Job title: Owner /MD
Company: Cleone Foods Ltd (Island Delight Patties)
Sales: Turnover £2.5m
HQ: Hockley, Birmingham
Number of employees: 48

What’s it like to work for your company? I think our employees enjoy an excellent experience while working here. We are still small enough to maintain a family atmosphere but as our client base includes the major supermarkets we can give them the experience of working with some of the biggest companies in the country.

Why is it a good employer? We like to think of ourselves as a staff and family-friendly company. We are proud to have a dedicated HR manager, which is unusual in a company of our size, but enables us to maintain the ability and flexibility to accommodate the needs of our workforce as far as we can. Also, we always try to develop our people many of our supervisors and managers have started at the lower grades within the company and worked their way up.

What’s the best thing about working there? I would hope the staff would say it is the wide range of people they get to meet and learn about. I like to think we provide a good example of how different cultures can live and work together. Our high staff diversity means, for example, that we can enable operational cover so that the Muslim staff can get their time off for Eid and Ramadan, while they in turn cover during Christmas and Easter. 

Does the company offer any unusual benefits? Apart from getting to eat lots of patties?! We take part in many external events such as major trade shows, festivals and the Notting Hill Carnival. The opportunity to work at these events is offered to all employees and we make sure we have enough cover that they can get away for a few hours and enjoy the event itself while they are there.

How does the company differ from its rivals? Too many companies these days are all about the bottom line and nothing else, if you give a little more thought you can still achieve good business performance without sacrificing the care and support you can offer your staff and the wider community.

Is there a definable company culture? The company culture is mostly “paternalistic”. I like to espouse family values and caring with my employees through regular training and social events. I am a great believer in allowing individuals to make the most of their talents, so if they want to go on a course, it’s my duty to make it so. 

What’s the training like? We have a wide ranging training programme, staring with basic literacy and numeracy courses, moving up through all grades of NVQ to specialist professional qualifications in areas such as health and safety, accountancy, food technology and IT.

Has the company won any awards or been recognised in the last few years as an employer? The company has won may awards, the most prestigious being the Business in the Community Small Company of the Year award in 2009, which was reaccredited in 2010 and 2011, a big part of which was due to our employee training and support policies. Another award of which I am particularly proud of was our Employer Star training award from Birmingham Metropolitan College in 2010.

What’s your proudest achievement over the past 12 months? Being recognised as Prince Charles’ BITC West Midlands Special Ambassador 2010-2011. In my role as the Special Ambassador, I visit organisations to offer my expertise and experiences as well as representing Business in the Community at key corporate events.

Are you, or is the company, working on anything exciting right now you can tell us about? We are working on a new flaky pastry range of patties as well as introducing a Caribbean line of soups and pasta meals. Although at an early stage, we envisage these fantastic flavours will hit shelves during spring 2012 ready for the Olympics.

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