To be the preferred employer for the very best people in our sector by providing an entrepreneurial environment that offers opportunities for our people to develop and thrive.
To attract, retain and grow a talented workforce, providing equal opportunities for all, whilst nurturing a sense of pride in being part of Vitec.
Our employees are the best in the sector, our greatest single asset and critical to our success. Passionate, motivated and skilled employees in safe working environments directly contribute to our strategy, performance and reputation.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 during 2020, we have been able to continue with our employee engagement initiatives. Notably, we undertook an all employee survey focused on the Company’s response to the pandemic and we carried out an employee review in our Creative Solutions Division for the first time. The Board and I remain clear that Vitec remains a great place to work and that our people are our greatest asset.
Caroline Thomson, Non-Executive Director
In response to the 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code, the Board considered how best to handle Code Provision 5 – dealing with the Board’s engagement mechanism with the wider workforce at Vitec. It was agreed that this was best achieved by the Board designating one of the existing Non-Executive Directors to cover this role. Given her wide industry experience, notably at the BBC, and also her role as Chair of the Remuneration Committee, the Board considered that Caroline Thomson was best suited to fulfil this important role.
2020 was the second full year of this arrangement. Due to the pandemic we had to structure employee engagement so that remote sessions were held with no face-to-face meetings or site visits organised. Working with Jon Bolton, the Group Company Secretary and Group HR Director, and the Creative Solutions HR Vice President, a series of meetings were held remotely with employees at several Creative Solutions sites. The sessions covered employee engagement, including how the Company had responded to the pandemic and ensured the safety and wellbeing of employees, working conditions, remuneration and benefits, work-life balance, communications, and development and training.
In December 2020, several video conference sessions were held with over 30 Creative Solutions employees and Caroline Thomson, covering the Creative Solutions sites at Irvine, Cary and Dallas in the US, and Ra’anana, Israel. Originally, it was intended that these meetings would be held face-to-face in June 2020, however, this was not possible due to the pandemic. Caroline had a preliminary meeting with Nicol Verheem, Creative Solutions Divisional CEO, and Efrat Birav, Creative Solutions HR Vice President, to hear about HR initiatives and working practices, particularly to bring the separate business units of Teradek, SmallHD, Wooden Camera and Amimon under one Divisional structure. The update covered business progress, remuneration and benefits across the Division, engagement, working conditions, health and safety, longevity of service, CSR initiatives and engagement with all employees.
Feedback from the sessions was gathered on a no names basis to give comfort to employees that they could give open views on working within Creative Solutions. Key feedback noted that employees felt that they had been well looked after during the pandemic and that the Company had taken the right steps to ensure their safety and wellbeing both on sites and working from home. Communication had been good, regular and clear. Good progress on creating a cohesive divisional structure was being made across each of the business units with further work remaining to be done. Finally, further work around employees, talent and development, including a better understanding of remuneration decisions, was needed in 2021. This feedback has been shared with Divisional management to develop HR initiatives and address any employee concerns going forward. Caroline Thomson reported back to the Board on the key issues coming out of the employee engagement session for Creative Solutions at the December 2020 Board meeting.
In May 2020 we conducted an all employee survey to help gather direct feedback from employees on how the Company was responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey focused on three key questions – (1) Do you feel that Vitec is responding appropriately to the COVID-19 crisis? (2) Do you feel the Company is communicating enough with you? (3) Is there anything that you would like the Company to think about or do differently in connection with the crisis? 1,364 employees out of 1,600 participated in the survey, representing 85% of the Group’s workforce. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive demonstrating that our employees are highly engaged and very supportive of the Group; 99% of employees believe the Company was doing the right things and 96% believe that the Company was communicating well. Comments focused on when offices/facilities would reopen, ensuring safe working practices in response to the pandemic, support to employees given the need for remote working, smart working arrangements and ongoing communications. As a consequence of the survey, the Board and executive management team were assured that the Company’s response and level of communication was appropriate, and that the trust of our people had been maintained during this unprecedented period. Management continued to ensure a regular flow of communication to all employees and that safe working practices were being adhered to, with many employees working remotely from home where possible.
In 2021, subject to restrictions, we plan to recommence site visits and face-to-face meetings with employees. While video conference meetings are satisfactory, it is simply not as good as physically visiting sites and meeting our employees in person. We aim to revisit Production Solutions and Imaging Solutions employees, who were last seen by a Board member in 2019, and to cover our European Services employees for the first time. We will continue to report annually on this important initiative to demonstrate the importance of our employees to our wider stakeholders.
Additional Divisional activities in 2020
We aim to provide our employees with an engaging and stimulating entrepreneurial environment where they are encouraged to learn and develop. We communicate with our employees on a regular basis using multiple channels, keeping them informed of business performance at a Group and Divisional level. In 2020 we increased the amount of engagement with our employees in response to COVID-19. This was to give assurance to our people and to retain their trust through this most challenging of years. During 2020 employees received regular updates on the business, performance and measures to deal with the pandemic from the Group Chief Executive. These took the form of all-employee emails, and videos. Employees also received regular all-hands updates on performance and business issues from Divisional senior management.
More informal communications also take place. Breakfast with the Divisional CEO is an informal opportunity for employees in our Imaging Solutions Division to exchange ideas and opinions on business strategies and takes place globally. While we had to suspend this in early 2020 due to COVID-19, we are planning to reintroduce these events virtually. Welcome meetings take place at the Imaging Solutions’ sites quarterly to introduce new colleagues to the business in an informal way and we have adapted this in 2020 using technology to allow such meetings virtually. In the Production Solutions Division, The View is a quarterly publication sent to all employees updating them on business activities, product launches, employee initiatives and introducing colleagues. On Air is a local publication to employees in the Bury St Edmunds, UK office which lets them know about local events and updates on operations at that site. All-hands meetings take place at all our sites, allowing employees to hear regularly from management on progress for the business and in 2020 particularly to stay in touch with large numbers of employees working remotely.
Health and well being
Vitec understands the importance of healthy and nurturing working environments for our staff. 2020 has provided the greatest challenge to this and we have had to adapt to the impact of COVID-19. As part of ensuring the wellbeing of all our employees during this most difficult period, in 2020 we introduced an all-employee assistance programme in conjunction with ICAS. This service provides free and confidential support to all our employees and their families on a range of matters including counselling for emotional and psychological support, practical guidance and support on legal, financial, family and work matters and online health and wellbeing guidance. This service has been rolled out to every employee and translated into the local languages used in the Group.
In addition to the wellness programme we offer our employees in many territories several levels of healthcare cover for employees and their families. In the UK this is provided as a non-contributory taxable benefit through AXA Health. UK employees who do not join this healthcare arrangement can join an alternative arrangement provided by Healthshield. In the US, our employees are offered healthcare cover through several providers including Cigna and Kaiser, with employees able to select the level of healthcare cover they want.
While the pandemic has curtailed the opportunity to hold face-to-face meetings and events in 2020 we have looked for ways to ensure that our people are engaged, motivated and looked after. At our manufacturing sites we have provided meals to employees in staff canteens enabling employees to get a healthy meal and avoid the need to travel and expose themselves to risks. Meals have either been subsidised or provided for free.
Several of our sites including Bury St Edmunds, UK and Cartago, Costa Rica, offered flu jab clinics during the year with over 140 employees taking up the offer of flu jabs.
Health and safety
An important part of our culture is to ensure that all our employees are able to work in a safe and secure environment and we encourage our management and employees to actively take responsibility for this. 2020 has added an additional complication with the business having to deal with the impact of COVID-19. From the outset of the pandemic we have implemented stringent safe-working practices at all our sites around the world following local government guidance and ensuring a minimum Group-wide standard. At the start of the pandemic, many of our sites were closed for a period of time with employees either working from home, placed on furlough or similar arrangements. As permitted, we have reopened our sites, especially the manufacturing sites of Bury St Edmunds, Feltre, Cartago, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Irvine, Cary and Stroud, ensuring that only those employees necessary have been on site and that strict safe-working practices are adhered to. This has included social distancing measures, wearing of masks, ensuring that employees regularly wash hands, providing tests if required, ensuring that travel to and from work is by safe means, regular cleaning of facilities and also ensuring that the workflow around sites ensures social distancing. Where employees have been able to work from home, we have provided appropriate equipment to enable them to ergonomically continue to work during this challenging period. Each site has prepared risk assessments to mitigate the risks around COVID-19 and practices have evolved as the pandemic has progressed.
We have actively recorded where employees have been infected or have had to self-isolate and provided support where possible. We have tracked health and safety performance throughout the pandemic to ensure that issues are identified early, that employees feel safe and that best practice is shared across the Group.
We have a Health and Safety policy that is available here. This policy sets guidelines for the prevention of accidents and work-related ill health and provides guidance for the adequate control of health and safety risks arising from work-related accidents. We expanded the policy in 2020 to reflect the reality of dealing with COVID-19. The policy is communicated to site management and employees. Our objective is to eliminate all accidents on site and while we achieved this for accidents resulting in over three days’ absence in 2020, we still experienced accidents resulting in less than three days absence.
All accidents and near misses are reported, whether they result in absence from work or not. Any remedial actions are identified and implemented to prevent repeat occurrences. Reporting is prompt and any accident resulting in over three days’ absence is reported to senior management as well as the Group Chief Executive within 24 hours. Every month the health and safety performance of each Division is reviewed with the Divisional Health and Safety representatives, Group Risk Assurance Manager and Group Company Secretary to review accidents or near misses, corrective measures and to ensure that best practices and lessons learned are shared across the Group. Health and safety performance is regularly reviewed with the Executive Management Board and at every Board meeting.
Our five-year accident record is shown below and details the number of accidents resulting in over three days’ absence from work across the Group. There were no such accidents in 2020 compared to two in 2019. There were, however, 43 accidents resulting in under three days’ absence and 109 recorded near misses. Each one of these events has been investigated and remedial actions taken. There have been no work-related fatalities since the Group began collating health and safety statistics in 2002.
Accident Record Chart
|0 accidents||2 accidents||2 accidents||7 accidents||4 accidents|
|Representing 117 accidents per 100,000 employees||Representing 117 accidents per 100,000 employees||Representing 116 accidents per 100,000 employees||Representing 418 accidents per 100,000 employees||Representing 239 accidents per 100,000 employees|
|Average number of employees – 1,569||Average number of employees – 1,714||Average number of employees – 1,723||Average number of employees – 1,675||Average number of employees – 1,676|
All major sites have Health and Safety Committees who hold regular meetings to review safety, ensure that operating practices are safe and address potential safety concerns. Our structure for health and safety management across the Group is as follows:
The Production Solutions’ sites in Cartago, Costa Rica, and Bury St Edmunds, UK, as well as the Imaging Solutions’ sites in Bassano and Feltre, Italy, were certificated with the standard UNI EN ISO 45001. This means that over 700 employees (44%) of the Group are covered by accreditation on health and safety. This management system audit helps in building a framework to manage health and safety impacts and in meeting legal compliance.
To protect employees’ health and to reduce the risk of transmission within the Production Solutions Division, consistent standards that met or exceeded local standards were implemented globally during 2020. These included social distancing measures, increased sanitising and hygiene provision, maximum attendance on site for those unable to work from home and additional employee training and guidance for all working situations. These were audited by the Division’s occupational health service provider and BSI Auditor. These measures ensured good business continuity within Production Solutions.
The Imaging Solutions Division also gave the highest priority to the health and safety of employees, implementing several actions to prevent and protect during the pandemic.
These included: dividing workers into shifts to ensure social distancing and use of smart working; continuous training on new safety standards in operation at sites; body temperature measurement upon entrance to premises; distribution of masks and sanitising products to employees on site; ban of visits from customers and suppliers to our premises; weekly site sanitisation; serological tests and rapid swab tests performed in a screening mode every few weeks. All canteens and offices were equipped with plexiglass separators and safe virtual communication, and safety check lists were applied in all our offices worldwide, also according to local legislation.
During 2020, we continued to train our people on safe working practices relevant to their roles and also expanded this to cover safe working practices on our sites in response to COVID-19 and ensure that our employees working from home did so in a safe manner. All employees received training on COVID-19 safety measures during 2020. Notably, training material focused on social distancing, need to wear masks, regular hand washing and to ensuring employees are sitting properly at their desks with adequate lighting and taking regular breaks to ensure their wellbeing while working from home.
We offer the Sharesave Scheme to all our employees in the UK, US, Italy, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. Sharesave allows employees to save a fixed monthly amount up to £350 with the option to purchase a fixed number of shares in the Company at a discount of up to 20% on the prevailing share price at the time of the offer. Sharesave is extremely popular among our employees as a valuable employee benefit and we have specifically improved communication of Sharesave to employees to ensure it is well understood and that as many employees as possible participate in the scheme. This has included face-to-face presentations at sites and eye-catching communications. In 2020, given the challenges presented by COVID-19 with many employees working from home and social distancing on sites, we used a microsite on the Company’s website to make the offer to employees with a short explanatory video and supporting materials. Communications use plain language to explain Sharesave and are translated into local languages. As a consequence, participation rates have continued to improve and by the end of 2020 over 1,000 Group employees participated in Sharesave.
|Level of Sharesave participation as at 31 December 2020|
|Number of participants
We plan to offer Sharesave in future years to enable as many of our employees as possible to share in the success of the Company. With this in mind we obtained shareholder approval at the 2020 AGM to renew the Sharesave scheme for a further ten years.
The launch of Sharesave has become an annual tradition in Ashby that is genuinely looked forward to. The microsite set up to promote the scheme this year was positively received, especially by those new to the process.
Annette Grigg, HR Business Partner UK & DE, Vitec Imaging Solutions, UK
Diversity and inclusion
We strive to employ a diverse workforce and foster an equal opportunities culture, and our Code of Conduct sets out an express prohibition on discrimination of any kind. Our approach to diversity follows a strict policy of sourcing the best person for the role irrespective of race, gender, age, religion, sexual preference or disability. Flexible working policies are in place across our three Divisions and open to all employees. This is usually granted, unless the needs of the business cannot otherwise be met. It is Vitec’s policy that applications for employment by disabled persons are always fully considered, bearing in mind the respective aptitudes and abilities of the applicant concerned. In the event of employees becoming disabled, all reasonable effort is made to ensure that their employment within the Group continues. It is our policy that the training, career development and promotion of disabled persons should be, as far as possible, identical to that of all other employees. Our Diversity and Inclusion Policy is available here.
Employee turnover by Division
The table shows employee turnover in 2020, reflecting employees who had resigned from their employment within the Group.
|Group / Head Office||0.0%|
|Average across the whole Group||3.6%|
The Board continues to monitor progress on equality and the Group’s gender breakdown at the end of 2020, with 2019 as a comparison, is shown below. The Company works to attract women to Vitec and to encourage them to apply for promotions.
|Group Board of Directors(1)||6||86%||1||14%||6||86%||1||14%|
|Executive Management Board(2)||6||86%||1||14%||6||86%||1||14%|
|Rest of Organisation||1,041||70%||446||30%||1,089||69%||484||31%|
We employ around 1,600 employees in 11 countries who work in accordance with local employment legislation, policies and our organisational values.
# Contractors are excluded.
(1) Group Board of Directors are those listed on pages 54 to 55 of the Annual Report.
(2) The Executive Management Board are those listed on page 60 of the Annual Report and includes the Group CEO and Group Finance Director.
(3) The Senior Management Team are the senior most employees or teams within each Division and Group head office.
We employ around 1,600 people in 11 countries who are managed in accordance with local employment legislation, policies and our organisational values. The Group adopts and adapts comprehensive benefits packages as appropriate to ensure we attract and retain the right talent. These benefits assist in supporting our employees and allow us to remain competitive in a global market where talent is in short supply. A supplementary labour agreement was negotiated during 2020 for Italian employees with the aim of keeping pace with the latest ways of working in the new digital era, especially making employees feel part of the Company and ensuring the right work-life balance.
Employees are given the option to join pension plans appropriate to local markets. In the UK, this involves a Company-approved pension plan with minimum employer and employee contributions (currently 8% Employer and 4% Employee), and in the US a 401k plan. Since April 2014 in the UK, all employees except for those who have expressly opted out, are auto-enrolled into a qualifying pension plan.
Our UK defined contribution pension arrangement is with Hargreaves Lansdown and we are committed to improving employee education on pensions and other financial matters and to improve the overall pensions offering. Hargreaves Lansdown ran several workshops online in 2020 due to the pandemic with focus on the investment decision-making taken by employees and expectations around retirement. We have seen higher levels of engagement and investment decision-making by employees. Over 340 employees in the UK now participate in the Hargreaves Lansdown pension arrangement and investment in the default fund represents 60% of investments held, showing that many employees are taking active control of their investment decisions. Further educational workshops will be held in 2021 to help educate our UK employees on this important employee benefit.
Vitec is supportive of employees enjoying a healthy work-life balance. Flexible working policies are in place across our businesses, and a positive impact can be seen. Examples of flexible working policies above statutory requirements include: smartworking, part time working for parents with young children, optional maternity leave and flexible hours working.
Each Division provides further benefits for employees: discounted childcare options and gym memberships in the UK, Italy and US; long service awards; or a cash allowance to be spent on a multitude of benefits such as gym membership or private healthcare to suit an individual’s needs in Italy.
In Italy where we employ over 450 employees, the supplementary labour agreement was extended for 2021. The agreement focuses on employee benefits including flexible working, childcare and bonus arrangements.
Many of our sites including Feltre, Bassano, Bury St Edmunds, Irvine and Costa Rica either have on-site canteens providing good, healthy meals or organise for meals to be brought on site. Such arrangements are subsidised for employees.
Our employees are entitled to freedom of association and trade unions operate at our sites in Cassola and Feltre, Italy, and Bury St Edmunds, UK.
We offer our employees maternity and paternity leave above statutory requirements and we operate flexible policies to help our employees with dependants’ care needs and special leave if necessary to deal with exceptional personal circumstances.
Training and development
Vitec aims to offer a comprehensive training and development programme, linked to performance reviews and development plans, taking all Divisional requirements into consideration. In 2020 the Board reviewed leadership and succession plans across each of the Group’s Divisions to ensure there was a structured approach to growing and developing the Company’s future leaders.
All employees receive training on health and safety procedures that are appropriate to their line of work and environment. For example, training in warehouse operations, working at heights, fire safety or more general initiatives to make employees aware of the dangers that can be encountered in the execution of their various duties.
We continually review and expand training options for staff. In 2020, the Imaging Solutions Division initiated several training courses including a new appraisal system and also a specific course for non-Italian employees across the Division to learn to speak and read Italian.
In 2020, given the increasing risk around cyber security and the ever present need to ensure that data is securely handled, we ran an online training programme for our employees around the need for vigilance on cyber security and the issue of data protection. Approximately 800 employees have completed this training and we will continue to build on awareness and knowledge. This has been increasingly important in 2020 with a large number of our employees having to work remotely as part of the response to COVID-19.
We encourage a culture of active participation in the communities in which we operate and staff around the world give their time and money to various social programmes in their local communities. Our HR policies provide the opportunity for employees to take time off from work to dedicate time to support social programmes and charities in their local communities. In response to the pandemic, Imaging Solutions had 15 employees based in Cassola, Italy, volunteer for worthwhile causes around the world, sharing their skills and knowledge.
Diversity and culture
We promote a diverse workforce and culture of inclusivity. Our Code of Conduct expressly prohibits any form of discrimination. Our Diversity and Inclusivity Policy is available here.