Podcast: Northwood Hygiene Products focuses on staff wellbeing

Listen: Manufacturing, supply chain and transportation firm Northwood Hygiene Products has more than 800 employees working in various locations across the UK in diverse job roles.

In this episode of the Employee Benefits podcast, HR director Dawn Roberts discusses how the organisation supports the wellbeing of all of its employees, especially during challenging times. For example, as manufacturers and suppliers of paper hygiene products, Northwood employees continued to work through the pandemic to ensure essential tissue and cleaning supplies were available in businesses and retailers. During this time, the employer made sure employees had access to important support such as its employee assistance programme. In the current cost-of-living crisis,Northwood has introduced a range of methods to offer further help to staff, including a cost-of-living allowance and an early access to pay scheme. Roberts also discusses the plans Northwood has in place to support the physical and mental wellbeing of staff.

At a glance

Northwood Hygiene Products manufactures hygiene tissue products such as toilet rolls, facial tissue and hand towels. Typical job roles include production operatives,  maintenance engineers, forklift drivers, warehouse operatives, and HGV drivers.

It has 873 employees with an average age of 43. The average length of service is seven years.

Primary business objectives that impact benefits for the coming year

  • To harmonise terms and conditions across each legal entity and to benchmark benefits package across the industry and similar organisations.

Career history

Prior to joining Northwood Hygiene Products in August 2022, Dawn Roberts, HR director, worked at Alstom for 12 years in a director position providing a strategic HR service to 2,000 global engineers. Roberts was also HR country manager for Mondi for six and a half years where she worked with Northwood’s current chief executive officer (CEO), who headhunted her to join Northwood.

When Roberts was 25, she was elected chair of the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) branch, a position she held for three years.

Throughout her career, Roberts includes her achievements as “growing the UK graduate scheme [at Alstom] from 12 to 50 hires per year and an 80% improvement in retention rates, and having been part of the tender submission for Crossrail”.

At Northwood, Roberts is proud of the support that it has introduced to help its employees through the cost-of-living crisis, and for reaching the finalist stage of 2023 Employee Benefits Awards for HR or benefits team of the year.