How Do We Live the Make Happy, Be Happy Culture?


One of the things we have missed the most in the last two years is getting together with our friends and colleagues, living and sharing happiness side by side, celebrating our achievements, special days and precious moments together. In addition to this longing, which is our common ground, I could hardly bear to be deprived of my GOYA visits, which I value very much. Fortunately, we are now free to share all the happiness and GOYA on condition that we follow all the rules for health!

So, at the first opportunity, I went GOYA to pladis Wigston factory in Leicester, England. This factory, which I could not visit for a long time, is an exceptional biscuit production facility. It has 230 employees and this number reaches 570 during peak seasons. The McVities Assorted Biscuits, beloved by the public, are produced here. The annual production capacity of the factory reaches 15000 tons. There are 10 production lines in the facility, where many different biscuits are produced, from chocolate covered to cream biscuits, salty, sweet and seasonal varieties.

However, this occasion wasn’t only about the facility visit. This time in Wigston, I had the pleasure of giving an “Instant Award,” which we attach great importance to at Yildiz Holding. I have mentioned it before on various occasions as the Instant Award is a part of our corporate culture. We give great importance to instantly appreciate success, encourage our colleagues and celebrate good news together. In my opinion, instant rewarding is a method that makes happiness permanent.

This year Brian Jones, the General Manager of our factory was awarded as the “Factory Manager of the Year” by The Grocer Magazine Gold Awards. This is one of the most prestigious awards for the industry in UK. During my Goya visit, I congratulated Brian for this achievement and immediately presented him the Instant Award. It was also a happy coincidence that this Instant Rewarding happened just before the Make Happy Be Happy Day, which we have been globally celebrating since 2014. It was a very joyful moment and good motivation for not only Brian but all the employees. We all saw how we can experience #makehappybehappy in our lives.

So what was the success of Brian Jones that made him to receive “The Grocer Gold Award” and our Instant Award? The city of Leicester, where our Wigston factory is located, has been one of the hardest hits by COVID19 in UK. With the lockdowns, consumers started to spend time at home and the demand for snacks exploded. It was necessary to increase production in order to keep up with this demand, but even producing regularly under these conditions became very difficult. Moreover, it was essential to pay maximum attention to health conditions to protect employee health.

Having worked in this industry for 37 years and been being an integral part of the McVities brand since 1984, Brian worked with his team putting great effort and dedication during this challenging times. He managed to continue production without sacrificing health and meet the increased demand by looking out for our employees, customers, and consumers. In addition to following the agenda closely, he also actively listened to our employees and relieved everyone’s concerns. He overcame this difficult period without making anyone suffer. In short, he demonstrated successful leadership. Thanks to Brian and his team, Wigston became a high performing pladis factory in the region.

During my visit to the factory, I realized that the happiness of Brian Jones’s award was reflected in all the empDuring my visit to the factory, I realized that the happiness of Brian Jones’s award was reflected in all the employees. The recognition of this success is seen on everyone’s faces. Very impressive and pleasing team spirit is felt throughout the facility. I have to say that most of the employees at Wigston have been with us for many years. Employee loyalty is very high, the average age at the facility is around 56. For example, one of the colleagues with whom I chatted with while walking through production lines, had been working with us for 44 years. An interesting coincidence is that another college had recently emigrated from Izmir. We are happy that people from all nationalities work happily and devoted at pladis facilities.

There has been a seasonally changing production rhythm as the factory produces gifting assorted biscuits in this period. The demand for our biscuits, which is indispensable for tea time, increases exponentially during special periods such as New Year’s Eve. As a matter of fact, some of our employees are with us throughout the year, while additional employees join us seasonally. Since we are mutually very satisfied with each other, most of them continue to return in the following years. I noticed that despite this intense work pace, everyone was smiling and happy; the facility was tidy, hygienic, and attentive to the pandemic rules at the highest level as always.

Of course, as it is my custom in every factory visit, I met with the union representatives of our workers, asked them about their conditions, their complaints, if any… Paul McGarry, an operator at our Wigston factory, is the union representative and a member of our EWC (European Work Council).

After I left Wigston with these good impressions and memories, I got a thank you message from Brian Jones. He described himself as a “proud pladisian” and said that all factory workers were very happy with the visit. With Brian’s message I once again realized the importance of our culture of feedback, appreciation, reward and GOYA. This is how the mentality and mission of our founders are maintained within our culture,

Make Happy Be happy.

Congratulations, Wigston and Brian Jones!

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