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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 creating “a better 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”.
  • Integrity - we 'do the right thing'. We are hard on the issue, fair on the person, and kind to the planet.
  • Action –this is about all our employees recognising and believing that ‘it is what we do that makes a difference'.
  • 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 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 “all-hands” site meetings as well as internal announcements. Charlie Peppiatt has visited all of the Group’s principal locations in his first four weeks with G&H and held face to face meetings with the site teams. Work councils or employee consultation groups, comprised of management and elected employee representatives now operate at all of the G&H UK sites where the management can listen to representatives’ views and take them into account when making decisions.

Jim Haynes has been appointed as G&H’s non-executive director with responsibility for the Board’s engagement with the workforce. During FY2022, he met with HR representatives at a number of sites, and now acts as a conduit for employees to raise matters directly with a Board member if they wish to do so.

If you want to discuss 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.

As part of our continuous improvement strategy all G&H UK sites have introduced a new on-boarding programme to provide additional support structures during an employee’s first six months with the business. This programme is being implemented across our US sites in FY2023.

The Group operates an online performance management and appraisal system which provides opportunity for individual discussions on training needs and career planning. This year the system has been updated and relaunched with our managers receiving further training on the setting of SMART objectives and how to complete an effective staff appraisal. The Group also operates a talent management and succession planning process which has now been updated and incorporated into our online appraisal system and 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 use an online learning platform through which a series of training programmes covering the areas of cyber security, export
legislation awareness and Global Data Protection Regulations are available.

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 quarterly reviews in the US and UK, which incorporate key performance indicators and mitigating action plans where necessary. This includes a recent initiative to increase the reporting of “near
misses” so that corrective action can be put in place to prevent future work place accidents occurring. Our health and safety data which we benchmark with other firms in our industry sectors confirms improving trends and best in class performance levels.

We understand the value of supporting employees through mental health challenges. We have trained in-house mental health first aiders and have continued our active partnering with the mental health charity MIND.

This is supported by regular refresher training 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 wellbeing.

In the UK we have launched a new health cash plan for our employees which provides financial reimbursement for costs associated with everyday healthcare and wellbeing solutions. This supplements the existing US health insurance schemes which G&H provides to its employees.

In a very competitive labour market we have tried hard to offer flexible working arrangements wherever possible as a means of attracting talent to the Group. Consequently, for many of our business support roles we offer 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 Group and have operated a long-service recognition scheme across the Group for several years. This is in addition to our employee recognition scheme which rewards employees for significant contribution to the business.

The average length of service across the Group is 8.3 years, compared to 7.9 last year.

The loss of key personnel is identified by the Board as a risk within its ongoing Business Risk Assessment process. Voluntary labour turnover was 10% across the Group in FY2022, compared to 12% in the 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 Group 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. Through the implementation of enhanced family-friendly policies, including flexible working policies we are enhancing our employment offering to our people. Our early year career Apprenticeship (UK) and Internship (US) programmes have been successful in drawing more talent in to
the Group.

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 are 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 83% male (5 of 6) (83% including the Directors (10 of 12)). The Group is in the process of recruiting another female non-executive director to provide further diversity in the composition of our Board.

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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.