How CSR can power British manufacturing


Investing in CSR shows employees that their company is proactively trying to improve its reputation, both in the industry and society. Environmental initiatives, charity work, ethical labour pledges and volunteering for social projects are just some of ways that companies can look beyond their profit margins and take an interest in wider social issues.

There are three p’s in business — people, planet and profit. The manufacturing industry has experienced much turbulence over the last few years — Brexit, a global pandemic and ongoing supply chain shortages to name a few. This creates a greater need than ever for companies to take initiative and proactively champion their staff’s wellbeing, which can improve job satisfaction, employee motivation and long-term productivity.

The value of social responsibility

Core values say a lot about a company’s ethics and how it wants to be perceived. In my role as a procurement manager, I always make sure that any new suppliers we work with share our values, such as fair working practices where all individuals are given the same opportunities and treated with the same respect.

Employee mental health is also crucial for manufacturing firms, who must be proactive in addressing the effects of stressful, demanding work environments where tight deadlines are the norm. According to a report by TeamWorks, around 70 million workdays are lost each year due to mental health issues, and less than 15 per cent of manufacturing firms effectively assess risks to mental health.

To help address this risk, our HR manager recently completed a mental health workplace responder course, qualifying them to become a dedicated mental health first aider. If staff members have anything they’d like to discuss, this person is there to listen and signpost them to places where they can get support. Engaging a mental health first aider was an important step for our business, and we encourage more companies in the manufacturing industry to follow suit.

Employee engagement

Another report by Make UK showed that the UK manufacturing industry’s employee turnover rate hit a record high of 17.6 per cent in 2020, with resignations being one of the main causes. So, how can business owners stop the churn? In my opinion, taking an interest in staff and cultivating their passions is a good place to start.

I first took up darts nearly 20 years ago and have represented my county at youth level. After battling bowel cancer, I recently decided to renew my passion for the sport. Over the years, TFC has sponsored junior football teams and, when my colleagues found out about my hobby, the company insisted on supporting me. I’m currently entering a series of national competitions because I want to step up and compete to qualify for the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), to which all the professionals belong.

TFC offered to pay the entry fee and provide accommodation so that I could compete without having to worry about the cost. This wasn’t just my employer supporting my dream, it was an investment in the TFC brand.

I plan to compete in the UK and Germany, which could involve playing on television. The logo on my shirt will be broadcast to millions of viewers, which could include potential manufacturing customers. What’s more, many of my fellow competitors are also manufacturers, so the darts arena is a good place to network and open conversations about the industry.

Yes, the manufacturing industry has seen turbulence and turnover in recent years, but investing in people and corporate responsibilities could be the solution. Judging from my own experience, having an employer that proactively engages with staff, their interests and wellbeing is critical in this high-pressure market.