My family business was started in 1930 in the middle of very tough economic times. It was, and still is based in Collyhurst an area of East Manchester, an area with many challenges. From day one it was clear that as a small company there would need to be very good reasons for staff to stay at the company and being the highest payer around was simply not an option! The solution that is now very much part of our culture is based on three very simple things.
Firstly: Security. In HMG Paints we aim to offer a secure and dependable future for our team. Building security is the number one objective in our business plans and whilst it has meant we have grown a bit slower at times, it has also meant that we can weather economic storms with our fantastic team intact.
During the 2008 crisis, when orders virtually stopped our reaction was not redundancies with all the insecurity and worry they bring. Instead with overwhelming support all staff took a twenty per cent pay cut with the option to all non-Managers of working a four day week.
Almost without exception the whole team pulled together for five days each week for a tough two months, but when the situation started to ease the business was poised and fully manned ready and eager to get any and all the business available. Morale was high and even a contracted market offered an SME like us huge opportunities… and we took them!
Secondly: Fairness, sometimes in a family business pay or grade can be determined by surname. That does not happen in our business. You are paid according to your contribution and ability…no exceptions.
Lastly: Going home! We all finish and go home at 5.00pm (4.00pm on Friday). We try really hard to avoid overtime and we never have management meetings outside office hours. This allows the whole team time away from work, and it really does help. People do not fear ‘endless’ days and I believe it increases productivity overall as each day has a clear beginning and end.
By offering a secure job with a fair and open policy on pay coupled with what I think is a fair work-life balance, we have a very stable, and incredibly capable and experienced team. This forms the basis for our current and future success.