Earlier this month we had a chance to speak with Lisa Yensen, HR Business Partner at John West Foods. Despite its size, John West is a very people-focused organisation, valuing employee wellbeing and engagement, understanding the vital role each employee plays in the success of the business. We asked Lisa a few questions about how they manage wellbeing and engagement throughout the company.
Tell me a bit about John West and your role within the business.
John West has been operating since 1857 and currently has offices in Liverpool in UK, Netherlands and Ireland. It was acquired by Thai Union Group in 2010. Our vision is to be the world’s most trusted seafood leader, caring for our resources to nurture generations to come. My role is HR Business Partner. Based out of our fantastic offices in Liverpool I support the John West business along with the rest of the HR team.
John West appears to be a people-focused business. Can you share how you have achieved this?
The very fact that John West Foods invests so heavily in its people is one of the main reasons that I joined this business. Although John West is a huge brand the size of the business means that everyone is really aware of the part they play in our success and there is real opportunity to influence the way things are done. The John West “Crew” have a voice throughout the business through the numerous committees they can be part of, employee wellbeing and involvement is of massive importance as is playing an active role in our communities through supporting local charities and volunteering activities.
Can you describe some ways in which you have helped improve employee engagement at John West?
At John West and across Thai Union employee engagement is regularly reviewed at both a local and global level. We conduct engagement surveys and undertake local action planning across all our geographies, ensuring that the actions are relevant by country, or even by local team. Feedback from the Crew is regularly acted upon; and our Employee Engagement Committee has been instrumental in helping the overall business drive this engagement. One of their recent successes has been the introduction of John West cheques. Each Crew member has ten £5 vouchers that they can give to any other Crew member if they feel they have demonstrated our values.
Could you tell us some simple ways that any business can help improve their workplace wellbeing?
Engagement and wellbeing go hand in hand, and at John West this is something I think we do really well. We look at balancing both physical and mental wellbeing and have acted upon the feedback of our Crew in improving our workplace wellbeing. Healthy eating is encouraged by offering fresh fruit and access to John West products and we offer regular health-checks for everyone. We love a challenge at John West so in teams we entered the Virgin Pulse challenge which encouraged activity and the development of healthy habits. A number of the Crew have also been involved in the Great Swim events, the Liverpool Spring 10k, the Gaelforce 10k Trilogy in Ireland all of which we sponsor. We also encourage people to take some time out on us; on a quarterly basis we arrange for massages and alternative therapies to be available on site. We continue to invest in our mental health champions and have recently added the need to look after our mental health as well as our physical health to our Health and Safety “golden rules”. We have many more plans in this area for 2020.
Do you have any other exciting wellbeing plans for 2020?
In 2020 we will build upon our successes in workplace wellbeing. Financial wellbeing is an area that we have started looking at this year and we are planning to do much more to support our Crew in this area too.
If you would like any further information on how you could improve the engagement and wellbeing in your business, please contact the HPC team today.
Gaining insight into how other businesses manage engagement and wellbeing is very valuable, allowing to take tips and techniques that will benefit your business and your employees. Please have a look at some past articles/features on wellbeing from our friends at: