Support by employees of Bloomsbury

Staff volunteering

  • A significant number of our employees worldwide, both through a Bloomsbury coordinator and privately, are involved in formal volunteer reading schemes and regularly attend schools in the UK and the US. These provide supervised reading support to young readers, often from disadvantaged backgrounds where their opportunities to develop reading skills may be hindered.
  • Bloomsbury employees attend schools and colleges to give talks that have included on careers, such as in digital publishing and IT, and on reading skills required in the workplace. They have also assisted young people with interview practice, career mentoring and school magazines. They are unpaid public speakers at presentations, have published articles and hosted discussions on publishing topics and are volunteers for literary festivals and societies for young publishers. Bloomsbury employees also support primary schools, e.g. giving classroom talks on writing.
  • Many employees worldwide are involved in their local communities typically promoting literacy, literature and education, such as by sitting on committees, as governors of schools, by supporting special interest groups and as trustees and supporters of publishing industry and arts voluntary organisations, e.g. a UK employee is a trustee of a book trade charity; and US employees support various organisations such as a not-for-profit bookstore helping the homeless and in the fight against HIV and AIDS. An employee in our Australia office has for many years been a volunteer at ILF, mentioned in the Corporate Donating section, donating an hour each week at ILF's head office to support IFL outreach initiatives and fundraising activities.
  • The main Board Directors commit significant spare time outside of work to book-related charities, not-for-profit organisations and higher education.

In our offices worldwide the employees volunteer regularly to assist good causes unrelated to publishing, e.g. in the UK they are Samaritans and worldwide they provide spare time support for homeless, sick and vulnerably housed adults and children.

Staff donating

Bloomsbury employees worldwide often call on their colleagues for fundraising sponsorship such as with marathons, cake sales and many other employee-inspired activities. For example, an employee in the UK office climbed Everest Base Camp for Cancer Research UK with a large proportion of the funds raised donated by Bloomsbury employees. Our offices will put up teams to participate in events, e.g. Bloomsbury's netball team raises money for good causes and charities; our US office participates in a food drive for hunger by donating canned goods and non‐perishables to the Food Bank of New York City; and groups of employees arrange visits to charity centres at Christmas to sing carols.

Engagement within Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is a people business, and the success of our business is in large part driven by the expertise, passion and commitment of our workforce. Our colleagues are a key asset of the business and our employment policies are directed at creating a workplace that attracts, motivates, develops and retains high calibre employees.

We promote a supportive and inclusive culture that fosters diversity and encourages professional development, active participation and the exchange of ideas.

During the year, the Group instigated a wide range of strategic HR initiatives directed at further promoting this culture and creating a rewarding work environment and ongoing professional opportunities for colleagues. These initiatives are reflected in the Group's employment policies and practices set out below but include:

  • conducting a global Employee Engagement Survey across all offices to understand and improve the employee experience. Following the completion of the survey, individual focus groups have been established to address key issues arising out of the survey;
  • the implementation of an employee voice forum programme, allowing every employee to have their voice heard directly by senior management and the Board;
  • the formation of a diversity and inclusion focus group;
  • the introduction of ongoing training in unconscious bias, equality and diversity to reinforce Bloomsbury's culture of equal treatment of all employees;
  • the expansion of the provision of training, mentoring and employee development programmes for early and mid-career employees to provide them with opportunities to grow their leadership and management capabilities so that they are equipped to progress in their careers;
  • the provision of executive coaching for women in senior leadership positions;
  • the introduction of Core Hours (9.30 am to 4.00 pm) working in order to allow employees to choose a working pattern which suits them;
  • the introduction of Summer Hours to support more flexible working by enabling employees to finish work early on Fridays over the summer months; and
  • the implementation of a global Employee Assistance Programme to support employee well-being and mental health. This service is provided by an independent company and provides all employees with free, confidential access to counselling and support for work issues and personal issues.

Diversity

We have a diverse workforce and management team led by a gender diverse Board. The majority of senior managers and employees worldwide in the Group are women. As at 28 February 2019 the number of employees by each gender is:

 FemaleMale
All employees of the Group1506 (71%)209 (29%)
Senior managers of the Group253
Directors of the Group parent Company25
  1. Excludes workers who are freelance consultants and temps.
  2. Includes the heads of publishing divisions, Group functions and country heads who are not Executive Directors on the parent Company Board.

In the UK, the government introduced regulations designed to help address the gender pay gap. Bloomsbury has provided information on its gender pay gap in the UK (see Bloomsbury Gender Pay Gap 2018). We have benchmarked our Gender Pay Gap against the publishing industry and will continue to identify best practices that can reduce the pay gap.

The Board, supported by the Nomination Committee, oversees the diversity and inclusion initiatives across the Group and is committed to developing a strong and diverse talent pipeline in connection with effective succession planning. The Board receives regular updates on strategic HR initiatives across the Group with a view to ensuring that the strategies in place are effective in promoting a culture that upholds Bloomsbury's principles of inclusion, diversity and equality.

Employment KPIs

The senior management team monitors staff-related KPIs (e.g. joiners and leavers) but the Group does not disclose all of these for commercial reasons that are in the interests of the Shareholders.

Employees and human rights

Supported by territory heads of human resources, the managing directors of the publishing divisions, the heads of each Group function and managing directors of regional offices have responsibility for the employment matters (including human rights) of their teams. The Chief Executive has overall Board-level responsibility for employment matters. For example, where employment matters have a Group-wide impact or cannot be resolved at a lower level in the business then they may be referred to the Chief Executive.

Key features of the Group's employment policies and practices are:

  • Openness: Bloomsbury provides a good degree of openness and transparency on its activities and performance through information provided to employees. Employees are kept updated frequently on sales, book releases, project achievements, internal newsletters, corporate news and feedback from external media and other sources. The Bloomsbury Institute arranges regular events, which enable staff to meet authors. Weekly and other regular team meetings and internal annual conferences bring employees together from across the Group's worldwide sites allowing colleagues to formally and informally share information about the business and develop strong working relationships.
  • Engagement: We promote a friendly collegiate culture in which employees are encouraged to discuss their concerns and issues with their line managers and senior colleagues. The senior management team meets frequently to discuss employee matters and is supported by regular operational meetings attended by managers covering all of the Group's worldwide sites. During the year, we introduced an employee voice forum programme, to ensure that every employee has the opportunity to share their views with senior management and the Board.
  • Ethical behaviour: We expect employees, Directors, subcontractors and others to exercise the highest ethical standards at all times in respect of the relationships and dealings that Bloomsbury has with other third parties. Compliance with ethical behaviour Group policies such as for anti-bribery and corruption, dealing in Bloomsbury shares and anti-slavery and human trafficking is an employment term of Group employment contracts. Bloomsbury's Whistleblower policy (at www.bloomsbury-ir.co.uk) enables employees, other categories of workers and third parties to have any concerns relating to the Group confidentially addressed.
  • Employee development: Bloomsbury is acquisitive and has benefited from an intake of high calibre entrepreneurs who support the Group's capacity to innovate. The Group develops its management structure to serve the changing needs of the business. This creates opportunities for suitably high calibre individuals to progress to increasing levels of seniority as they gain capabilities and expertise. External recruitment is supported by territorial Human Resources functions, enabling vacancies across sites worldwide to be filled internally where employees of an appropriately high calibre seek new opportunities. Bloomsbury continues to expand the provision of training, mentoring and employee development programmes to provide employees with opportunities to grow their leadership and management capabilities.
  • Performance and merit: Senior employees agree personal objectives and are rewarded based on performance determined by business results and appraisals. Senior managers are accountable for the performance of their teams and determine the most appropriate approach to performance management for each team. Promotions and external recruitment are based on merit and ensure that the most suitable person is selected for each position.
  • Employee participation in share schemes: The Group offers UK employees the opportunity to participate in an all-employee HM Revenue & Customs approved Sharesave scheme to encourage employee participation in the performance and growth of the Group. High performing senior managers may also be eligible to participate in the Company's Long Term Incentive Plan.
  • Flexible working: We encourage family-friendly working practices such as flexible working hours and recognise that experienced employees returning to work following maternity, paternity or other career breaks are an asset. We have introduced Core Hours Working to encourage and support flexible working patterns.
  • Equality of opportunity: Bloomsbury has a diverse workforce and follows a policy that no employee or other person receives more or less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, colour, race and ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability or age. This extends to any person known to be HIV positive. The Human Resources function monitors compliance with the policy and with applicable legislative requirements to ensure the equality of opportunity in the recruitment, selection and promotion of employees. Grievance and disciplinary procedures protect employees from discriminatory behaviours and attitudes.
  • Disabled persons: Group policy is to offer equal treatment in respect of the recruitment, training, career development and promotion of disabled persons. Should people become disabled during the course of their employment, the Group will seek to retain their services and to provide retraining where necessary.
  • Human rights: Bloomsbury is committed to meeting its responsibility to respect human rights. The regional Human Resources managers monitor for human rights issues and ensure any remedial action that is needed is taken promptly. Bloomsbury is committed to complying with employment and other legislation applicable to the locations in which it employs people, ensuring the human rights of individuals are protected.