Brand refresh and long service awards at HPP

Date published: 24 June 2024

Hill’s Panel Products (HPP) has launched a new era for the firm’s branding and marketing with a big nod to its heritage and the people who have made significant contributions towards it.

That’s because HPP, which celebrated its 30th anniversary three years ago, unveiled a branding refresh on the same day as it launched a long service awards programme, which began by honouring a dozen employees all with a minimum of 25 years’ service.

During a lunch reception at HPP’s Oldham base, each long serving employee was awarded a commemorative certificate and a plaque.

They also receive two days’ extra annual holiday for as long as they are employed at the firm, which makes and supplies board, doors and components for the fitted furniture industry, particularly kitchens and bedrooms.

MD Keith Wardrope told the gathering: “Today is a special occasion – special because we don’t often get the opportunity to publicly thank our work colleagues for the many years’ service they have devoted to HPP.

“Here alone, we have a combined total of 339 years worked by the 12 people invited today.

"On top of that, we have plenty of people that we hope will catch up with you one day.

"I believe that is a reflection on the job satisfaction and security you have felt, knowing that you are not just a number on a clock card but an important part of a family company that puts people first.

“The knowledge you have acquired over all these years is irreplaceable and this is what adds to the unique culture of HPP.

"I ask you to place all that invaluable expertise and experience into mentoring and helping up-and-coming colleagues so they can also make a similar contribution to all our futures.”

And Mr Wardrope paid special tribute to the two female employees among the group, adding: “It’s not really fair to single anyone out, but I would like to give a little mention to Carole (Hamnett-Sadler, HR Manager) and Lesley (Minshull, Sales Administrator) for working in what has been a male-dominated environment.

“Carole has supported many of us over the years and has always done it with such care and dedication.

"And Lesley – she is an absolute inspiration to us all.

"At 72, she just keeps going.

"She has gone through lots of changes in her career and just gets on with it.”

Speaking after the ceremony Carole, who started in October 1997, said: “I came in as an apprentice from college to do the accounts.

"I then moved into credit control and as the company developed I moved into HR, and I’ve been there 22 years now.

“We’ve grown over the years but there’s still that family feel.

"I still love coming to work, there’s never a day when I think, I don’t want to go in today.”

Lesley, who started in February 1999, said: “It was mind-boggling when I started, there was that much to learn.

"It seemed like the amount of work was astronomical and now it’s even bigger the place has grown so much.

"But it’s a great company to work for, very family oriented.”

HPP, which is based in Oldham with a trade counter in Sheffield, began operating when founder Malcolm Hill led a de-merger from neighbouring George Hill Timber.

He was joined by his sons Martin and Stephen, who still run the business today along with MD Keith Wardrope.

One of the staff who made the move from ‘next door’ was Production Manager Terry Shaw, who said: “When I first started, we had just one building, which is where the offices and trade counter is now, and there were about 20 of us.

“I think the long service awards are a great idea.

"We did something for our 20th anniversary and now here we are all these years. It’s amazing.”

The long service programme will now include all lengths of service in five-year increments with the rewards increasing with each milestone – 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years.

Members of each group are listed in reception and in the firm’s marketing suite.

The 12-strong cohort of employees with 25 years or more service are: Carole Hamnett-Sadler, HR; Lesley Minshull and Shankar Das, both Sales; Terry Shaw, Panel Production; Trevor Ross and Chris Pulman, both Transport; Antony Platt, Warehouse; Carl Worrall and Phil Eaton, both Vinyl Doors; Mike Dawson, Sheffield trade counter; Richard Tague, Stock Doors; Garry Paul, Sliding Doors.

Meanwhile, the refreshed branding is part of a renewed marketing strategy devised by HPP’s long-standing marketing partner, Cornerstone Design and Marketing

Dan Mounsey, HPP’s Marketing and Business Development Director, explained: “It’s 33 years since HPP started and we noticed we had a significant number of people who have worked here for 20 years or more, including a dozen who have been here even longer, so we thought it was appropriate that we publicly say thank you and reward them for their loyalty.

“At the same time, we’ve been working with Cornerstone on a brand refresh and an updated marketing strategy, and as it’s all come to fruition together, it made sense to look to the future while acknowledging those whose loyalty to HPP have helped to create what we have today.”

Mr Wardrope added: “Loyalty and dedication are something special in this day and age, when job hopping is fashionable, the continual search for better opportunities and new experiences means that staff seldom stay longer than a few years in one place.”

The new-look branding has been created by Cornerstone’s longest serving employee, Senior Designer Nicola Adamson, who is the daughter of Martin Hill.

She explained: “HPP didn’t want a total re-brand and were keen to keep certain elements to preserve the heritage and trust within their existing brand, which has stood the test of time.

"I’ve kept the core fabric of the name and brand intact due to the significant value and loyalty within it.

“After extensive research, workshops and creative development, we have created a refreshed brand identity that has evolved their old branding yet is memorable and consistent.

"It is clean and premium in its approach, whilst maintaining a clear nod to the old brand in terms of the colour pallet and abstract ‘board’ shapes, which are used within both the logo itself and wider marketing materials.”

First formed to supply melamine-faced chipboard (MFC) components to the fitted kitchen and bedroom industry, HPP’s range of merchandise has expanded significantly over the years, with more than 7,000 products now being sold.

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