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%.