People Impact of COVID-19
We believe that we have both a legal and moral duty to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees. At the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic we formed a Dechra Corona Committee to coordinate our health, safety and wellbeing response to keep all our employees safe.
The Dechra Leadership Teams have maintained regular communication throughout the crisis with employees across the whole business and have provided financial, physical and mental support. We have made it clear to our employees consistently that their safety and the safety of our customers is our number one priority. We have used the Group intranets and global emails to communicate key messages, in addition, we have encouraged everyone to share ideas for improvement and to raise any concerns they may have. In June, we carried out a COVID Survey hosted by Great Place to Work which approximately 650 of our employees were able to respond to. We were very pleased with the survey results where we scored either on or above the benchmark in 14 of the 16 elements of the survey. We also collected some valuable free format responses that have helped us continue to shape our employee centric response. We are very pleased that our employees have responded so positively during the crisis and adapted quickly to new ways of working, demonstrating the agility that is a core part of our culture.
Given the current financial position the Company is in, we took the decision not to furlough any of our employees and have been supportive and flexible with employees to assist with their individual personal circumstances. We supported our manufacturing and logistics employees, who have remained on-site throughout the pandemic. This support has included free lunches, vegetable boxes, support with transport to and from site, thank you letters and a special COVID award payment that was paid in June 2020 in recognition of the efforts of the team. In North America, the HR department visited the homes of all our employees in the Kansas and Maine areas, maintaining social distancing whilst dropping off care packages and staying in touch. All employees globally have been provided with reusable face masks for their personal use. Our inventive teams have come up with a wide range of ways to stay connected with their colleagues such as meeting virtually for coffee breaks, happy hours and exercise classes!
During the pandemic, where necessary we have continued to recruit for critical roles within the business and have developed virtual onboarding processes to support new employees joining us at this unusual time.
As we have planned how to return to our workplaces safely, we will continue to adapt the way that we work to maximise productivity, employee engagement and most importantly the ongoing health and safety of our team.
Health and Safety
We closely followed the guidance issued by the UK government and Public Health England and introduced new control measures and enhanced existing controls where appropriate. This guidance was enhanced with any specific country recommendations. We put in place the following measures:
- Vulnerable colleagues – All employees who had been advised to shield by the relevant governments stayed at home. We remain in contact with these employees, and any return to work will depend on a thorough individual risk assessment.
- Homeworking – All employees who were able to work from home did so. They were encouraged to take additional equipment home if this was needed and advice was issued to support ergonomic and mental health issues.
- Manufacturing and Logistics – We implemented staggered start and finish times to facilitate physical distancing when clocking in and out and when using changing rooms. This also allowed cleaning between shifts. We increased the frequency of cleaning across all of our sites and introduced increased sanitisation of communal areas and common touch points.
- Our Sales Representatives – Our mobile employees were asked to remain at home until travel, including international travel and overnight accommodation, can safely resume. From day one, they demonstrated their entrepreneurial spirit by arranging online Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events and arranging virtual meetings with veterinary clinics.
- Business travel – All non-essential business travel has been paused, including travel between Dechra locations. Attendance at conferences and large meetings has also ceased.
- Health checks and self-isolation – All employees have been encouraged to complete a daily health check, and any employee who has COVID-19 symptoms is encouraged to self-isolate in line with the relevant government guidelines, unless subsequent testing confirms a negative result. We have also asked all employees with household members with COVID-19 symptoms to self-isolate.
- Training – All employees have or will need to complete a Dechra training module 'COVID-19 Protective Measures', prior to returning to work so that everyone understands all the new hygiene and safety procedures. All mobile workers have completed additional training in the new hygiene precautions, and in readiness to return to the field, they have been provided with Hygiene Kits, so that they can achieve the high standards of hygiene when they resume travel.