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Five Minutes With...Phil Westcott

Feb 22, 2024|

In ‘Five Minutes With…’ we share the stories of our Bisley colleagues and business partners, allowing you to get to know them a little better. In this feature, we talk to Phil Westcott, our HR Manager, as he discusses how we continue to motivate and encourage our workforce.

How do we continue to keep our employees motivated and engaged?

Our employees are the beating heart of Bisley, and we understand the importance of listening and engaging with them as best we possibly can.

In December 2022, we announced the establishment of the Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), where 51% of Bisley is indirectly owned by circa 500 global employees, most of whom are based in the UK, but also with offices throughout the world, including Dubai, New York, Paris, Germany, the Netherlands, and Ireland. Mr Brown, our late Owner and Chairman wanted to ensure the long-term success of Bisley, and at the heart of this has always been the most important element – our people.

The EOT reinforces the importance of our employees to the business including them in some key decisions that are related to the best interests and performance of the business.

We have a Works Council where representatives from different areas of the business meet to discuss anything related to the company that they wish to raise. These representatives will then feedback any developments to any queries raised. Again, we feel that this is a great way to keep our workforce motivated and engaged, giving them the confidence to raise any queries they may have.

We also develop a bi-monthly internal document called a Team Brief which includes business-related updates to keep our employees in the know. This communication includes some financials, as well as some HR information and Health and Safety guidance. This is distributed business-wide.

We are continually working to keep all our employees motivated and engaged and encourage staff to share any ideas or suggestions for improvement.

How do we work to implement any employee feedback or suggestions into the overall business strategy?

Through our TWI and NVQ training programmes, which allows our employees to learn and train within our industry. We’ve worked closely with Supervisor Academy who have provded TWI (Training Within Industry) for the past three years, and initially, these courses were offered to those working across our manufacturing site and within the operations team. We quickly realised that although training was vital for managers, supervisors, and section leaders, it was important that the ideas gained from the training was cascaded down to the shop floor.

Training and development can encourage employees to feel more confident and empowered to give their opinions and feedback, without feeling scared or worried. Those producing our products on a daily basis may be able to offer invaluable suggestions on how to improve efficiency, workflow, and productivity, which ultimately impacts growth and hopefully, the profitability of the business. In turn, this can boost employee retention and save the business money on recruitment and fixing errors that could have been avoided.

We enjoy hearing employee feedback, especially when a new and effective process has been implemented following a change. We want people to work smarter, not harder and will always listen to feedback offered and try to make strategic improvements.

How have we adapted and evolved in the last year with regards to training and development?

As I’ve mentioned above, the training offered by Supervisor Academy has been invaluable to us as a business. It has ensured that we’re more productive, aligned, and more efficient in many of our day-to-day activities.

In the last 18 months, we estimate that over 50 members of staff have benefitted from the training courses offered, and this is across various areas of operations within the business. We are now also able to offer training into the support functions of the business with the design team. We hope to see a similar level of business and personal growth in the coming year with training and developments opportunities being provided.

What are our HR goals for the year ahead? What are we hoping to achieve?

We understand the importance of preparing the business for the challenges of the future and we will continue to actively invest and develop our employees to provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to take the business forward.

We recognise the importance of the health and wellbeing of our workforce and see it as another key HR activity. The development of a Wellbeing Policy and an environment where employees feel comfortable to express how they are feeling ensures that we can provide appropriate support for both physical and mental wellbeing, which is essential in today’s world of work.

We’ve also recently rolled a new digital HR system, which allows employees to access personal documents such as wage slips and P60s. Not only does this reduce the amount of administrative work for the department, but also reduces administration for managers and employees. Rather than having to fill out a form and submit it to the manager, they can simply log in to their individual profile and go from there. We are really hoping to build on this platform going forward as a central hub where employees can go for people-related information.

How are we attracting more women into the manufacturing industry?

In what has been considered widely as a male dominated industry, we are committed to improving diversity within our business and looking at ways to encourage more women into the industry. We’ve recently hired our very first female Maintenance Technician and continue to increase the number women holding senior positions within the business, with three female directors currently in post.

Are we supporting any new, local charities this year? If so, why?

We support a whole host of charities and are more than happy to sponsor employees who are taking on incredible challenges to raise vital funds for very worthy local causes. We recently sponsored Mark Thorpe, who is our PP1 Paint Line Section Leader, who ran the Cardiff Half Marathon raising money for Mind Newport in October, and we continue to work closely with St David’s Hospice, another high profile and local charity.

We also take part in theMacmillan Coffee Morning and of course, we continue to support our local rugby team, the Dragons RFC as they continue to work and develop their Community Gateway initiative, which was founded by the late Mr Brown.

How do we continue to support our local community?

As well as the continuation of our relationship with the Dragons, we understand the benefits of close links with the community and its young people who may become our future employees.

Before the pandemic, we often welcomed schools and colleges to visit our factory, to show them how our machinery and equipment operate. They really enjoyed learning about our buisness and were often surprised about the sheer scale of our operation. This is an initiative we’d love to reintroduce in the next year or so.

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