Sustainability – People

People are at the heart of our success

At Design Group we employ over 4,000 people across four continents in a variety of roles and operations. We value the hard work of all our teams and recognise that Design Group would not be who we are without their talent and dedication; this is true more so than ever in the challenging last twelve months the world has faced. We understand the value and importance of creating an open, comfortable and progressive working environment and to continue to invest in the people who give us so much.

We strive to create a working environment where our employees feel supported and valued, with their achievements recognised and rewarded. The communities where our Group businesses are based, and where many of our team members call home, are important to us. We aim to give back in all of the communities where Design Group is present, continuously taking actions and promoting initiatives that create a positive impact.

Employee engagement, talent and skills

We want to create an engaged and motivated workforce who enjoy coming to work, whilst giving them the chance to enhance their skills to realise their full potential. We want to create a Group with a talented workforce capable of meeting our challenging business needs.

We employ a great team with the attitude and aptitude to succeed and deliver within an environment where progression and development is encouraged and facilitated. The Design Group Academy programme which runs in the UK and Europe is a prime example of this, and similarly in the US we run a tuition reimbursement programme designed to help employees further their education by attaining degree level qualifications.

Proposed KPIs

→ Employee turnover
→ Training opportunities
→ Employee engagement

Health, safety and wellbeing

We are committed to providing our employees with a safe and healthy working environment.

A key priority throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been the health of the individuals that make up Design Group and their families. In light of this, wellbeing has been a focal point for our teams around the globe, with a number of initiatives communicated throughout the year to promote a healthy lifestyle and positive working environment. In 2020, our UK division started a wellbeing initiative with a different wellbeing campaign for each month of the year. For example, ‘Time to Talk Day’ aimed to start conversations about mental health; to talk, listen, change lives and help end the stigma. Additionally, the ‘Fit for Feb’ campaign involved teams competing against each other in a steps challenge to encourage physical activity whilst the UK was in its third lockdown.

Proposed KPIs

→ Employee feedback
→ Incident reporting and rates

↑ Sarah Morris taking part in the UK Fit for Feb photo challenge

↑ Team Christmas charity evening raising money for MIND BLMK

↑ Presentation of a donation to Velindre Cancer Care Hospital

Diversity, equality and fairness

Our international culture promotes diversity, equality and fairness and in line with our Group values, we strive to treat everybody with dignity and respect.

At Design Group we recognise that having a diverse workforce enables us to innovate and make better decisions and helps us meet the needs of our employees, customers, communities and shareholders. We strive for a workplace that has integrity, has safe working conditions, is fair and inclusive and upholds the highest standards of human rights. The Group’s code of business conduct lays out our expectations in all these areas and every employee must sign up to this policy from the outset, as well as any supplier who represents the Group. Specifically, we aim to employ people who reflect the diverse nature of society and we value the contribution made by every colleague, irrespective of age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, race, colour, religion, ethnic origin or political belief and we make employment decisions on the basis of job-related skills, achievements and performance, using clearly defined and fair criteria.

We take human rights seriously and continuously strive to strengthen and protect the systems and management in this area. The Modern Slavery Act came into force in 2015 and we have taken steps to promote and improve our commitment to removing abuse and exploitation in the workplace. The Group is also an active SEDEX member in all major territories in which we operate, and we operate a Group-wide multi-lingual whistleblowing hotline with access for all our employees via the telephone as well as online reporting and during 2021 there have been no reports of human rights violations in our operations via this or any other reporting mechanism.

Proposed KPIs

→ Gender diversity

Giving back to our communities

In line with one of our key values, we endeavour to be good citizens and aspire to give back to the communities around us with the aim of building a more considerate and sustainable business.

In every region we have had another year of giving back to our local communities and charities around us.

The US have donated sample boxes to a number of not-for-profit organisations in our local communities such as the Girl Scout groups and Berwick police department who ran a ‘Trunk or Treat’ competition at Halloween.

For the third consecutive year, Tom Smith and the UK business have supported the Trussell Trust, a charity focused on ending the country’s hunger and poverty crisis. The charity supports a nationwide network of food banks and provides emergency food to those in poverty whilst campaigning for change to end the need for food banks in the UK. For every sale of any cracker in our 2021 Tom Smith Cracker range, a charitable donation is made to the Trussell Trust, with £32,000 donated this year.

Acknowledging the nature of our products, we have also invested time and money in tree planting initiatives to help offset the impact of our business activities on our carbon footprint, the environment and native wildlife in the regions in which we have an impact.

Proposed KPIs

→ Cash, product and employee time donated