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Social: Enhance Health, Wellbeing & Capability of Colleagues

Supporting our colleagues has never been more important. We continue to learn from experiences during FY2021 and the global pandemic and recognise the requirement to further adapt and improve.

Our main priority continues to be the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees; recognising the key importance of delivering better safety standards and improving the wellbeing of our colleagues.

Safety First

The global COVID-19 pandemic introduced a new element into our risk management system. As a result of horizon scanning the new emerging threat; risk assessments, controls and training were introduced across all of our operations at an early stage. This enabled the Group to respond faster to the pandemic, protect its employees and deliver a COVID-19 secure manufacturing and logistics supply chain.

The business invested in new technology to help in the fight against the pandemic. We installed thermal detection systems measuring body temperatures as employees arrived at work. Door handles that automatically release sanitising gel when the user pulls the door open, were fitted across all operations. This ensured regular sanitising of hands whilst reducing the potential for contact transmission. Daily compliance audits ensured that social distancing, hygiene measures and face coverings were being fully adhered to. In addition, those staff who were capable of working from home, were deployed to do so. They were supported with homeworking risk assessments, the provision of additional equipment and routine information aimed at maintaining mental health and wellbeing. We developed an in-house mobile app for the reporting of potential symptoms and test results which provided the leadership team with real time data for the monitoring and early identification of any potential workplace transmissions. This allowed the Company to review existing controls and where necessary, implement further controls to protect our colleagues.

We have ongoing COVID-19 monitoring and reporting in place across the Group. This covers a number of parameters including; colleagues displaying symptoms, those contacted by Track and Trace, tests carried out and status, colleagues isolating and any colleague displaying symptoms who was in close proximity to fellow workers (less than 2 metres) for more than 15 minutes. Our monitoring highlighted that 63 (circa 2%) of colleagues have contracted COVID-19. All colleagues who had contracted COVID-19 have recovered and are now back at work. COVID-19 continues to have a substantial impact on all of our operations.

Manufacturing increased productivity across a range of lines whereas unfortunately a number of the logistics depots supplying hospitality were scaled down. Nevertheless, the management of health, safety and welfare continued and we delivered improvements where possible. Combined with the intense activity of managing COVID-19, the Group was still able to deliver some positive results in general health and safety. Overall a 30% reduction in RIDDORs (over 7 day lost time events) was achieved. In addition, we observed a further reduction in Lost Time Accidents (1 day to 7 days absence) by 29%. This achieved an impressive 39% reduction in all accidents compared to the previous year.

The increase in FY2021 RIDDOR incidents in Wellpark and Scotland Logistics is due to higher number of contractors on site. Briefings for contractors visiting sites have been improved. Over the last year, there has also been an increase in Lost Time Accidents per 100 employees at Clonmel (FY2021: 1.76, FY2020: 0.62)

In 2021, we will launch our revised Health and Safety Strategy under our ‘Vision Zero’ initiative. Vision Zero assumes that all accidents and work-related ill-health are preventable. It is our ambition and commitment to create an even safer and healthier work environment by continuing to reduce all accidents, harm and work-related diseases and continually promote excellence in health, safety and wellbeing. Vision Zero is a value-based vision, implying that work should not negatively affect an employee’s health, safety or wellbeing and should, if possible, help to enhance colleagues’ competences and employability.

Physical health and ways to have fun and be healthy outside of work have been encouraged. Towards the end of the year, a Tennent’s to Tito’s social challenge involved colleagues across the Group clocking activity miles (through running, cycling or walking) with the aim of collectively contributing enough miles to travel from the Tennent’s Brewery in Glasgow, via other C&C locations, to Tito’s in Austin, Texas.

Throughout the pandemic C&C has supported colleagues’ financial wellness in a variety of ways. Salaries for colleagues who are furloughed/laid-off have been maintained to a sum equivalent to 80% of monthly earnings. This has been achieved by “topping up” payment from the various government schemes as needed. Benefits, such as Life Assurance, and benefit allowances have been maintained at pre-furlough/lay off terms. C&C has provided support for longer term financial wellbeing by continuing employer pension contributions at 100% of pre-furlough/layoff levels.

While we endeavour to assist our colleagues’ financial wellbeing in practical and tangible ways where possible, we also recognise the needs are unique to individual circumstances. To assist colleagues in supporting themselves in this area we have promoted awareness of financial wellbeing and made a variety of resources available, including via our new learning platforms.

Emphasis on promoting mental health awareness and encouraging positive mental health increased during FY2021, with more leaders visibly demonstrating their commitment to mental health and a greater number of colleagues coming forward in sharing their personal experiences and becoming trained mental health first aiders.

Additional awareness activities took place around World Mental Health Awareness Day, Time to Talk Day (UK), Valentine’s Day (Bulmers Ireland and Tennent’s Northern Ireland) and International Women’s Day.

New learning resources were made available on topics such as suicide awareness, domestic abuse awareness, resilience, alcohol awareness, responsible drinking and understanding what organisational and external support was available.

All business areas launched refreshed communication channels for colleagues in and away from work due to the pandemic. These aimed to maintain connectivity and social wellbeing, keep colleagues up to date with changes and matters impacting their business area and minimise anxiety.

Remote Working

To safeguard colleague health and wellbeing and protect the integrity of our production and distribution facilities, through the year, we have maintained a policy that all colleagues who can work from home, do so. This has been supported with a series of measures, including risk assessments and provision of equipment, to help adjust to what is a new situation for most of us. We regularly communicated key resources that aid personal wellbeing. With so many schools closed during the pandemic in the UK and Ireland, we offered support to our colleagues who have children in school. To facilitate the return to work we produced short films to familiarise and educate returning staff with the increased safety measures and layouts put in place across all sites.

Primary channels of communication have varied throughout the Group, as business areas have disparate colleague groups which COVID-19 has impacted differently. Across the Group, there has been greater focus on communication channels such as e-newsletters, all-hands video meetings, departmental Zoom and MS Teams meetings than in previous years.

In February 2021, we launched ‘Our Forum’, an additional channel to allow colleagues to stay connected and build engagement across the Group. During these sessions, the Managing Director, a designated Non-Executive Director and representative from the ESG Team discussed how the Board and Senior Management worked together and answered questions raised in the Colleague Engagement Survey. ‘Our Forum’ is part of our ongoing commitment to understanding colleagues’ views and covered topics including plans post COVID-19; corporate strategy; health and safety; training and development and flexible and remote working.

The sessions enable the Non-Executive Directors to have a direct understanding of topics important to colleagues and allows them to feedback to the Board on key issues and learnings. The Board is hopeful that, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, there will be greater in-person interaction for the ‘Our Forum’ sessions during FY2022.

Embed Key Codes

In June 2020, circa 450 colleagues across the Group completed online policy compliance training, created by legal specialists, DWF Advantage, on:

  • The Bribery Act;
  • Fraud prevention;
  • Cyber security;
  • Cyber crime;
  • Information security at C&C;
  • Modern Slavery;
  • Whistleblowing with confidence; and
  • Financial crime compliance

In February 2021, two additional courses were added: Updated C&C Policies and Competition Law. During FY2022, the online compliance training will be cascaded throughout the workforce.

Learning and Development Programmes

A learning management platform was introduced across all business areas. This enabled on-demand online resources to be offered to all colleagues, including those away from work, and who do not commonly use company information technology systems. In addition to wellbeing, COVID-19, and diversity and inclusion topics, online learning content has been made available to provide development to sales teams and support organisational change programmes.

We have continued with most formal professional qualifications and training, although some apprenticeships requiring on the job learning experience have been deferred until FY2022 as work, and the associated experiences required, have not been available. Professional development has continued within central and support services functions, including Finance, Marketing and HR, as well as some sales and operational areas. Leadership and management development and the ‘Raising the Bar’ initiative has continued in Tennent’s, which included a focus on behavioural and diversity and inclusion related topics. Similarly, in Matthew Clark, a suite of internal management training interventions was delivered across a range of behavioural and employee relations topics. In Bulmers, continued participation in Enterprise Ireland funded Lean projects has allowed many colleagues to receive Green Belt training (which entails product improvement through waste removal).

We continue to support professional development across the business and this year have supported colleagues through further education and professional exams including SVQs in Management, MBAs, CIMA, CIPD and IBD qualifications.