The Group recognises the importance of workforce policies and practices and engages with our people through regular quarterly briefing sessions, the Group intranet, Group briefing calls and annual conferences.
Annually we undertake an employee engagement survey to better understand how our employees feel about all aspects of their role and the Group. Year on year since we commenced this survey we have had a high response rate, with over 93% of employees participating in the survey in the year. In 2018 our overall engagement score was 81%. The output from the survey is used to inform future engagement and drive activity across the Group.
In the coming year Jane Bednall, a non- executive director, will be working with our HR team on workforce policies and practices so that our healthy culture and positive engagement with the workforce is maintained.
Diversity and inclusion
We are committed to equal opportunities and the creation of an entirely non- discriminatory working environment and our recruitment policy and guidance, underpinned by our vision and values, operates to ensure that all employees are recruited, developed, promoted and remunerated on the basis of their skills and job suitability. The Group is dedicated to undertaking all its business operations in a way which respects individual human rights, diversity and equality, and treats individuals with dignity and allows freedom of association.
We give full consideration to applications for employment from disabled persons in light of aptitude and abilities. We endeavour to retain the employment of, and arrange suitable retraining for, any employee who becomes disabled during their employment as far as possible.
We recognise that a better work-life balance can improve team members’ motivation, performance and productivity, and reduce stress. Driven by output from the engagement survey, we have this year rewritten and promoted our flexible working policy and we welcome requests that meet the needs and objectives of both the Group and the employee.
Developing our people
All support team new starters receive a Group induction, followed by department specific inductions, initial training and on-the-job coaching as required. We encourage and support our employees to develop a long-term career with us. 46% of our support team employees have been with us for over five years and 33% have over ten years’ experience.
Internal progression is something we are proud to champion. During 2018, sponsored by the Board, we embarked on a year long exercise of performance appraisal, evaluations, 360o feedback and succession planning throughout the executive talent across all the Group businesses. The output from that has enabled individuals to revisit personal development plans and for us to support them in bespoke training and coaching opportunities to achieve their potential.
We are proud to continue to hold the Gold accreditation by Investors in People.
Reward and recognition
The Group offers a range of flexible benefits to employees, which allows them to tailor their overall reward to suit their particular individual needs. Over 80% of our support team make use of one or more of these benefits. The Group also encourages employee ownership of Company shares through a Save as You Earn (SAYE) scheme and a Share Incentive Plan (SIP).
We regularly benchmark salaries and rates of pay and benefits as part of our aim to recruit and retain great people to operate our businesses and to support reduction in staff turnover and improve productivity.
Gender Pay Gap
In February 2019 we published our GPG report for the snapshot date in April 2018, required for two of our companies, Ei Group plc and Bermondsey Pub Company Limited.
Anti-bribery and corruption
The Group operates a full suite of policies and procedures to guard against bribery and corruption. Whilst we operate in an industry that is not believed to be especially prone to bad practices the risk of bribery, corruption, fraud or theft exist in every company. We are committed to conducting our business with the highest level of integrity. This includes a zero tolerance approach to all forms of bribery, corruption, fraud and theft and procedures are in place which are designed to minimise or eradicate risks. Our Code of Practice applies to all employees, all our business dealings and transactions and is reviewed at least annually by the Board of Directors together with details of all hospitality offered by employees or attended by them.
The Group encourages any reports of malpractice, illegal acts or omissions or matters of a similar nature by employees, former employees, contractors, publicans, suppliers or advisors using mechanisms for reporting, and support the framework for protecting whistle-blowers who have a genuine concern about malpractice from victimisation, dismissal or detriment.
The Group employs over 1,800 people, with the largest concentration at the Group’s head office in Solihull and with increasing numbers employed in our managed houses located throughout England and Wales. We spend over £300 million of annual revenue on goods and services required to carry out our day-to-day business and this activity is managed by a dedicated procurement team who operate in accordance with an agreed policy. That policy includes the requirement to source supplies from approved suppliers and for business to be conducted honestly, ethically and with respect for the rights and interests of the people with whom we do business. We expect honesty, openness and courtesy from all suppliers and their employees. We conduct business in accordance with our responsible sourcing principles and our Code of Practice sets out our expectations of suppliers based both in the UK and abroad on issues such as pay, working hours, child labour, workers’ rights and representation. We have in place a process to audit suppliers’ adherence to all requirements contained in our Code when deemed necessary.
While we consider the risk of modern slavery or human trafficking taking place in our supply chain to be low we do recognise the importance of combating slavery and human trafficking and the duty to tackle these issues.