Burns Pet Nutrition is an award-winning pet food business based in West Wales with an impressive reward and benefits strategy that has improved the employee retention rate

Burns Pet Nutrition employs over 107 staff members across all areas of the business and many of the staff have been with Burns for over 10 years. Founder, John Burns formed the company in 1993 when he repeatedly saw the same pet health problems at his veterinary surgery. ”Due to the lack of high quality diets available at the time I recommended that my clients feed home cooked food made to my own recipes instead. The results were remarkable but, as many people found home cooking too daunting or time-consuming, I decided to develop my own range of complete diets for dogs and cats.” Burns stated.

The company has since grown and being a relatively small business, the company fully understands the importance of supporting their staff in order to promote loyalty and maintain the talent they have. HR Manager, Katie Roderick details the strategies they have in place to retain staff.

To retain staff, your benefits have to work well throughout the year. How can you motivate employees throughout the year?

We offer all staff a brand-new company car after one year of service. This is not just limited to head office but extends to all 107 full-time staff members including warehouse, factory, farm shop and pet shops. Although staff pay a nominal amount of tax on the car, they do not pay for road tax or insurance and if anything goes wrong with the car they can take it to a local garage for free maintenance.

Having a reliable car all-year round, and not having the worry of a potential pay out if you get a flat tyre or exhaust problems is a weight off people’s minds.

 How does your benefits package apply to a diverse workforce?

Our benefits package fits in well with a diverse work force, we offer a 10% pension after 1 year service and enhanced maternity rates.

We also have a childcare voucher scheme that we offer to staff.

 Do you ask your employees what benefits they may want?

Employees are asked which benefits would improve their working life in appraisals, but without blowing our trumpet the list is already quite extensive and may be hard to beat! See below for a list of the benefits staff receive:

  • All staff receive a company car after one year’s service
  • A 10% annual pension contribution
  • A performance-related Christmas bonus
  • The ability to travel within the UK and internationally to shows and events such as CRUFTS
  • NAVC Conference in Orlando for Nutritionists
  • A sickness bonus in January
  • 28 days of annual leave
  • A daily 3-course lunch for £1
  • 1 half day of flexi-time per month
  • Sporadic 4pm finish on Friday
  • Training opportunities
  • Burns is Living Wage accredited and all staff earn at least £8.75 per hour, most staff earn above this.

How do you maintain your high retention rate?

The majority of staff have been with the company for an average of 10 years, some have been at Burns for 20.

The nature of the business means that events, export shows, award shows, trips away, training and conferences are a part and parcel. These opportunities give staff the chance to travel and interact with each other outside of the standard office dynamic. During trips away, staff are put up in lovely accommodation and enjoy complimentary drinks and food, aswell as being paid for their time. Although these opportunities are ‘working’ holidays, they are also John’s way of saying thank you.

High-employee retention rates are maintained because staff are happy and motivated.