Some bosses "consult" their workforce through online questionnaires whose rigid format often leaves little opportunity for real communication, but one Somerset cheese company stopped production for a day this week to listen to its staff.
All 170 staff at Norsland, the Norwegian-owned cheese factory at Ilchester, including the night shift, poured into the town hall for a conference.
The business has been known for innovation from the start. It was founded in 1962 as Ilchester Cheese Company, and was the first British cheese company to blend cheese with other ingredients. Founder Ken Seaton launched with cheddar blended with beer. That created quite a stir.
Norsland's parent company, TINE SA, acquired Ilchester Cheese Company in 2008, and today Norsland has an annual turnover approaching £50 million. The number of permanent employees has grown by 45 since 2008.