At Dairy Crest we are committed to providing a workplace that is safe, engaging, promotes diversity and offers employees the opportunity to grow and develop their skills

Safety First

We believe a strong commitment to Occupational Health and Safety contributes to excellent business performance. Achieved by engaging our people and constantly working to reduce risk, Dairy Crest has a track record of excellent progress in safety over a number of years.

By the end of March 2016, we had reduced our Lost Time Accident Frequency Rate, (calculated based upon number of lost time accidents in the context hours worked) including RIDDOR and over 3 day lost time accidents from 0.4 to 0.3. This shows progress against our challenging objective of a 50% reduction in Accident Incident Rate by 2018 against the 2013 baseline.

Encouraging employees to report near misses is key to achieving sustainable long term change in safety behaviour. Against our target of 100:1 ratio of near miss and behavioural conversation versus all types of accident by 2018, we achieved a ratio of 177, (2014/15: 114).

Another important way of engaging our teams is through our cultural change programme. We encourage employees to ‘Stop, Think, Assess, Review’ (STAR) and complete STAR cards where they see safety related conditions or actions. By discussing and addressing these issues, we have improved levels of dialogue, involvement and a safety-first culture.


Proactively supporting employees to look after their health has been an important aspect of our Occupational Health and Safety strategy for some time. Through our occupational health service, we provide all employees with the opportunity of a free wellbeing check. Since introducing this and including the mandatory health checks required for certain roles, over 1,500 health checks have been provided.

Wellbeing and Health and Safety days are run across all our locations. These provide staff with a range of interesting and informative ideas to improve safety at work and in the home, as well as advice on health matters. Always well attended and motivating, these events help to reinforce our messages around Health and Safety.

Engaging our Employees

Employees are happier and more productive when they are actively engaged in the business.

2015/16 has seen huge change for employees with the sale of the Dairies operations. Throughout this time, it has been essential to ensure communication to employees has been timely, accurate and delivered with sensitivity; We held regular ‘townhall’ events, published a dedicated website to include Questions and Answers raised, and sent regular staff updates via e-mail and newsletter. To further emphasise the importance of the sale of the Dairies business, 40% of the potential pay-out of all Management and Administrative bonuses (excluding Executive Directors which was set at 30%) were linked to the successful delivery of the sale. The combination of effective communication and targeted reward were crucial in maintaining engagement and business performance during this period of change.

Ongoing communication and engagement is supported by a weekly news round-up, regular business performance reports and our staff intranet.

Feeling valued is key to engagement and that is why we continue to provide all staff with the opportunity to be part of a bonus or incentive scheme which is linked to either personal, site and/or company performance.

To further recognise individuals and teams that ‘go the extra mile’ we have our Rewards & Recognition programme where staff can be nominated for Bronze and Silver awards that attract a monetary benefit. Silver award winners are selected by a committee of staff members to receive one of our three prestigious Gold awards. In 2015/16 399 Bronze/Silver awards were made. In addition, a team award is made to the group of employees who have delivered a great team outcome that contributes real value to the business. This year the award went to the team who developed and launched our successful new Clover with ‘No Artificial Ingredients’ product.

Investing in Learning

Our Talent function works across the business to ensure we offer the right development opportunities to the whole workforce and to help Managers develop talent and succession planning.

An assessment of talent is undertaken annually through our Talent Management Review process (TMR) where we review potential for progression and use this as the basis for our succession plans for senior roles. Due to the sale of the Dairies business, we did not undertake a formal talent development programme in 2015/16, however we plan to re-instigate this in 2016/17 and broaden succession planning to incorporate all key management roles – this latter commitment now forming part of our CR pledges.

With the ongoing shortage of food specialists and engineering skills in the food sector, Dairy Crest maintains investment in our technology and engineering apprenticeship schemes, launched in 2011 and 2012 respectively. As part of our relationship with Harper Adams University, the home of our new Innovation Centre, we offer food science placements in product and packaging innovation to undergraduates.

2015/16 has seen further progress in training at all levels. A focus on induction training has delivered improvements in the timeliness of this training. A programme of targeted training has seen our manufacturing compliance skills completion rise from 81% to 96%. Our investment in Demineralised Whey and GOS production at Davidstow has been supported by a wide range of learning events, covering technical operator training, product awareness and leadership/management development.

Retention of staff helps provide consistent levels of service as well as development of expertise and experience. With the change undertaken within the business we have seen an increase in staff turnover from 13% to 15.3% this year. This is recognised as higher than desired and we will be working even harder this year to understand employee views on how we make Dairy Crest an even better place to work. To this end, we will run a revitalised employee survey focussed on what is really important in improving retention. On a positive note, we were pleased to see absence levels fall from 3% to 2.6%.

Diversity and Inclusion

We believe that for people to be the most productive, they need to achieve an appropriate balance in their commitment to the workplace and their home life. Any employee should feel that they can be flexible in their ways of working, according to business needs. We wish to have a fully diverse work force because we recognise that people from different backgrounds, experiences and abilities bring fresh ideas and innovations that improve our business. Employees are encouraged to reach their full potential regardless of their age, gender, marital status (including civil partnerships), disability, nationality, colour, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. Dairy Crest does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on any of these grounds. To help us achieve our aims our polices include the right to apply for flexible working hours, a sabbatical, support with taking time off to study, and we provide maternity pay above the statutory minimum and full pay during paternity leave.

In the coming year, we will continue to focus upon driving diversity through effective recruitment and talent management strategies, increasing the number of female managers and supporting workers where their first language is not English.

Working with Trade Unions

Dairy Crest has good working relationships with the recognised unions, USDAW and Unite. We acknowledge the positive role trade unions can play in the development of our business. This year, we have worked together constructively as the Dairy Crest business has changed, most notably with the sale of the Dairies operations.