Our Colleagues

Bloomsbury’s success is driven by the expertise and commitment of our workforce. We want to attract the highest-calibre employees. Fostering a positive culture and employee experience is a top priority for the Company and has informed the actions taken during 2022/2023 to help our colleagues feel supported and engaged and to work well.

The Board and Executive Committee are committed to fostering a culture of partnership and trust, and to making life at Bloomsbury welcoming, rewarding, engaging and productive. Bloomsbury supports individual and collective success through effective employee engagement and support, comprehensive training and development opportunities, and the implementation of reward schemes which recognise our colleagues’ contribution to Bloomsbury’s success.

Bloomsbury’s culture continues to evolve through our publishing, our HR initiatives and our work on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, directed at capturing the full potential of the talented people who work at Bloomsbury and driving value for our stakeholders. Maintaining a good culture also relies on policies and procedures that equip colleagues to make the right decisions and effective channels through which to raise concerns. These include the Group’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Whistleblowing Policies, and HR policies directed at preventing bullying, harassment and discrimination.

In June 2023, Karl Burnett will join Bloomsbury in the newly created role of Group Director of People and Engagement and as a member of the Executive Committee, to drive forward Bloomsbury’s employee engagement, communications, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Sustainability strategies and ensure that Bloomsbury continues to innovate and advance in these important areas.

Employee engagement

We recognise the importance of a culture built on open engagement and information sharing, and Bloomsbury has in place a wide range of channels to engage with employees and keep them informed about business performance, HR policies, training and development opportunities and other matters which concern them.

A key element of our engagement strategy is our Employee Voice Programme, which promotes an open dialogue between those who work for Bloomsbury and the Executive Committee and Board.

Running globally, colleagues are encouraged to share their views on Bloomsbury as a publisher and employer. Employee Voice Meetings (“EVMs”) are held routinely throughout the year, with a selection of employees from different levels across the Group being invited to attend scheduled meetings by rotation. These meetings provide every employee with the opportunity to share their views on anything from Bloomsbury’s strategy, communications, training, compensation and benefits, to ideas on how to make Bloomsbury a better place to work. Members of the Executive Committee chair the meetings on rotation; Non-Executive Directors are also invited to attend. Employees share their views on the understanding that matters discussed will not be attributed to particular individuals in reports on meeting outcomes, which are provided to the rest of the Executive Committee and the Board. The Executive Committee and the Board receive the minutes of EVMs on an anonymous basis, together with a list of the key themes arising out of them.

This form of engagement with employees across the Group enables senior management and the Directors of Bloomsbury to keep a finger on the pulse of the organisation and to gain unfiltered feedback from employees. The Board and the Executive Committee discuss and approve new policies and actions based on the views expressed at these meetings.

EVMs also provide an effective means for the Board and senior management to monitor the Company’s culture in order to ensure that it aligns with the Company’s values and purpose, and continues to support the delivery of the Company’s strategy.

Monthly global Town Halls are hosted alternatively by the Chief Executive and Executive Committee Members, presenting company strategy, business news and issues across the industry and reporting on Group-wide initiatives. Our twice-annual global Bloomsbury Publishing Highlights event brings colleagues together from all areas of the business to present and celebrate upcoming publishing plans and the most exciting titles in the pipeline. New starter meetings occur monthly in the UK and US to introduce Bloomsbury, its values, purpose and mission to new colleagues. Our weekly global employee-generated newsletter, the ‘Illustrated Bloomsbury News’, focuses on company news, initiatives and updates, as well as celebrating achievements for colleagues, authors and books. The introduction is written by the Chief Executive every other week and by members of senior management in the alternative weeks.

The Company also runs confidential pulse surveys to seek feedback from colleagues on a variety of matters, including Company culture.

Inclusion and belonging

We believe that a commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DE&I”) makes Bloomsbury a better place to work, drives business success and supports our relationship with our communities. Embedding DE&I initiatives in our culture improves the Group’s ability to attract talent and improves retention rates. We understand that fostering a working environment which values differences and in which colleagues feel welcome and included increases engagement levels, improves working relationships and leads to greater creativity and productivity.

Supporting our colleagues

Like many other organisations, the way we work has evolved following the pandemic. Our hybrid working arrangements, introduced after the end of lock-downs, support work–life balance for Bloomsbury colleagues. Colleagues work a full day, with core hours being from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm to allow for flexible start and finish times, enabling colleagues to balance wider personal and family responsibilities with their work. Our hybrid working policy is based on two days in the office and three days at home per week. Office days are allocated to specific teams to facilitate team connection and collaboration. Flexible Fridays allow employees to work additional hours between Monday and Thursday if they wish to finish at lunchtime on Fridays. These policies are designed to help our colleagues be as productive as possible, while benefitting from flexibility and maintaining team collaboration and connection. In preparation for the return to our offices in September 2022 and the full implementation of our hybrid working policy, we invested in upgrading meeting room technology to enable teams to connect well with one another and with partners virtually.

Our broader approach to supporting colleagues includes investing in a flexible range of benefits.

Our annual leave policy grants all employees paid holiday between Christmas and New Year to allow for a restorative year end break.

We actively promote a culture that places importance on mental health. All employees are entitled to take two paid Personal Wellness Days in support of mental health and wellbeing, an initiative introduced during the pandemic, which we have made a permanent benefit. Our global Employee Assistance Programme supports employee wellbeing and mental health. Provided by Workplace Options, the programme gives all employees free access to counselling and support for work and personal issues. We have trained members of staff across our London and Oxford offices to be Mental Health First Aiders. These members of staff are equipped to provide confidential peer-to-peer support and guidance to those in need and help us build a mentally healthy workplace.

Our colleague-run Staff Networks also play an important role in supporting and connecting colleagues and promoting wellbeing through inclusion and a sense of belonging.

Globally, we offer free access to appointments with two company doctors, general practitioners, providing no-barrier access to medical advice for all staff. In January 2023, we engaged a second company doctor to meet increasing demand.

Our Home Rental Deposit Loan Scheme ensures that UK employees in early career roles can secure a suitable place to live.

Our parental leave policies promote gender equality and recognise the need to balance career progression with personal and family life. They include enhanced shared parental leave and an increased period of discretionary company maternity and adoption leave pay.

Supporting our colleagues through the cost-of-living crisis

During the year, global inflation and an increase in energy prices led to an increase in the cost of living in many countries, including those in which the Group has offices. Bloomsbury responded to these challenges with the following package of support for colleagues and their families:

  • A cost-of-living pay increase of £1,000 in October 2022 for UK, US and Australia employees (tailored to our India office to reflect local economic conditions and salaries).
  • A one-time cost-of-living payment of £1,250 in February 2023 for UK, US and Australia employees (tailored to our India office to reflect local economic conditions and salaries).
  • A 6% salary increase from 1 March 2023.

Training and development

n 2021/2022 we recruited a dedicated Training Manager and launched a comprehensive Learning and Development Training Programme for employees. Designed to support staff at all levels and in all areas of the Company, the training programme helps develop skills in support of career progression. The training is focused on four key themes: Core Skills, Management Training, LinkedIn Learning, and DE&I and Wellness. The programme will be expanded in future years.

In May 2021, we launched The Bloomsbury Diploma in Leadership and Management, run by our third-party training provider, Corndel. In September 2022, the first cohort of 28 colleagues graduated and we were delighted to enrol our second cohort of 25 new participants into the 2022 programme.

Executive coaching is provided to employees in senior management roles who wish to enhance their personal and professional development to support the performance of their management roles.

In the UK, our mentoring scheme facilitates senior, peer, and reverse mentoring and builds networks and connections across all departments and Divisions. The scheme also promotes the sharing of experiences by colleagues from different professional and personal backgrounds, and supports Bloomsbury’s focus on DE&I.

The Company provides training to employees in Unconscious Bias and Allyship in the Workplace, and events and talks run variously by the Communications team and our Staff Networks highlight national and international awareness moments, such as Disability History Month, Black History Month and Pride.

Bloomsbury’s formal appraisal programme provides the opportunity for colleagues to give and receive feedback on performance and to discuss opportunities for training and career development through the setting of objectives.

Bloomsbury’s Apprentice Scheme

We are committed to nurturing new talent regardless of background: since 2021, we have welcomed 26 Apprentices to Bloomsbury in partnership with the LDN Apprenticeship Scheme, which is rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted. Of the 14 apprentices who have so far completed the programme, nine have secured permanent roles at Bloomsbury and three have secured roles at other publishing houses.

Reward and recognition

Being recognised and fairly rewarded is important to colleagues everywhere, and fair pay brings benefits for families, communities and our business.

Bloomsbury complies with the UK Living Wage rates, although the nature of our business means that colleagues typically receive compensation which significantly exceeds that.

All Bloomsbury employees participate in the Group bonus scheme, which is based on the achievement of Group profit targets set at the beginning of the financial year. The scheme acknowledges the vital role our colleagues play in Bloomsbury’s ongoing success, and allows them to share in this success.

In the UK, employees are eligible to participate in an employee HM Revenue & Customs approved Sharesave scheme to enable employee participation in the performance and growth of the Group. Executive Committee members are also eligible to participate in the Company’s Long Term Incentive Plan.

The Company Annual Salary Review is effective from 1 March each year, with employees with at least six months’ service at that date benefitting from any Group-wide pay increase from year to year.

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