Pet food production organisation Burns Pet Nutrition is based in Kidwelly, Wales, and is home to approximately 125 members of staff. These employees are spread across various roles, both within the core production business and in the organisation’s other ventures, which include a farm café and shop, market gardens and a dedicated team focusing on community activities.
Almost a third of these employees have been with the organisation for more than five years and 10% have stayed for more than a decade, according to length of service reports generated in September 2018. In addition, Burns Pet Nutrition receives an average of 500 hits on its website’s career page each month, showing clear success when it comes to both retention and recruitment.
John Burns, founder at Burns Pet Nutrition, says: “People who don’t work for the [organisation] often stop me and say: ‘I hear you’re great to work for’. The fact that the message is getting out there suggests that [employees] are appreciative of the fact that they work here.”
Staff are provided, among other things, with a 10% annual pension contribution, a subsidised daily lunch for which they pay £1, performance-related bonuses, free on-site kennels, 28 days’ annual leave and a company car after two years’ service. The organisation also allows for one hour of flexible time per week, which employees can accrue to take an afternoon off once a month. Burns Pet Nutrition also became an accredited living wage employer in 2014.
“In general, I want to keep people happy working with [Burns Pet Nutrition] so they stay longer,” Burns says. “But it’s also about sharing the benefits of working here. To a large extent, I’m trying to share around the benefits of the success of the business.”
While employees highly value the benefits that help them financially, annual leave and flexible hours are also particularly popular, explains Burns.
Burns Pet Nutrition also aims to foster pride and satisfaction among its employees, as well as give back to the community through its charitable works. In 2015, Burns decided to convert the Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation, which had been present for 10 years, into a community interest organisation.
Employees can take part in events, such as marathons, for which Burns Pet Nutrition covers the costs. However, the organisation also runs its own initiatives, including activities for disadvantaged groups hosted at its market gardens, in its disability accessible poly-tunnel and in woodlands owned by the business.
“I want to see people feeling that they’re proud of working for the [organisation] and [for them to] put that bit extra in, in terms of the activities we’re engaged in,” Burns concludes.