Printer boosts its turnover by £87m without HR team

An innovative approach to people management has helped printing firm Astron
increase its turnover by £87m in the past four years.

The company, which has dispensed with an HR department, has transformed
itself from three small in-house printing firms with a turnover of £13m in 1996
to a business-to-business supplier with a turnover of £100m last year.

Group operations director Kathy Woodward told the fourth Impact conference
in Windermere that the firm did not use a traditional board-led approach to
business strategy because the chief executive David Mitchell felt it would slow
the company down.

Woodward said every year Astron launches its business strategy for the next
12 months to every employee. The Way Ahead 2002 outlines the firm’s plans to
double its turnover to £200m while retaining its entrepreneurial spirit and
retaining its customer-based approach to training.

Roadshows and video presentations are used to communicate the strategy to
all staff.

Woodward said, "We try and paint a picture for the entire workforce of
where we want to get to. You need to use everybody in the organisation to help
you get there.

"Every director, every manager and every employee has a responsibility
for HR."

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