Employee Wellbeing at RML’s Heart

Employee Wellbeing at RML’s Heart

The physical and mental wellbeing of Robinson Manufacturing’s teams across the country is a topic CEO Sam Gartside feels strongly about, so much so that it is numbered among her top three strategic objectives for the business:

“To prioritise the mental and physical wellbeing of our teams as we continue to build the business.”

And as Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 draws to a close, Sam is proud of what the business has been able to achieve around this objective:

“Every business relies on its people, and particularly so in a relatively people intensive manufacturing business like RML. Our people show us a huge amount of loyalty and commitment every day and we, in turn, need to make sure we recognise the impact of sheer hard work on physical and mental wellbeing. Just paying people is really only half of the story in terms of the transaction staff make when they go to work every day.

“Where possible flexible and hybrid working are considered, and while our wonderful QESH team focus continually on the physical safety of all our staff, they have also driven the introduction of Mental Health First Aiders to the business, now being rolled out to all sites, helping us to break down barriers to asking for help and the surrounding stigma.

“Wellness Days, an initiative by our HR team, give staff the opportunity to take a break when they need it most, without worrying about losing holiday entitlement or pay – and are proving immensely popular.

“Our market leading Employee Benefits platform, available to all employees through LimeBee Business doesn’t just give staff access to a same day telephone or online GP appointment (so important when there is so much difficulty accessing NHS primary Care services), but also to confidential helplines for a range of needs from bereavement and mental health counselling to debt, money and personal legal issues.

“Last but by no means least – and an issue very close to my heart – we have just made significant improvements to our parental leave and pregnancy loss provision to make sure that we are supporting all employees with appropriate leave and financial support through what can be a very stressful period emotionally and financially. We are now among the leaders of our industry for this support.

“We won’t stop here. Truly prioritising the physical and mental wellbeing of our people means we will always be reviewing their needs, both as a staff body and as individuals. We already know there are other areas we want to look at, including supporting colleagues with caring responsibilities. My Senior Leadership Team are all aware of this objective, and my door is always open to other initiatives that will help demonstrate our loyalty to and care for our staff.”

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.

Introducing Wellness Days

Introducing Wellness Days

Much has been written about wellbeing in the workplace since the start of the pandemic and like most businesses, Robinson Manufacturing (RML) has been working hard to ensure that all our colleagues have access to the wellbeing and mental health resources and support they may need, including counselling. We have also trained a number of people as Mental Health First Aiders.

Just as importantly, we recognise that prevention is better than cure, and that we can all, from time to time, get over tired and overworked. Not only is this bad for the business, but it’s bad for individuals’ mental health and can lead to burnout, a combination of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.

So in an innovative move, RML has introduced Wellness Days across the business, giving employees the chance to take care of their mental health. Head of HR Anna Kennedy explains “Put simply, Wellness Days are designated time-off that an employee can use to recharge themselves, putting them in the right headspace for their jobs.”

This leave is provided in addition to regular annual leave and employees are entitled to one day every three months. As employees are encouraged to use the days for preventative physical and mental health, to positively impact their wellbeing. These days do not carry over to the next three-month period as the whole point is to use them! 

If you’re interested in a career with RML, please visit our careers page or email hr@rmuk.co.uk.

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.

Renewing IOSH Training Capability

Renewing IOSH Training Capability

Robinson Manufacturing (RML) has recently had our renewal to deliver IOSH Managing Safely in-house for another year. This is a market-leading health and safety course for line managers, designed to provide all managers with the confidence to and enthusiasm to apply this knowledge in their own workplace. It improves the safety awareness culture in organisations and sees productivity increase too.

So, what benefits do delegates gain from attending our IOSH training capability course?

They will be able to better understand what their responsibilities are and how they can mitigate or prevent incidents happening a first time or happening again. The training also shows delegates how to complete incident forms for all accidents and near miss incidents. We show delegates how to give more details to provide a better review of risk assessments and how to put additional controls in place, where possible, to reduce the risk of incidents recurring in the future.

QESH Director Matt Davies commented: “Our IOSH training capability course gives staff around RML the confidence to undertake accident investigations and complete fact-finding interviews too. In turn, the course will give them more confidence when confronting or challenges colleagues who are not adhering to site health and safety rules.”

By ensuring that our leadership team renew their IOSH training capability course we can be sure that they, their colleagues and others on site are safe from potential accidents or incidents.

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.

WhatHouse Awards Winners Reception

WhatHouse Awards Winners 2021 Reception

With the 2021 What House Awards physical event cancelled because of the pandemic, last night’s WhatHouse Awards Winners’ Reception at the Natural History Museum was a chance to focus on and celebrate the achievements of the housebuilding sector last year.

After two years of the pandemic, the 41st What House Awards, last year, was the first to be held in person for a while and was a glittering event hosted by Claire Balding.

Robinson Manufacturing Ltd (RML) was present to celebrate all the winners but especially to congratulate those who won awards in the Best Medium Housebuilder category, sponsored by the business for the third year in a row by RML, in 2021.

Best Medium Housebuilder – sponsored by Robinsons Manufacturing Ltd



SilverWeston Homes

BronzeChurchill Retirement Living

BronzeBewley Homes

Congratulations to these and all the worthy winners, and we look forward to seeing you all again  at this years awards on November 18th at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel.

The full list of winners can be found on the WhatHouse website, and you can download the Judges Report. There is also regular coverage of the awards on our LinkedIn page.

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.

Moving Production in Wales

Moving our Operation In Wales

Towards the end of 2021, we acquired the assets of CastleOak Timber Frame, from administration. The business had space and well-established manufacturing lines and was just up the road from our existing site in Abercarn, South Wales.

We were keen to develop the site at Abercarn as we knew we needed to grow to benefit the business, however planning permission was proving difficult.

The team and the factory were performing brilliantly at Abercarn. However, the factory was nearing its capacity and the time when this could potentially hold back the team and the business from moving forward was fast approaching.

The CastleOak factory in Ebbw Vale gave us  a new site with established Timber Frame facilities along with room for current production and the potential future expansion. The proximity of the site to our existing factory meant that staff could choose to move with us, and we are grateful that so many have.

Operational requirements meant that we had just two months to move from the old site to the new one and huge credit goes to all those people involved in facilitating the move. Special mention also goes to those that ensured minimum downtime in production to ensure minimal disruption to the business and our clients.

We had an incredible team that stayed at Abercarn until the very end and a fantastic team at the other end, helping us move production capacity to our new site.

Robinson Manufacturing (RML) and the team are now settled in at the new site in Ebbw Vale. The move has enabled us to manufacture roof trusses, spandrel panels and open and close panel systems from a single site without the immediate restrictions we faced in Abercarn.

General Manager Matt Korny is delighted with how the cross functional team engaged with the move performed. “As soon as the decision to consolidate our operations in Wales was made, the project plan kicked in.” He continued: “Every part of RML was involved in one way or another and the resulting multi-product manufacturing facility puts us in a great place to continue to develop the business.”

In future blogs, find our about infrastructure development and machinery moves that went into the move.

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.

Navigating the New Normal

Tranquillity in Chaos – Navigating the New Normal.

A blog update from Simon Kidney

It started around the 20th January 2013. We just didn’t know it then. Nine years later it is still going, with the conflict in Ukraine the latest eruption in what so many considered an established world order.

Did you know that less time elapsed between the T-Rex and the iPhone than between the first dinosaurs and the T-Rex? No? The ‘reflection points’ that a five year-old can give you are immense, simplistic yet profound. We are here for just a heartbeat in the world’s cycle.

Ah, so, back to 2013. What happened? As I recall David Cameron told the House of Commons that the British people must have their say on the future relationship with the EU. Whether in or out, they must have the vote. Subsequently the Conversative party won the forthcoming election, and we didn’t suffer chaos and confusion under Labour and, particularly, Ed Miliband. Phew.

The last nine years following that have been relatively quiet and calm. Honest.

Now of course we cannot blame the Brexit debate and some of the social divides it created for COVID 19, various invasions, global recessions, global supply chain shortages, energy crises and widespread anxiety but we can pinpoint it as a significant stake in the sand, a moment from which we can identify, bluntly, that ten years isn’t a long time in history. It is likely to have been the first time in generations where society had been so divided, yes or no, certainly the first time such polarisation has been coupled with social media, with the great expertise debates a familiar thing on feeds and threads. Everyone has an opinion.

Conversation is great, debate is great, both should be rational, considered and measured. More importantly it should be encouraged. The challenge with such black and white terms such as right and wrong is they discourage conversation. Nobody likes to be wrong; everyone wants to be right. Yet science, and the literature tells us, that you can be right and wrong at the same time. It tells us further that a good deal of the time the debate is far more generous in benefit than the conclusion. Furthermore, humans tend to invest their emotional capital much more wisely without risk of conflict. The human mind is tired and its emotional capital needs to be used sparingly. There is so much to think about and consider in today’s world. The brain is an organ but acts very much like a muscle. Recovery time is paramount. Bandwidth is currently at capacity and strained. Dopamine appears, on the face of it, to be in short supply. (Other friendly chemicals do exist, so don’t feel left out Serotonin, Endorphin or Oxytocin)

If you could indulge me briefly, when I was a boy I grew up with a poster in my lounge with the words from Desiderata, a poem by Max Ehrmann, from 1927. For ease I’ve copied and pasted for your consideration,

“GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

A text that is 95 years old, from a very different world (albeit inter war) from today but the same encouragements are relevant today as they were yesterday.

As an owner of a business that employees 250 people who rely on you daily, I can confess to ignoring Max’s words. But at a personal wellbeing cost. Following your own code, or a code like the above gives you your own personal strategy without which, aimlessness can manifest and a sense of purpose and belonging diminish.

If I can share some last thoughts to try and assist navigation through the chaos,

  • Take a break. Take a walk. Take time out. Remember to give your mind time to recover. Healthy body, healthy mind. You aren’t invincible as much as you like to think you are.
  • Social media is great for connecting but we are information rich and conversation poor. Manage it, delete it, mute it. Engage with channels that make you feel happy. Exclude channels that make you feel anxious.
  • The world is not normal. But normal is a perception. The world is now perfectly normally but it is a normal that we aren’t used to or comfortable with. Whilst it is important to have a say and utilise your freedom to air those views, freedom of speech isn’t freedom of consequence. Consider where the views are targeted and how perception, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
  • You can’t control the uncontrollable. You can only control how you react. We have become socially poor at managing our own risk, or at least considering risk vs reward. We can’t stop a Syrian, Libyan, Afghanistan, Ukraine invasion and war but we can empathise and demonstrate humanity. Controlling how we react will shape how others react, don’t underestimate your personal influence. History tells us that the good always does out. Take comfort that will never change.
  • Reset your own personal values of what good looks like. Is it realistic (I’m not expecting your own SWOT analysis!) Set yourself little, tiny wins. One today, two tomorrow. Make someone else smile. Write them a note. Everyone is involved in their own personal battles.

There are of course many more and the idea behind this blog is to inspire a little thinking, a little conversation and a little context.

The couch to 5k for some people is an absolute horrific thought, me included, but it sets realistic targets daily to improve your fitness.

The brain is no different. One smile today leads to two smiles tomorrow including making someone else smile, nothing beats that feeling. Before you know it, the chaos is normal, the resilience is stronger and you’re smiling. A bit like you’re doing now.

Embrace the new norm, and remember what opportunities there are in chaos.


Simon Kidney is Exec Chair of Robinson Manufacturing alongside other entrepreneurial activities across several sectors. Simon is currently researching entrepreneurial exit motivations through internal and external forces as a Doctoral student at Cranfield University School of Management.


For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.