement initiatives. Notably, we undertook an all employee survey focused on the Company’s response to the pandemic and we also carried out an employee review in our Creative Solutions Division for the first time.
Caroline Thomson, Non-Executive Director
As part of ensuring the wellbeing of all our employees, in 2020 we introduced an all-employee assistance programme in conjunction with ICAS. This service provides free and confidential support to all our employees and their families on a range of matters including counselling for emotional and psychological support, practical guidance and support on legal, financial, family and work matters and online health and wellbeing guidance. This service has been rolled out to every employee and translated into the local languages used in the Group.
% of Group employees that felt we responded appropriately to the pandemic99%
% of Group employees that felt the company communicated appropriately during the pandemic91%
While the pandemic curtailed the opportunity to hold face-to-face meetings and events in 2020, employees received regular updates on the business, performance and measures to deal with the pandemic from the Group Chief Executive. Virtual All-hands meetings took place throughout 2020 and during 2021, allowing us to stay in touch with large numbers of employees working remotely. Many other in-person engagement channels that were suspended due to COVID-19 were reintroduced virtually.
% of Group employees that felt their safety, health and wellbeing was a high priority of the company95%
We also undertook all-employee staff surveys in May 2020 and June 2021 to seek feedback from employees about the Company’s response to the pandemic.
2020 provided the greatest challenge to employee wellbeing and we have had to adapt to the impact of COVID-19, looking for ways to ensure that our people are motivated and looked after. At our manufacturing sites we have provided meals to employees in staff canteens enabling employees to get a healthy meal and avoid the need to travel and expose themselves to risks. Meals have either been subsidised or provided for free.
Health and safety
From the outset of the pandemic we have implemented stringent safe-working practices at all our sites around the world following local government guidance and ensuring a minimum Group-wide standard.
At the start of the pandemic, many of our sites were closed for a period of time with employees either working from home, placed on furlough or similar arrangements. As permitted, we reopened our sites, especially the manufacturing sites of Bury St Edmunds, Feltre, Cartago, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Irvine, Cary and Stroud, ensuring that only those employees necessary were on site and that strict safe-working practices are adhered to.
This included social distancing measures, wearing of masks, ensuring that employees regularly wash hands, providing tests if required, ensuring that travel to and from work is by safe means, regular cleaning of facilities and also ensuring that the workflow around sites ensures social distancing. Each site prepared risk assessments to mitigate the risks around COVID-19 and practices have evolved as the pandemic has progressed.
We trained our people on safe working practices relevant to their roles and also expanded this to cover safe working practices on our sites in response to COVID-19 and to ensure that our employees working from home did so in a safe manner.
To protect employees’ health and to reduce the risk of transmission within the Production Solutions Division, consistent standards that met or exceeded local standards were implemented globally during 2020. These included social distancing measures, increased sanitising and hygiene provision, maximum attendance on site for those unable to work from home and additional employee training and guidance for all working situations. These were audited by the Division’s occupational health service provider and BSI Auditor.
The Media Solutions Division also gave the highest priority to the health and safety of employees, implementing several actions to prevent and protect during the pandemic. These included dividing workers into shifts to ensure social distancing and use of smart working; continuous training on new safety standards in operation at sites, body temperature measurement upon entrance to premises, distribution of masks and sanitising products to employees on site, ban of visits from customers and suppliers to our premises, weekly site sanitisation, serological tests and rapid swab tests performed in a screening mode every few weeks. All canteens and offices were equipped with Plexiglass separators and safe virtual communication, and safety check lists were applied in all our offices worldwide, also according to local legislation.
We have actively recorded where employees have been infected or have had to self-isolate and provided support where possible. We have tracked health and safety performance throughout the pandemic to ensure that issues are identified early, that employees feel safe and that best practice is shared across the Group.