We continue to help growing Kent based businesses value their employer brand enabling them to access the professional skills they need to grow cost effectively. We have known master tea blender Alex Probyn from Blends for Friends for many years and have seen the business evolve and grow into the leading manufacturer it is today.

Back in 2006 the entire business was run from Alex’s home and was originally based on creating bespoke tea blends for the gift market.  It soon became clear that the world had rapidly grown their thirst for high quality custom blended tea and the operation was scaled up to provide private label tea blending and packing services for a much wider array of customers from private to corporate’s globally. This scale – up included larger premises and an increase in the blends team.

Valuing the employer brand

With this growth,  it was essential to get the right people, at the core of this is the passion for producing a first-class premium product which is felt throughout the customer journey. This spans across all departments, from warehouse operatives through to the operations team and into product development.

Over this period of growth, elements of the business were situated in different locations and effective team collaboration was difficult to achieve. It was decided to move the whole operation onto one site. The new premises situated across 25,000 square feet in the Kent countryside is very open plan with a team restaurant and break out spaces which can be accessed by everyone.

Development of home-grown talent is an integral part of progression within the company as well as diversity.Today the team has grown to 48 and with this investment in people, it was necessary to add an experienced HR executive to help with the integration of new software, but to also continue developing the employee experience and policies within the firm

A positive case for flexible working

Whilst it was important to find the right person the role did not require someone working in a traditional 9-5 pattern. Alex had said “we believe we have a great talent pool in the business enabling us to achieve such high standards, something we may not have achieved had we been less flexible in our approach

In fact 30% of the team are already working part-time hours so this was not a new concept to the business, with 80% of the workforce taking advantage of the flexible working policies already in place. Ten2Two were able to introduce Sarah to the business, an experienced HR executive who had experience of working within a manufacturing environment so understood the business needs but also specialised in employee relations, something that is a crucial part of the continued growth of the business. Sarah works approximately three days per week with some ability to flex this when required.

Since recruiting Sarah, we have had the pleasure of working with her on recruiting another flexible member to the quality assurance team which has been great. Our amazing community never cease to amaze us, and we love nothing more than seeing them add value to such a creative local business. We are looking forward to slurping more of their lovely tea and working with Alex and the team again in the future.


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