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Telford’s Northwood looking to maintain strong support for team and community


More apprentices, additional benefits and a continued focus on well-being are among the plans a major Telford employer has vowed to maintain as part of its recruitment strategy.

Northwood Hygiene Products – manufacturer and supplier of away-from-home (AfH) and consumer paper hygiene and wiping products – employs more than 175 people at its Telford base, an 89 per cent increase from where it was in 2017.

And both HR and marketing bosses at the company say the business, which had 5000 applications for roles over 12 months, is now keen to bang the drum on recruitment.

“We are trying to get our name out there from a recruitment perspective,” said marketing boss Paul Mulready. “The more we can improve our employer branding and raise awareness the better. The business is continually growing and this year is no different.”

Among the highlights of the last 12 months was the launch of a new portal, designed to empower employees, prioritise their safety, and boost engagement across the organisation.

The ‘MyNorthwood’ portal was designed to bring a host of benefits, including resources to promote physical and mental, social and financial wellbeing, benefits to enhance work-life balance and satisfaction and a communication hub that provides real-time updates, news, and events to keep employees informed and engaged in the company’s mission.

Among the benefits which the business believes can help it stand out from the crowd are salary sacrifice, cycle to work, technology and referral schemes, where staff can receive £400 for referring a new member of staff.

There is also access to up to £500 through an early access to pay scheme while the business has also pushed its sustainability message which, they say, is vital.

Dawn Roberts, human resources director at Northwood, said: “We have done a lot of work around our recruitment and employee engagement strategy.

“New employees are really interested in our ESG and ask questions. They like to know what happens, for example, with waste and where it goes in our story.

“They want to know they are working for a responsible company.

“As a potential employee you want to have confidence that you are working with an employer with an environmental story to tell.

“Staff well-being is very much, the company says, a key part of its support for its team.

“We have a strong commitment to supporting mental health,” Dawn added. “We have a strategy for that, including steering groups and a well-being calendar.

“We have half a dozen mental health first aiders on site and regular one to ones. We encourage colleagues to talk openly about mental health.

“There’s also a network for mental health first aiders to support one another and share best practice and understanding.

“Promoting work-life balance is important so we have always had a flexible working policy.”

“We are also spending more time developing our managers so they can understand more about mental health and support colleagues.

“We signed the menopause pledge last year, hold monthly affinity group meetings and did a webinar on that.”

She added: “All these things are important as we further develop  develop our attraction and recruitment strategy.

“We are also keen to bring apprentices into production operative and engineering roles, moving forward this year.

“It takes a while to learn the workings of machinery here.

“You need to be skilled to have an understanding of how the machines operate, understanding the whole process and set-up. And so the more we can grow our own talent the better.”

She added: “We are also looking to further upskill and develop our leaders and want them to create trust with colleagues, understand motivation and what makes employees tick and to be able to deal with conflict promptly.

“We want to help them to develop skills to enable them to support employee experience and ensure it remains a great place to work.”

A Living Wage Employer – Northwood employs every apprentice on Living Wage rates of pay from day one – the company has also pledged to continue its work in the community heading into 2024.

Among highlights last year was Trees for Cities, where the company pledged to donate one tree for every ‘contract’ received for its North Shore and Raphael products.

The company’s target at the start of the year was for 500 trees but it ended the year with more than 1,000.

Northwood has also backed Meals and More, which aims to provide support to children who live in poverty and face social isolation, with limited access to adequate food provision and activities, throughout the school holidays.

The business has also continued its support of Severn Hospice with fundraising events including supporting the annual Dragon Boat Race and recently completed a Toy Appeal at the Telford site in support of Oxfam.

Northwood also continues to support local foodbanks with regular donations of toilet roll products and sponsors football teams.

Mr Mulready added: “We try and engage as much as we can with the local community and it’s important we continue to do this and get our brand name out there as much as we can.

“We are working hard on both a local and national level. We have rolled out sponsorship for sports clubs as well as taking part in events. We are keen to be proactive but it’s not just about engagement but also about what is the right thing to do. We have to help out as best we can and it’s something we will continue to do.”

Source: Shropshire Star



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