Gooch & Housego

Simplifying the pay and grading structures

“Watershed's review process was prompt and thorough and they provided clear options and recommendations that gave us what we needed to tackle the problems we had identified."

Gooch & Housego is a photonics technology business headquartered in Ilminster Somerset, UK with operations in the USA and Europe.  A world leader in its field, the company researches, designs, engineers and manufactures advanced photonic systems, components and instrumentation for applications in the Aerospace and Defence, Industrial, Life Sciences and Scientific Research sectors.  World leading design, development and manufacturing expertise is offered in a broad range of complementary technologies.


The organisation has predominantly grown through acquisitions.  And the focus now is on improving efficiency, customer service and establishing a more scalable organisational model for future growth.  Previously independent sites are being organised into manufacturing centres according to their areas of technical expertise, processes are being harmonised and people allocated to make best use of their talent.


Customer facing business units, which mirror market sectors. are being introduced and this new operating model will be underpinned by improved business systems.


Watershed was asked to support the review of the current pay and benefits arrangements at its main UK site in Ilminster.  The objectives of the review were:


  • to simplify and standardise overly complex, yet unstructured, existing arrangements

  • to deal with problems in market pay and attracting suitably skilled workers in a relatively isolated and small target market

  • to tackle the related issues of attrition and an ageing workforce

  • to create a framework for the future.

  • The review included analysing data, on site meetings with employees and managers and external benchmarking.


Our recommendations set out:


  • a new grading framework

  • new pay rates for each grade, along with the rationale

  • revised overtime rates, including for seven-day and bank holiday working

  • other changes in terms and conditions of employment to accommodate the proposed changes.

Andrew McBride, Head of Global Human Resources said “Watershed's review process was prompt and thorough and they provided clear options and recommendations that gave us what we needed to tackle the problems we had identified.  The team was professional, credible and helped us with a subsequent piece of work supporting the introduction of the new operating model”

Watershed is regulated by the  Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS).

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