5 minutes with Director of Human Resource at Encirc, James Currie

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Our partnership with UK-based glass manufacturers, Encirc will see them strengthen their well-being offering to its employees. For Encirc, partnering with Circle In is all about providing greater support to their people, and attracting a better, more diverse talent pool. 

Here are some highlights from a recent chat between our Sales Manager, Ric Arber, and James Currie, Director of Human Resource at Encirc. 

Who are Encirc and why was it important for you to invest in a program such as Circle In?

Encirc is a manufacturer of glass containers, glass bottles, jars — you name it, we make it. Some of our products include wine bottles, some are beer bottles, and we do baby food bottles, so pretty much a sustainable packaging solution for all sorts of food and drink. We’ve got three sites. One in Italy, one in Northern Ireland, one here in the UK, where I’m biased, and we’re part of the Vidrala Group, which is a Spanish-listed company, which is also a glass manufacturer.

In addition to glass manufacturing, we provide sustainable packaging solutions for bulk wine customers, and we get a lot of our bulk wine customers from Australia. So, Australian vineyards would send their products over here in big bags, and then we will bottle them here in the UK for consumption in the UK, so cutting out a lot of the carbon associated with the supply chain.

We’ve got about 1500 people in the Encirc part of our company, and we are trying to improve our well-being offering for all of those employees, including caregivers. That’s where you guys come in and we think that the platform that you provide will certainly add to our wellbeing provision.

What problem is Circle In solving for Encirc?

I’m not sure how the situation is in Australia, but here in the UK, unemployment is really low. Recruitment is very difficult. We are a foundation industry, so a fairly traditional heavy industry. Therefore our gender diversity isn’t particularly good. We have probably about 20% of our workforce who are female, we need to improve that ratio, to be more diverse, to attract a bigger candidate pool, and certainly to be more flexible as an employer. We see Circle In as giving us that little bit more traction in the market that we can say ‘look we are offering flexible working, we are open to job sharing, and we’ve got this resource with Circle In that has a whole bunch of questions answered for people who might be struggling with care and childcare, and care for dependents’. So, we see it as part of that ability to broaden our appeal and help employees settle in better.

Thanks for that transparency and certainly your own motivations and passions in this space have been pretty refreshing over the last few months as we’ve explored this.

What are you most excited about the platform and the partnership with Circle In?

I think it’s great, it’s a global platform. That’s fabulous because it brings a bigger dynamic to what we already offer. I think that’s nice because although we’re not gender diverse, we are quite diverse in terms of nationalities that work here. You know, the makeup of the workforce from that perspective. It’s nice to have that global appeal. It fills a gap for me in terms of everything you read in the news at the moment is quite difficult for people to balance working lives and caring responsibilities. 

For me, Circle In is quite unique in terms of being that one go-to place for a whole to answer a whole host of questions, and I think it differentiates us from obviously other people that haven’t signed up for it, in terms of providing that level of support for our people that I think continues on from COVID. Employers generally have had to be a lot more supportive during COVID. We’ve certainly done that, we’ve become much more flexible in our approach to home working and flexible working patterns, as well as helping people through their illnesses and family members’ illnesses, and I think this is just another iteration in that progression if you like, that a caring employer will provide all they can do to facilitate employees, and then the work-life balance. This is a really important part of that.

What does success look like for you in supporting your families and caregivers?

I think we need to make sure that we’re up and running and that it’s seamlessly integrated into our platform. I think that for me, it’ll be we run something workplace by Facebook basically is our key comms channel, people start talking about this on that, then I know that it’s landing well and people are excited about it. 

The success initially for me is going to be ‘okay, let’s get all the technical pieces sorted and it launched correctly, but then it’ll be watching the chatter, seeing the conversations, and seeing what people are saying about it. Even if it starts small and then grows gradually, which tends to be the way with these kinds of initiatives, I’ll be happy if we’ve got that background level of chatter. Then I know you guys are preparing to provide us reports and usage stats. I’d like to see us making sure we’re at least in line with your expectations in terms of visits and clicks as well.

What made you move ahead with  Circle In?

I think you’re an engaging team, all of you that we’ve worked with, we’ve enjoyed working with. Responsive, so that always gives you a good feeling about going into business with people like that. I think it’s a great product. It’s pretty reasonable from a cost perspective, to be honest with you. It’s not a great investment that we need to worry about too much and as I said already it just adds something else to the organization that we don’t currently have and couldn’t find anywhere else either. I’m very happy to be partnering with you.

We are thrilled to welcome Encirc to our Circle and look forward to supporting their people in all of the moments that matter.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can support your employees, click here to talk to us today.

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