Collectively, as a society, COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down, separated us from loved ones and utterly disrupted the way we go about our day-to-day. Some of us have faced hardship unimaginable, and some of us have been “lucky”. We would consider ourselves one of the lucky businesses.
Working to supply fitted storage furniture to the healthcare and hospital market, it’s unsurprising that our team here at David Bailey Furniture Systems (DBFS) have been busy during this crisis. Hospitals have had to expand, refurbish their facilities and in some cases, build brand new mobile units. DBFS has been proud to have been called on to react quickly to this demand, supporting the NHS and hospitals to help them to fight this pandemic.
In the months since the outbreak reached the UK, we have worked with hundreds of healthcare facilities including key installations at Peterborough City Hospital, Hillingdon Hospital London, Royal Preston Hospital, University College London Hospital, and Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot. We are grateful to have the opportunity to assist all of these organisations, large and small, that are working tirelessly on the front-line, and we are humbled to be in a position of growth while our community is facing such uncertainty.
Hiring staff in the Covid climate
As an organisation privileged to be hiring through this crisis, we have a unique vantage point on how employees and businesses have faced the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, we’ve seen far too many organisations treat their staff poorly during this period. Overworking them and underappreciating the stress that everyone is under.
COVID is disrupting business operations, and while employers may be in a position of power at this moment in time, this leveraged position will not last forever, and this present situation is doing a great deal to separate the leaders from the bosses.
Employee-first culture stands out in a crisis
What we’ve seen while actively hiring following this period, is immense loyalty amongst staff whose employers have put their health, safety, and mental wellbeing first. This is how we have managed to retain our exemplary staff while our industry and their skills are in high demand. Conversely, we have been able to attract staff interest in new roles as a result of the failure of many organisations to look after their employees as times got tougher.
While it’s not easy to lead and make people feel secure during these unprecedented times, compassion and understanding go a long way to building a sense of security. At DBFS our focus has always been to look after our staff, and especially now, during the times when they are facing the most pressure about job stability and the safety of their loved ones, we understand it is our responsibility to make sure their work-life does not add to their overall anxiety around this crisis.
Fostering loyalty and longevity
Of course, we are in a fortunate position to speak on the benefits of offering longevity. Not all organisations are in a position to award this at the moment, and we’re grateful that we are, and we have been for quite some time. In fact, roughly 50 per cent of DBFS employees have been with our company for more than ten years. Twenty-five per cent have doubled that milestone, giving us more than 20 years of their loyalty, and we even have several that have passed the 30-year mark.
Longevity and protection from uncertainty are the primary considerations our staff, and those we’re interviewing, have today. While the world is unpredictable, they want to know that their livelihood will be secure.
In our case, we encourage internal development and progression so that staff don’t need to leave in order to grow. Two such examples of this, are long-time employees Steve Jarman and Craig Ross. Steve joined DBFS all the way back in 1996. Coming straight out of school, we took Steve on as an apprentice and today he holds the position of Contract Manager, a significant career progression. As for Craig, he joined us in 2004 as a trainee joiner in the factory and is today a qualified CAD draughtsman working to support our architect and contractor clients. Staff also have the opportunity to cross train within a section which provides them with increased knowledge and as a business adds flexibility of resources to meet changing demands.
The development of staff is paramount to loyalty and longevity. It’s not just up to staff to be loyal. It’s up to us as employers to offer them an environment where they feel they can grow and develop and see a bright future as part of our community.
Opportunities we’re offering today
DBFS is a manufacturer of fitted furniture for the healthcare, hospital, education and veterinary markets. At our location in Kent, we employ 37 staff, and we are currently looking to grow our team to include skilled CNC wood machinists, CAD Designers and Assistant Estimators. Our approach has enabled us to handle recruitment in-house and talking directly to applicants starts to create that working relationship from the first contact.