The success of the Group is dependent on the contribution and commitment of its management and staff.

The Group’s decentralised structure, which is appropriately supported at Group level, gives management and staff the autonomy to maximise their experience, expertise and skills both for their own career development and for the success of the Group.

Grafton is committed to high standards of employment practice across its businesses and aims to reward management and staff fairly by reference to skills, performance, peers and market conditions. Where appropriate, the Group provide incentives to management and staff through remuneration policies that promote commitment and reward achievement.

It is Group policy that all employees receive fair and equal treatment regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin, nationality, religion or disability.

Grafton is committed to offering equal opportunities to all individuals in their recruitment, training and career development having regard to their particular aptitudes and abilities. Training and development programmes are important to the business. Significant attention and resources are devoted to this area. Training programmes are organised internally by Group businesses and also in conjunction with external bodies, including the Builders Merchant Federation in the UK. These programmes  cover sales development, customer service, product training, health and safety and leadership skills. They help to ensure that the Group can develop, retain and attract the best individuals at all levels in the business. The Group aims to fill vacancies through internal promotions and to complement internal appointments with recruitment from outside of the organisation.

The Irish Merchanting business established a Leadership Academy during the year with a view to develop and retain strong leadership talent. The programme comprises a 22-module “Development Road Map” based on key leadership competencies including emotional intelligence, decision making, conflict management, entrepreneurship and interpersonal skills. The programme was shortlisted for the Irish Institute of Training and Development award for Best Leadership Development Initiative.

The Isero business in the Netherlands operates an in-house business academy to train apprentice customer service representatives.

The Group operates a Revenue-approved Save As You Earn Scheme (SAYE) that enables eligible UK employees to share in the success of the overall Group. The 2012 scheme matured during 2015. Participating employees purchased Grafton Units at a discount to the market price of the shares at the time the options were granted. There was also a material gain to employees as a result of the increase in the share price over the three year savings period.

During the year the Group issued a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics setting out the basic standards of behaviour which all employees (including contractors, agents and business partners) of the Group are expected to follow. In conjunction with this, the Group also issued a number of policies for adoption by its businesses concerning ethics and regulatory compliance including equality and diversity, antibribery and corruption and competition law compliance. The Group developed and rolled out e-learning modules for completion by employees in order to improve awareness of these policies.

“Speak-Up”, the group-wide confidential reporting service established during 2014, continued to provide an effective channel for employees to raise concerns to an independent third party regarding practices or conduct in their businesses including possible instances of fraud, theft, serious health and safety issues and other risks. All reports are logged by the third party and passed to the Group Internal Audit team for investigation. The individual making the report is kept appropriately informed of the progress of the investigation and its outcome through the reporting service. All concerns raised through this channel and the outcomes of investigations are reported to the Audit and Risk Committee. While Group policy encourages employees to raise any concerns with their manager in the first instance, this service provides an alternative reporting route if required.