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Collinson Grant worked with managers to analyse how the company managed its people, the HR policies and procedures, and the opportunities to reduce costs and minimise risks.

Flowtech Fluidpower plc is the UK’s leading specialist supplier of technical fluid power products. It is based in Skelmersdale, Lancashire and has distribution centres in China, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.  The group is expanding successfully through organic growth and acquisition.

We were asked to review the company’s HR services to ensure that, in a group with a number of separate operating businesses and no centralised HR function, they were fit for purpose.  Collinson Grant’s audit methodology tests a business’s capabilities against twelve interdependent criteria.  The objective is to identify what is working well, what might be improved in the medium term and what requires more immediate attention.  The emphasis is on ensuring that the cost of HR services is reduced and risks minimised.

Responsibility for many HR decisions at Flowtech is devolved to line managers. This works well and is supported by detailed Standard Practice Instruction (SPI) documents that set out the company’s policies and procedures.  In a growing business there is always a need to ensure that policies are applied consistently and are kept up-to-date.

We compared our findings with best practice benchmarks and used a 'traffic light' key to highlight good practice and the priorities for action. Our report made recommendations such as:

  • Policies and documentation – to confirm they are up-to-date and fully compliant with legislation.
  • Controls – to ensure policies are implemented effectively and consistently.
  • Recruitment – to minimise recruitment expenditure and the costs of using temporary staff.
  • Managing absence – to investigate carefully the causes and the true cost to the business and to ensure this is monitored and reduced.

It was agreed to update some of the SPI procedures, to provide an additional guide for managers and to develop some standard employment documents and letters. Also a review of the company handbook is planned as well as a review of the handbook for employees in Benelux countries by our Dutch employment consultant.  Some further training for managers on employing people and managing time is also planned.

Anne Fogg, Group Business Process Manager, commented:

'The audit was a good starting point to review the overall effectiveness of our HR services. Collinson Grant analysed a lot of key data, highlighted where we were doing well and gave us some firm recommendations on the priorities for action.  It was a useful to get an independent perspective on how we were performing.'