At our recent management conference, Managing Director, Ben Williams, took the opportunity to explore employees’ views on the meaning of our EPC-UK SPIRIT Values in practice; what they signify, and how the principles present themselves within individuals’ lives – both in and out of the workplace.
Introduced as a valuable and highly effective guidance tool over seven years ago, the EPC-UK SPIRIT Values were developed by our leadership team to help employees at all levels navigate and perform their roles in alignment with ‘The EPC Way’.
Our SPIRIT acronym stands for S (Safety), P (Passion), I (Integrity), R (Respect), I (Innovation) and T (Teamwork), and since its inception in 2014 has succeeded in not only encouraging team members to prioritise key working methods, but also consider the health and wellbeing of others as part of every task performed.
As a company, we believe our SPIRIT Values help to shape functions and achievements every day at EPC-UK, however we couldn’t deliver the ethos’s successful results and culture-defining accomplishments without the dedication and commitment of our hard-working team.
Assigning every conference table with a letter to represent each individual SPIRIT Value, Ben asked the team for their interpretations of what the words have come to symbolise and was encouraged by the responses he received.
S – Safety
Speaking on behalf of the table presented with S for Safety, John Morgan, Operations Manager for the North Area, detailed his group’s discussions. He says, “An EPC-UK employee’s safety is the point where we begin our roles every day, 7 days a week, at home and work. Our SPIRIT Values seamlessly blend into our everyday lives; from the approach we take to conducting ourselves, to the way we speak and listen to others, our actions and words all relate back to our core ethos. It may sound simple, but our SPIRIT Values really do represent everyday life both in and out of the workplace, making Safety, Passion, Integrity, Respect, Innovation and Teamwork the principles we subconsciously live by.
P – Passion
Seated at the table assigned P for Passion was Estates Manager, Roger Pile. Amalgamating his views with those of Senior Supervisor, David McGinty, both bring their thoughts on the Passion value to the discussion:
In the context of his role on the farm Roger says: “If I wasn’t passionate about farming, I wouldn’t be here! The position is more of a lifestyle than a job and is so much easier and more enjoyable with a good team surrounding me, whom I am also passionate about. Having spent most of my life here looking after the farm, the soil and the environment are my priorities, and it’s our team ambition to leave both in the best condition possible for those who follow in our farming footsteps.
“Passion features within every operation we perform on the farm, from ploughing a level field to sowing the seeds at just the right time and battling the weather throughout the growing season. If we could control the weather we would win every time, so I feel that we rely immensely on our strength, passion and indeed all the EPC-UK core values to enable us to perform and exceed.”
Colleague David adds, “Throughout the pandemic; its uncertainty, changing rules and grey areas, our team’s passion has been increasingly evident. Employees have continued their working roles day in, day out, no matter what part of the business they work in, so they can still deliver the same level of service our customers and colleagues have become accustomed to. We’ve all grown closer and stronger as a workforce, maintained our principles, set new standards, and overcome each challenge we have faced, demonstrating the grit, determination, and of course passion, of our hardworking teams.”
I – Integrity
The table asked to discuss I for Integrity, included Key Account Manager, Logistics and Defence at Bramble Island, Glenn Branch: “Our company’s ability to demonstrate its integrity has never been so important than in recent times,” he explains. “Our table’s view was that by being so open and honest with customers, in periods of uncertainly such as those we’ve all recently experienced, EPC-UK has helped its valued partners to mitigate their own possible risks.
“The nature of the work we perform pushes us further to conduct business in the right way, first time, no matter what the circumstances. We always endeavour to act morally and ethically, another recent example of which has been our team member approach to ‘track and trace’.
“We understand that many individuals would not want to be identified as the first carrier of a virus. So, it takes considerable integrity to come forward and declare a need to self-isolate. Whilst isolation restrictions may disrupt both an individual’s and co-workers’ duties, the act of integrity is one that protects the health of others and supports the spirit of defending the greater interests of the workforce.”
R – Respect
Expressing his table’s view on the value of R for Respect, Operations Manager, Rough Close Works, Adam Williams said: “Our group’s perception of respect at EPC-UK is regarded as a core cultural quality within the company. When we discussed amongst the group how this value was best demonstrated, two common themes stood out:
“Firstly, we felt the importance placed on respecting the views, opinions, personal experiences and ideas of others is demonstrated in many ways at EPC-UK; none more so than through our company’s unwavering commitment to train every single employee in mental health awareness. The knowledge and skills developed have given rise to a new level of respect and understanding, leading individuals to feel differently about everyday situations and know that it’s perfectly normal. Now at EPC-UK, respecting everyone’s point of view and looking out for each other is a value that we all strive to adhere to.
“Secondly, we believe that respecting the environment at our sites holds equal importance. This is demonstrated through the active support of several wildlife conservation initiatives and the planting of swathes of wildflowers in areas of our land.”
I – Innovation
Asked to detail what I for Innovation represents for him and his group, Driver Training Manager, Tony Bird, explained that in their view, EPC-UK is an industry forerunner, applying cutting edge innovations to achieve improved efficiencies. He explained: “Innovative processes are constantly being advanced at EPC-UK, from operations including our use of drone surveys for 3D mapping and EPC Metrics capabilities, to our fuel additive and petrol chemical engineering solutions.
“EPC-UK considers innovation as an integral element to its technical and engineering advancement, however, fully recognises that its ability to evolve is a result of the underlying, solid foundation and willingness of our people to challenge processes and change practices. Whether that’s a working method, a current process or even an entire workforce’s perception of who we are today and who we want to be tomorrow, this is where EPC-UK’s innovation truly begins.”
“The SPIRIT values of EPC-UK work so well together. The innovation can’t begin without Safety – the priority point of all we strive to do. We can’t strive if we don’t share the same Passion, which is only possible when we encourage Integrity – inside and outside our operations. By doing so, Respect can become organically engrained within our actions, and serve as the enabler for true Innovation, which then change practices for the better with the power of Teamwork.” – Tony Bird
T – Teamwork
Finally, Customer Service Manager, Charlotte Hegarty outlines her table’s discussions surrounding the T for Teamwork value, by explaining; “For us, teamwork revolves around the implementation of the daily resource call that has proven to be so crucial in our planning activity,” she says. Charlotte, who has been with EPC-UK for 9 years and is based at Rough Close Works, currently oversees all our company’s truck bookings, resource allocations, orders, and invoicing processes.
She continues, “We schedule daily ‘same time’ meetings to enable us to achieve our common goal of ensuring all the necessary jobs are covered, and that our customers receive the best possible service. By working together, we can better support each individual division and consequently maintain a seamless service. This teamwork approach means our trucks are more effectively utilised and can accommodate a greater number of orders, which helps to increase productivity and, importantly, build upon our all-important relationships, providing us with the trust and confidence to rely on one another whenever the need may arise.”
Considering the opinions of all the tables, Ben Williams said: “It is both impressive and humbling to learn first-hand of the effect and impression our SPIRIT ethos has had on employees – not only as they perform their role for the company, but go about their daily lives, consider others, develop their expertise and face new and unexpected challenges.
“Devising and developing the ethos has been an achievement realised by us all, creating a successful, guiding ideology we can all be proud of and take with us as our company continues to evolve.”