Over the past three years, People Puzzles’ Gill Banham has helped the management team at Contamac match their HR strategy with their ambitions to grow the company and take it to the next level.
Contamac is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of polymers – the materials used to make contact and intraocular lenses. Its 35,000sq ft headquarters in Saffron Walden features state-of-the-art manufacturing, research and laboratory facilities and it’s twice been awarded with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Three years ago, Contamac had a 75-strong team that was growing steadily. It needed to attract and recruit high calibre talent to develop its R&D and quality processes, as well as review its HR policies and procedures within the business. Managing Director Rob McGregor wanted an HR consultant that, in his words, ‘broke the norm’; as well as recruitment and procedures, he wanted to develop his management team in order to help the company take its strategic plan forward.
Rob brought in Gill Banham of People Puzzles into the company, originally for two days a month but then moving to one day a week.
To enable high-level change, Gill organised training and development with the senior team to develop their management skills and got them involved in developing areas of the business they hadn’t previously been involved in, such as reward mechanisms and salary benchmarking.
As the recruitment drive saw Contamac’s workforce swell, Gill reviewed all of its HR policies and procedures. ‘The way that People Puzzles handled all the contract reviews for 93 people in the business was no small task!’ Rob comments.
Alongside this, Gill continues to work with the business to build its strategic plan. ‘There are a lot of initiatives that go with that which will help the business grow and evolve in time,’ she says. One of these is a campaign to give all members of the team a chance to make the company more efficient and productive by putting forward ideas and suggestions. ‘Our ‘mad’ campaign for the new financial year enables everyone to make a difference, not just the managers,’ she explains.
Rob has found that ‘embedding’ an HR expert into the team has brought far more to Contamac than ad hoc HR consultancy might have done. ‘The management team have got someone they can go to for any particular issues or questions that they may have that are HR related,’ he says. ‘And rather than having a dialogue about it and the company thinking, “Should we do it or not?”. Gill is able to give very clear direction, which of course helps with decision making and for us to move forward. It also breeds confidence throughout the company from a managerial perspective.’
‘You’re getting access to knowledge, expertise, know-how and experience,’ he continues, ‘so it fits the size of our business correctly. For me, as managing director of the business and my fellow board members, it’s a very valuable resource.’
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