VEKA’s long-term commitment to health and wellbeing

VEKA, the Burnley-based manufacturer of UPVC windows and doors, is one of the county’s largest employers.

The company takes the health and wellbeing of its employees seriously and here Gabriela Hammond, head of human resources, talks Lancashire Business View through its various efforts to support its workforce. 

Gabriela joined VEKA as HR manager in 2008 and then progressed to head of department by 2011. As a mother of a toddler, health and wellbeing are high on Gabriela’s agenda both professionally and personally. During her time at VEKA she has led several initiatives including introducing healthcare cash plans for all employees.

How important is the health and wellbeing of employees to VEKA plc?

Health and wellbeing have always been a key objective at VEKA plc. As a family-owned business its values have been part of our ethos from the beginning. 

Covid-19 has undoubtedly given us added focus on the wellbeing of our people, and this year we introduced a new brand positioning statement, ‘We Care We Act’. 

This was developed as we reflected on how our business coped during the pandemic and the importance of the people around us; whether the broader VEKA Group or our own team. 

Many are struggling with the balance of home and work and missing the interaction of friends and so we have looked at how we can develop and evolve what we do and how we look after our people. 

Our first initiative is understanding and helping everyone understand mental health a little better and so our team leaders have been trained in mental health awareness and this year we will be adding to our knowledge with the training and appointment of mental health first aiders. 

How does caring for your employees look on a day-to-day basis?

Our two human resources business partners are mental health first aiders, which gives them the ability to focus on the needs of the employee when working with departmental managers. 

These accreditations will be rolled out department by department during 2021. 

During this past year we have developed a toolkit our employees can access. Our internal Intranet (VEKANet) now has an additional section, (developed during lockdown), purely aimed at employee help tools, covering topics such as health, exercise and homeschooling.

How do you measure the success of these initiatives?

VEKA is committed to achieving its strategic objective of being a ‘great place to work.’ 

Every manager has set their own KPIs on how they will contribute to making this happen and we also conduct regular staff surveys to measure our progress. We also have a staff forum that meets every month and this is a key measurement of wellbeing in our business. 

We have also made it very clear in our strategy and our statements that although as a company we are ambitious, our success will be sustainable, and we will never put the livelihoods of our people at risk.

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