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Clydach takes silver!

August 11, 2021

Our Clydach Refinery’s focus on people has been recognized by Investors in People. From left: Peter Martin, technical manager; Matthew Ridyard, technical apprentice; Peter Rees, senior human resources business partner; Darren Poland, Plant manager; Jessica Roger, senior human resources business partner; Peter Hughes, learning and development coordinator. Photo: Vale Archive

When our Clydach Nickel Refinery (CNR) received the Silver Standard from Investors in People (IIP), a standard for people management, in July, it was the validation Peter Rees, senior human resources business partner, had long been seeking. 

“We know how important it is to invest in people,” Peter explained during a recent call with Vale News. “This accreditation signals that we’re investing heavily in the development, progression and performance of our team at Clydach.” 

Everything we do, we do together, and we’re united as one.

The benefits of that investment are obvious. According to the IIP, organizations that lead, support and develop their workforce effectively are 17 per cent more productive and 21 per cent more profitable.

What is IIP (and why is it important)? 

An achievement worth celebrating. Our Clydach Nickel Refinery earned the Silver Standard from Investors in People. Photo: Vale Archive

IIP is a business improvement tool designed to improve performance and realize objectives through the management and development of people, and it measures how well a company is leading and supporting its employees. 

Over 29 years, IIP has accredited more than 50,000 organizations and is a globally recognized benchmark for people management. When a new leadership team arrived in Clydach in 2018, one of its priorities was helping everyone realize their full potential. Peter reached out to IIP, and a dedicated consultant visited our Refinery to develop a three-year plan. 

This year, IIP conducted a review that consisted of interviews with leadership, a sitewide survey and additional one-on-one conversations with employees to determine, among other factors, how people feel about leadership, how high performance is rewarded, and how involved and empowered people are in the company. 

The result, a Silver, is encouraging. IIP concluded that people feel their work utilizes their skills and experience, are empowered to take initiative and make decisions and that there is a positive culture of continuous improvement, trust, innovation and creativity. 

Leading the pack

“We’re ahead of benchmark organizations in the manufacturing sector in the way we’re committed to developing, growing and looking after people in the workplace,” Peter said. Still, there is room to improve. 

“IIP certainly identified areas for development, like recognition and rewards,” he added. “We’re committed to making ourselves even better and we have the tools and techniques to take us forward.” The goal is to surpass the Silver Standard, attain Gold and, ultimately, Platinum. It’s a high standard few reach, but Peter, who has been with the company for more than 20 years, said he believes it’s possible. 

“The Silver Standard is a recognition of our workforce and of the hard work of everyone who works at the refinery,” he said. “We’re going to improve not only because there’s good connection and engagement, but because we’re one team. There’s mutual respect across the board. Everything we do, we do together, and we’re united as one.”

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