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ESG

Employee Values and Social

Our people are critical to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our business and to achieving the Group’s strategic objectives.

Engaging with our people

We believe it is important for our employees to feel connected to and engaged with the over-arching vision of the Group which is that we are “Changing the World with Photonics”.

We provide our employees with a clear roadmap of how we intend to deliver our vision through our world class engineering and manufacturing solutions.

Through participative workshops our teams discuss the company and employee values we have set that guide everyone in G&H in the way we perform our respective roles. These are:

  • Unity – working ever-more together between project teams, sites and functions from across the Group. This is essential to winning new business and servicing our customers with increasingly complex, higher value products which integrate a range of technologies and require expertise drawn from across G&H.
  • Customer Focus – prioritising our actions to continually improve our offering and service to our external customers. We also focus on supporting and respecting our “internal customers”.
  • Passion –this is about all our employees recognising and believing that ‘my job can make a difference’ and acting on this on a daily basis.
  • Precision – which recognises the value of quality and a “right first time” approach and which underpins the Group’s commitment to excellence and continuous improvement.

From these values, we have developed a suite of Behaviours which provide a further framework for our employees on how they can put the Values in to practice in their daily work.

Through participative workshops employees are encouraged to discuss our Vision, Mission and Values and the underpinning Behaviours so that they can have a real connection to them in their day to day work and understand how they can contribute to the achievement of the Group’s objectives.

We also survey all employees each year to provide feedback on levels of engagement and to get their feedback on what they think could be done better. We use this feedback to build a rolling set of improvement actions.

In response to employee feedback, we were delighted to be able to launch two new all employee share schemes during the year. These were a Sharesave Scheme for UK staff and an Employee Stock Purchase Plan in the US which will help to build further employee engagement with the Group.

We recognise it is essential to keep our people informed on business developments and on the factors affecting the Group. We do this through regular briefings, including recorded video updates from the CEO, “all-hands” site meetings as well as internal announcements. Works councils or employee consultation groups, comprised of management and elected employee representatives operate at the majority of G&H UK sites where the management can listen to representatives’ views and take them into account when making decisions.

This year, we also launched a global employee newsletter – “G&H Informed” – which is published quarterly in electronic form or available in hard copy to ensure the widest possible readership. This aims to share stories and business updates across the Group and we encourage colleagues to contribute to future editions.

Finally, 2021 saw the launch of a new series of thought leadership articles – “G&H Insight” - which offer insight and opinion on emerging trends, our markets and the future of the photonics industry and showing how we are truly changing the world with photonics. These are published on the company’s website and are also made available to our people to help them feel proud to be part of G&H.

If you want to disucss our employee values or company vision further then simply contact us.

Developing our people

The Group recognises that it is essential to develop the skills and capabilities of its employees, and to attract and retain the best talent available in the regions in which it operates.

The Group operates an online performance management and appraisal system which provides opportunity for individual discussions on training needs and career planning. The Group also operates a talent management and succession planning process from which the Executive Management Team formulate action plans, and review progress. The Board also reviews this process annually ensuring that effective plans are in place.

Given the geographic spread of the Group we recognise the challenge of delivering training content to our employees in a consistent and timely manner. To address this we have launched an online learning platform through which a series training programmes covering the areas of cyber security, Export legislation awareness and Global Data Protection Regulations.

Ensuring the well-being of our people

The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees across the Group is of paramount importance, and we work hard to ensure all our people are safe, whether they are working from home, working in our premises or working with our customers.

We have a range of well-developed operating policies and procedures in place. These include executive leadership on quarterly reviews in the US and UK, which incorporate key performance indicators and mitigating action plans where necessary. This data which we benchmark with other firms in our industry sectors confirms improving trends and best in class performance levels. This is further supported by the Group’s work in regards to adopting ISO 45001 – Health and Safety management, as a Best Practice initiative, which includes a regular internal assessment process.

We understand the value of supporting employees through mental health challenges. We have trained in house mental health first aiders, partnering with the charity MIND.

This was followed up by training sessions for our managers to help them identify and manage mental health issues in their teams. The Group also makes available to our employees external employee assistance programs (EAP) through which employees can access third party advice on good practice health and well-being.

We recognise the pandemic has changed the employment landscape significantly and that many of our employees and potential new hires now have different expectations on how and where they carry out their jobs. Consequently, the company has implemented for many of our business support roles a hybrid work from home/office policy where employees can choose how they do their jobs in a way that works best for them. Within that more flexible framework we do however believe in the importance of employees continuing to have regular on-site attendance in order to enable effective team-working and develop working relationships.

We value long term employment with the company and have operated a long-service recognition scheme across the Group for several years.

Voluntary labour turnover was 12% across the Group in FY2021, compared to 11% in prior year.

Promoting equality and diversity

The Board is committed to providing equal employment opportunities for all employees and applicants for employment.

Diversity is embraced at G&H. We seek to recruit, hire, develop and retain the best talent. Our employees have diverse backgrounds, skills, and ideas that collectively contribute to our success. The Company operates to national standards of diversity in employment, including an Affirmative Action Program (AAP) in the United States which is designed to attract, retain and develop a diverse pool of talent.

As part of our talent and succession planning process, the Board and Executive management team monitor the representation of women and ethnic minorities at different levels and across different functions within our “talent pools”. In support of this objective, recruitment partners have now been instructed to include female candidates in all shortlist submissions. This will improve the representation of women at all levels, notably in leadership positions that (excluding the Directors) are currently 90% male (88% including the Directors).

In recognition of International Women in Engineering Day on in June 2021, G&H hosted a virtual round table with women in engineering and related disciplines from across the Group. They spoke openly and engagingly about the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them, the support they have found both at G&H and elsewhere in their lives, the obstacles remaining in the wider industry, and the future they believe women engineers – and the girls aspiring to become them – have a right to attain. As a result, this event an internal support network has been created that meets regularly.

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Supporting our communities

We look to support and work with the local communities in which we operate.

The Group supports and develops students and apprentices, especially in the field of engineering and technology. Support for young students by providing work experience and undergraduates and interns with summer placements has been restricted this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Group has long-standing relationships with several universities in UK, including Herriot Watt Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Glasgow, Exeter and University College London with whom we work on collaborative projects as well as providing letters of support to academic research projects.

We actively support local charities in the communities in which we operate.

That includes encouraging and supporting our people to take part in giving their time or raising money for charitable and community activities where they live and work. To support this each of our site leads has been allocated company money to use to donate to local charities preferably in the form of a “match” for amounts raised by our employees. As a result, we know we are supporting those causes that are important to our people.