As a technology-led organisation the Group recognises that our ability to attract and retain people with critical skill sets is a key driver in enabling us to deliver on our strategic goals.

To help enable this the Board is committed to ensuring that all employees can operate in a workplace that is safe, inclusive, welcomes diversity and offers everyone the opportunity to develop to their full potential. In addition, implementing a framework to align individual objectives with Group strategy helps empower employees in their day to-day activities. The Board believes that these working practices maintain employee morale, support team working and are a further driver in achieving the Group’s performance goals and business objectives.

Key values

1) Customers – We create valuable partnerships with our customers through collaboration to understand and deliver their requirements.

2) People – We empower people by supporting and challenging each other to thrive. Integrity and respect are at the forefront of everything we do.

3) Diversity – We recognise the importance of strengthening, improving and enriching our culture and practices through diverse opinions, skills and people.

4) Innovation – We inspire creativity by giving people the space to challenge the ‘now’ and engineer for the future.

5) Excellence – We are never satisfied with the status quo. We invest in our people, products and processes by encouraging learning and self-enrichment to deliver world-class services and products to our customers.

6) Responsibility – Personal ownership and commitment to ourselves, our customers, our shareholders and the environment. We are always looking for opportunities to improve the sustainability of our operations.

The Group recognises the importance of communicating with all employees to help maintain trust and confidence between all parties. This is achieved by various formal processes and ad-hoc actions throughout the year. On a formal basis, our CEO conducts regular all-staff briefings and meetings are held throughout the year between employees and their line managers to ensure that personal objectives are aligned with the Group’s strategy and to formally identify development needs and career aspirations. Based on local requirements, weekly and monthly management team meetings are held to provide a forum for Group updates. Internal announcements are issued on a regular basis and include business updates, guidance on maintaining a safe working environment and matters of general interest. The Group’s website is used for the distribution of preliminary and interim announcements and press releases.

Through workforce engagement, the views of our employees are heard at Board level and are considered in Board discussions and decision making. To further support staff engagement all employees are invited to participate in staff surveys. These will be conducted every quarter starting January 2024. We are also launching a Group newsletter to all employees starting in December 2023 which will be produced on a regular basis.

As the Group has undergone significant change in the past few years, in FY 2021 an inter-disciplinary ‘Values Team’ was established to work with staff to define our renewed vision and values, which underpin the Group’s strategy, processes and culture. Our vision is to ‘provide world class innovative automation and vehicle application solutions created sustainably with passion by our people, delivering excellent products and services to our partners’. Our key values: customers, people, diversity, innovation, excellence and responsibility, ensure our behaviours, culture and personal values align with those of the business and enable us to continue to drive the strategy forward. Embedding our values across the Group was a continued focus for FY 2023. Values have been introduced as part of our performance appraisal process and managers are encouraged to discuss them with employees.

Attracting and retaining key talent are critical to driving strong operational performance, maintaining our market position and enabling us to deliver on our ambitious growth plans. Accordingly, the Group is committed to developing the capabilities of the existing workforce and hiring talented people to meet current and future requirements.

In recent years our continued efforts to enhance staff engagement and wellbeing have resulted in consistently strong retention rates. Average length of service is currently 4.2 years, with annual employee turnover at 13% (FY 2022: 17%) across the Group (excludes VadoTech group).

Building upon the improvements made to recruitment practices in prior years, a new recruitment system has been employed this year to further improve candidate experiences and hiring timelines. The system has also introduced updated mechanisms to reduce biases across the recruitment process, which is critical to curating a workforce diverse in opinions, skills and people.

In FY 2022, the Group made a proactive effort to promote internal applications for open positions and as a result 18% of UK employees have been promoted or had their responsibilities increased over the last year. This has been supported by the ongoing implementation of talent mapping processes.

Annual performance evaluations are undertaken across the Group, with 93% of employees having received a performance appraisal in this year (FY 2022: 83%). VadoTech, Zynit and DRI will introduce its formal performance review process in FY 2025. Salary reviews are aligned with performance evaluations to ensure employees are paid fairly and correctly for the position they perform. All employees have the opportunity to benefit from a discretionary performance based bonus with the exception of some employees within recent acquisitions.

We continually review our benefits and total compensation packages across the Group. We offer a comprehensive range of benefits to our staff which reflect local regulations and market practices and where appropriate include annual performance-related bonuses, employer matching contributions into pension schemes, life insurance, income protection and private health cover. Through a detailed benchmarking exercise we can confirm that these packages are above or in line with local market regulations and the competitive environment within which we operate.

We also have other forms of workplace recognition in place. We regularly organise social events to celebrate success and to highlight key achievements within the Group as well as workplace employee appreciation efforts.

Career development

The Group remains committed to retaining key staff and supporting their ongoing career development through life-long learning. This provides benefits for both the Group, through a more highly skilled workforce, and the individual employee, who gains both qualifications and experience that they can use to further their careers whilst with the Group and in any future roles elsewhere. The Group’s talent mapping and succession planning processes have continued to play a key role in facilitating staff development and enabled a significant proportion of employees to take on wider responsibilities either through formal promotional opportunities or growth in current roles during the year.

Targeted leadership training is also an integral part of ensuring our workforce remains engaged and innovative, whilst enabling the Group to grow a diverse pipeline for key roles and leadership positions. To further demonstrate the Group’s commitment to developing internal talent, the ABD Professional Development Programme (PDP) was launched in May 2022 and the first session completed successfully in 2023. The overarching aim of the PDP is to challenge and support potential future business leaders to set and meet their own professional goals, emphasising the role that each individual can play in modelling cultural change using business reality as the main arena for development. The first PDP had twelve initial participants and consisted of a series of on-the job training projects which were tailored to each participant’s existing role, in addition to senior manager mentorship workshops. The first PDP was very well received and resulted in three internal promotions. We aim to start the second PDP in FY 2024.

Training opportunities
The Group is committed to ensuring that all employees have access to the training required to support their skills and career development.

The Group’s training budget for FY 2023 was £121,000 (FY 2022: £170,000).

100% of employees received training in FY 2023 (FY 2022: 100%) and courses taken during the year included: Cranfield Management courses, St John’s Ambulance First Aiders, Agile Foundation and Practitioner, ISTQB Software Testing Foundation, CMI Level 3 Diploma in Principles of Management and Leadership, TIG Welding Award L2 and Advanced Welding L3, MAKE UK Managing and Delivering Projects, Skid-Pan Training with DriveTech, scissor lift training, AUEC Units, mental health first aiders, dangerous goods training, fork lift truck training, counter balance training, Simulink Model Management and Architecture, INCOSE Systems Engineering certification, working at height, environmental awareness, GDPR UK essentials, Microsoft Excel Intermediate Training and Microsoft Project Management.

During the year, we also rolled out mandatory compliance training modules globally to all employees which included: anti-bribery and corruption, cyber security awareness, desktop safety essentials (DSE), manual handling, mental health awareness for employees and managers, modern slavery, customer service, bullying and harassment for managers, health and safety essentials and equality, diversity and inclusion.

While ability and aptitude remain the determining factors in the selection, training, career development and promotion of all employees, the Group is conscious that engineering continues to have inherent disadvantages for women and other under-represented groups. Therefore, in FY 2023 we have chosen to continue as a Corporate Partner to the Women’s Engineering Society (WES). Actions we take to increase our profile within WES’ membership and to facilitate opportunities include targeted job advertisements to women and membership of WES for all female engineers. We also participate in the Arkwright Engineering Scholarship in the mentoring of 16 year old students who are considering a career in engineering.

The Board recognises the importance of diversity in all forms, including the diversity of gender identity, ethnicity, age, disability, neurodiversity, sexual orientation, geography, social and cultural background and belief. We recognise the gender imbalance in the profession and have been working to improve the Group’s gender mix. A significant proportion of the Group’s workforce are engineers and technicians. As advised by Engineering UK, only 12% of engineers are female on a national basis; therefore, the Group remains above average for our industry with women representing 18% of our overall workforce. The Board notes the recommendations of the Hampton-Alexander and Parker Reviews and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in relation to increasing Board and Executive Committee (and direct reports) gender and ethnic diversity. We are proud to note that within the senior management team, the proportion of female representation is at 19% while the Group Board is at 40%, in line with these recommendations.

Set out below is an analysis of the Group’s employees by gender in October each year.

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. To manage these, please use the privacy settings.