Business

'Local' is in the DNA at Henderson Group

Henderson Group HR director Sam Davidson

FOR Mallusk-based retail and wholesale company Henderson Group, which has a proud family heritage spanning 120 years, 'local' is in the DNA.

And group HR director Sam Davidson says this focus on local drives success throughout the company and all associated with Henderson - from employees to suppliers and communities.

“The group has just announced its financial results from 2016, which showed just how our continued investment in local people and products has driven sales and profits throughout the company," he said.

“Investment in training, bringing on additional staff and employee incentive schemes saw employment levels rise by 270, taking our total to 3,099 employees based in Northern Ireland.”

The group prides itself in the level of training offered to staff, with over £300,000 invested in schemes in the past year. These include everything from new leadership programmes to customer service skills training courses.

Employees are actively encouraged to participate in the group's payroll giving scheme whereby the Henderson Group match contributions made by employees.

Sam added: “A new initiative doubling the contributions of any additional donations from new or existing members introduced in 2015 actually generated a further £325,000 for worthy causes last year, many of which are local charities.

“In the past 10 years, our employees have raised £2,350,000 for charity through payroll giving. The current participation rate sits at 35.5 per cent.”

The initiative has been acknowledged as the Best Sustained Scheme and Overall Best Campaign in the UK National Payroll Giving Excellence Awards in 2015.

Employees within the Henderson Group central function teams have recently benefited from an extensive, office redevelopment in Mallusk. After a £3.5 million investment, the teams now share four floors of modern, open office spaces, with break-out and meeting rooms boasting state-of-the-art communications technology.

Work is ongoing to the new ambient warehouse acquired adjacent to the headquarters base in 2014, which will open for business in June.

In total, £25 million has been invested by the group to carry out revamps and new builds to create better working environments and better services for staff, retailers and customers.

Henderson Group supplies to 422 Spar, Eurospar and Vivo-branded stores throughout Northern Ireland, with 79 stores owned by the company.

Staff throughout the network of retailers can also take advantage of the training schemes offered by Hendersons, and even further investment in to the advanced infrastructure of stores make them more attractive places to seek employment.

“Our teams are continuing to revamp and build better stores for better shopping experiences. In 2016, over £34 million was invested in building and creating these store experiences, which also has a positive effect on store staff," Sam added.

"As we build the number of concessions in store, from food-to-go to the likes of Chopstix and Daily Deli, there are even further employment opportunities into the retail foodservice sector.”

The group's fresh foods team are also building their local supplier networks, furthering the company's passion for local produce, and striving for provenance to be forefront in the minds of its shoppers. By expanding the fresh produce category, Henderson Wholesale is creating more employment opportunities in its trading team and product development teams.

Sam concluded: “We're a local, family-run group that will always strive to provide better products for our communities. To do this, we rely upon our local, dedicated employees who understand the value of what we do, and who will appreciate getting just as much back as they put in.”

:: The 2017 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards take place in Titanic Belfast on Thursday June 8. For entry pack and awards information visit www.irishnews.com/wea.

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