/Employer Branding – West Wales company leading the way

Employer Branding – West Wales company leading the way

While employer branding success is often associated with big-name companies in London, Kidwelly-based Burns Pet Nutrition has quietly earned a reputation as one of the top companies to work for in Wales thanks to their unique combination of benefits, flexi-time and employee development programmes.

The family run pet food manufacturer already boasts a great reputation for it’s pet nutrition, however in recent years the brand is also making a name for itself as a leading employer thanks to its impressive staff rewards package aimed at boosting employees’ wellbeing, morale and work satisfaction.

This West-Wales SME provides a perfect example of how employer branding can drive talent attraction and retention.

The employee benefits package

The company boasts a huge range of enviable employee perks for its workforce.  Benefits include:

  • a 10% annual pension contribution
  • a daily three-course lunch for just £1
  • performance-related bonuses
  • free on-site kennels
  • 28 days of annual leave (plus bank holidays) and
  • a company car after two years’ service.

In addition, each staff member is also entitled to one half-day of flexi-time per month and every year, the firm invests around a quarter of its annual profits back into its 125 staff,

Learning and Development

As well as day to day perks, employees are actively encouraged to enrol on new courses and take on job-related training.

Spencer Chilvers, IT Co-ordinator at Burns has worked for the firm for 6 years and recently completed a Train the Trainer course allowing him to run workshops with staff on various IT packages.

Many employees are also given the opportunity to attend leading trade shows and events such as Crufts and the NAVC (North American Veterinary Conference) Conference in Orlando – the world’s largest veterinary event.

Each year, around ten staff head to the renowned international conference, attending lectures from world experts in animal health on the latest developments within the sector. During their downtime, they are free to explore the area, with the time away not taken from their annual leave, and food, accommodation and travel costs all covered by the company.

Wellbeing and CSR

Staff are also given the opportunity to participate in various health and fitness challenges throughout the year to raise money for charity. These include the Cardiff Half-Marathon, Ironman and Cymru Travel Challenge. In these instances, the costs are covered by the company with participation and fundraising encouraged.

The company’s founder, John Burns, believes that a happy workforce equates to a healthier, more engaged and productive team, and says the perks have had a big impact on staff retention and attraction.

John said:

“Offering a good benefits package has a number of paybacks for both employers and employees, enabling companies to attract and retain strong talent, while helping staff to feel valued and boosting their wellbeing and motivation. This has a direct impact on productivity and business success.”

Certainly, employees are keen to enthuse about working for Burns.  Chris Morris, Production Manager at Burns Pet Nutrition, has worked for the family-run firm for 16 years. Commenting on his experience, Chris said:

“Having worked for the company for almost 17 years, initially being employed as a warehouse operative, Burns has offered me plenty of opportunities throughout my career, along with a platform to improve my knowledge and experience in developing into the role I fulfil today. “

Talent Retention

In 2014, Burns became the first pet industry company in the UK to become an accredited Living Wage Employer, implementing this rate as soon as it was announced.  All staff earn a minimum of £8.75 per hour with the majority earning in excess of this.

Thanks to the company’s heavy investment in its staff’s skills and wellbeing, the company boasts an impressive retention rate with almost a third of all employees having worked at the company for more than five years, and 10% having worked at the firm for more than 10 years.

Talent attraction & PR

Obviously, unusual perks like on-site free kennels are an easy-win for the company’s PR, however as more employers look to drive talent attraction  through their employer branding  strategy, the overall package is proving a real winner for the company.

Demand for work at the Welsh firm has skyrocketed, with the company’s ‘careers’ page on its website receiving an average of more than 500 hits a month. The company’s HR assistant regularly gets stopped while shopping and receives messages on social media in the hope of being considered for vacancies at the firm.

The company also receives CVs through the letterbox on a daily basis, however John Burns believes it is more than the perks which attract candidates and make Burns a desirable employer.  John says:

“We pride ourselves on being an ethical, transparent company that puts the health and well-being of both pets, and our staff, at the centre of our philosophy and approach to business. Staff at Burns are motivated and enthusiastic about working for a firm that has such strong values and morals.”

To learn more, visit www.burnspet.co.uk.

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.