Job title: HR director
Company name: Wliilam Jackson Food Group
Number of employees: 1,400
What's it like to work for your company? We operate with a devolved management structure, so the people in leadership roles in our businesses have a real sense of owning their strategy and having the genuine autonomy that allows them to shape the future of their business. At the same time, the sharing of experiences and best practice between our four food manufacturing businesses (Aunt Bessie's, Hazeldene, Parripak and Jackson's Bakery) is actively encouraged, so we aim to get the advantages of autonomy as well as collaboration and the sharing of good ideas.
What's the best thing about working there? The continuity in and sincerity of the values that comes from family ownership over five generations.
Does the company offer any unusual benefits? We run an Employee Support Programme that aims to help to people who face difficult circumstances. Because supporting children through higher education is nowadays quite a financial burden on families, we operate a University Award Scheme that gives financial support to the children of staff studying for degrees.
If the company were a car what would it be and why? I tend to favour Audis, so I'd have to say an Audi Quattro, as it's exciting to be in, is built to last and is wholly reliable in all weathers.
What's the training like? We fully support colleagues gaining professional qualifications and work in a variety of ways to develop general management and personal effectiveness skills. We are particularly pleased with a two-week residential management development programme we designed with Hull University Business School: it combines input from the academic staff with sessions involving our business leaders and our shareholders.
Has the company won any awards? A few years ago we won the JPMorgan Family Governance Award, while last year we won the FDF's silver Community Partnership Award in the Workplace Category.
What is the most important HR issue at the moment? We are planning pension arrangements to fit with the new statutory framework scheduled for implementation in 2012. In the post defined benefit scheme world, working out what meaningful yet affordable employer supported pension, death in service and long-term ill health provision might look like is not a simple task.
Are you working on anything exciting right now? All our businesses are working on exciting plans for 2010/11. These include Aunt Bessie's focus on NPD, Hazeldene's quest to be the UK's first-choice freshly prepared salad supplier, Parripak's ongoing mission to position its business for further growth and Jackson's Bakery's ambition to reach beyond current export markets.