Human Resources

Human resources and putting our people first

Our core purpose in the business is to contribute to its success. It’s about putting our people first. We lead the development of people strategy which is truly embedded within the needs of the business and the experience of working at Frontline.

We are proud of our culture and believe it is pivotal in driving our continued growth and innovation. Against this backdrop, HR works collaboratively, right across the group, to enable everyone to maximise their potential.

Staff well-being is a priority

We run a Thrive programme. This is about putting health and well-being at the top of our ‘to do’ list and this philosophy applies to absolutely everyone in the business.

Each month we cover a different aspect of health and well-being. Topics range from mental health and resilience workshops, eating more healthily, step challenges, from couch to 5K, and how we feel about ‘SAD’, the seasonal affective disorder. We time these to fit in with the relevant period of the year. There’s also ‘Giving something back’ where staff have two days a year to give to their registered charity.

In addition to Thrive, we have an Accelerator Hub. This is primarily a development forum where staff put themselves forward to be part of it and work on projects – this can be anything from a ‘people survey’ to helping out with one of our Thrive themes.

Mapping out individual plans

We listen to feedback and we act on it. There are no formal appraisals. Instead, everyone has a development map. They will usually go out of the business for a chat with their boss. One to ones are essential and communicating with each other to ensure everyone ‘gets’ the strategy and where we are heading as a business, is key.

We’re also big on reward and recognition; we have a culture of saying ‘thank you’ for doing your job really well. Bosses choose themselves how they want to reward their staff, as they know them best.

Learning and development

In an ambitious business like ours there is a lot of learning and development opportunities. Courses are announced for people to jump on and many of these are booked up in a matter of minutes. Staff are hungry for development which is fantastic.

Some courses are internal (learning lunches) as we want to lead by example and learn the Frontline way. We also organise lots of online learning (such as Ted talks). But when we need to, we will always invest in external learning.

Fun is part of the culture too

We have a ‘Mojo’ team who organise the ‘fun’ parts of work. That covers a multitude of social stuff from bake sales and charity activities to pub nights out, quizzes. These are over and above the Frontline annual awards, summer barbecue and Christmas party, of course!


Finance team is integral to the business

Finance is not isolated from the business, it is integral. Our team has to be close to what’s happening, otherwise how can we help and that is essential.

Diversity of the finance team

As a forward-thinking business, that’s not prepared to stand still, our finance team performs a lot of functions over and above the regular. Working up business case scenarios from a cost and problem-solving perspective is a prime example. The bespoke nature of the business needs a bespoke approach.

Anyone currently working in a finance team, wherever you are in the world, understands there are standard tasks you will have to do. But, here, we are a conduit between the publishers and the retailers – this means a lot of the costs we process can’t simply sit against our profit and loss account, they are charged back out.

In addition to this, with our shareholders to consider and third party clients too, life in the finance team is varied, fast-paced and never ever dull. We even find time to provide first-line legal advice.

Developing the team from within

Our culture is to develop and train from within and jumping from one skill set to another within Frontline is not uncommon. The opportunities for you to grow as a person are there.

Our finance team are made up of purchase ledgers, sales ledgers and jobs in management accounts and commercial accounts. Our people have to be system-centric; have a mind for systems and a real interest in delving deeper.

Category Management

Category Management team

Management of range and display is the single most important factor to get right when retailing magazines and we give it our full attention.

Our category management teams work with retailers to shape future strategy, improving visual merchandising, influencing store layout, providing customer insight and shopper mission management – everything to ensure each store maximises the return on space.

Industry leaders in category management

Our Frontline category management team is consistently scored as industry leading and is an essential part of our retail facing offer.

In a tough trading environment our approach is to look at every challenge through an optimistic lens – and our performance reflects this. Our starting point is to take the challenge and work backwards from, to find the solution.

Category management in retailing

We are ambitious about our capabilities and this benefits our retailers who can see real change for the better. This always works best where we can establish a partnership arrangement.

We are delighted to say we are acquiring new retailers all the time and these relationships are based upon straight talking which earns mutual respect. We are also proud of the fact that in the retail universe we are widely accepted as the experts.

Supporting our publishing partners

With our publishing partners, we are thought leaders. Previously, we used to have a more passive role but now it is often the Frontline category managers who are leading the agenda.

We want to challenge the status quo in this industry – for all the right reasons – and our publishers appreciate this and see the value and benefit to them of us doing so.

For the category management team – from account management roles through to category management and shopper marketing and insight jobs – all of whom are self-starters, self-motivators, with a lot of autonomy, this is an immensely rewarding area of the Frontline business to be working in right now.

Information Services

Working in Information Services

When we recruit, we look for people who are curious, who like to push the boundaries, think outside the box, where they see their work environment as a real incentive. This is a modern workplace with access to great tools to do the job, and where you can see the possibilities to develop. Nowhere is this truer than Information Services.

Traditional and modern roles

We have nearly 40 people working in the Information Services team from the more traditional roles – writing programmes and package systems, looking after the infrastructure and running the service desk – to the more modern.

It’s all about the data – turning vast quantities of raw data into actionable knowledge for our publishers. Daily, we collect an enormous amount of sales information from the major retailers and wholesaler networks which enable us to provide internal analysis for the business going forward, as well as reports and incredibly detailed analysis for our partners.

It’s all about the data

A team of business and data integrity analysts, data solutions developers, analyst programmers and commercial insight analysts dig into the data to ensure we are aware of every market change and can respond accordingly.

Equally, they use these insights to continually develop new ideas and rethink and refresh processes and systems, which keeps us as market leaders and at the cutting edge of our industry.  

Award-winning team

Who said data wasn’t creative? We push things, we push ideas, we don’t accept the status quo; we challenge ourselves and the market we work in all the time. This is why people in the team win awards for data analytics and are invited to guest speak at data software conferences.

There’s never been a more exciting time to be part of the business particularly within Information Services where data influences and drives positive change for us, every day of the week.

Supply Chain

Supply chain is at the heartbeat of our business

The supply chain is fundamental to driving sales and improving profitability for our publishers. By supporting and working closely with all our partners and third-party clients we can ensure that our allocation, to 50,000 UK and Irish outlets, is right every time.

To achieve this we have to be agile, creative, forward thinking and fleet of foot – all natural elements of our magazine supply chain operation.

Benefits for publishers

Improving efficiency through change is part and parcel of supply chain management and the best recent example we have is the re-engineering of the carrier supply chain – reducing and streamlining three sites to just one.

As well as the positive impact on cost, the increased efficiency of this new approach further endorses our On Time in Full KPI measurement for our publishers.

Benefits for retailers

As change leaders, we are not afraid of facing challenges with retailers. We build long-term relationships and work with them to solve problems and re-engineering processes where we can see a more efficient end result for them.

We have helped to bring big cost savings for retailers through automating and streamlining the stock taking process.

A team approach

We are constantly looking at innovative ways to improve processes for our retail partners. When we have an idea, we like to involve a wide set of Frontline people. The supply chain team will have a supply chain manager but pull in a team from across the business that can explore and work on change initiatives together.

There are around 50 of us working in magazine supply chain at Frontline and roles vary from logistics planners, copy managers, sales-based replenishment managers to wholesale operations and retail supply chain development.

The team works hard and like the Frontline business, we are very entrepreneurial; we have bags of experience between us, and are great forward-thinkers.

Newstrade Marketing

Our approach to newstrade marketing

Our newstrade marketing approach sets us apart in the magazine industry. While the team are Frontline people they physically work within their respective publishers’ office. That means getting truly embedded in the magazine titles they work for and living and breathing everything there is about the title.

All about the strategy

We have staff working in London, Bristol, Colchester, as well as Peterborough. Being part of the internal publishing team allows us to be 100% in tune with them. We bring a commercial arm to the front end, creating a strategy that fits the publishers’ objectives. Our aim always is to have the best possible plan to maximise magazine sales and minimise waste.

There’s nothing more pleasing than seeing some great results come through. For instance, the Spring 2019 issue of Gardeners’ World was the biggest for five years. It has trebled its revenue over this period while still managing to put up its price. We’ve worked hard with the publisher on ways to add value to the title, encouraging greater retail space and harder promotion. The results speak for themselves.

We’ve had lots of positive results for a long list of titles and this is what drives us.

Managing circulation and budgets

We invest a significant amount of money with retail every year, on behalf of our publishers. The newstrade marketing team is responsible for ensuring this money is spent at the right retailers, on the right titles and at the right time.

Working in the newstrade industry

Our Frontline newstrade team are jacks of all trades and often chameleons who can adapt and change. But above all, they have a commercial head and are exceptional with numbers. As much of the team work remotely, they are self-starters, out-going people who have a real talent in communication and influence.

Against a tough trading environment, publishers are now starting to see sales even out over digital, events, radio and e-commerce, in particular. This makes the highly creative and entertaining culture of newstrade marketing an even more exciting place to be right now.


Driving sales in retail

The primary aim of our retail team is to drive profitable sales across our retail and wholesale accounts.

We investigate performance drivers and develop new sales influencing initiatives, such as range management, original magazine display solutions, improved retail communication and knowledge and bespoke retail sales promotions.

Spearheading solutions for retailers

We defied the experts who told us it would take millions of pounds of funding to devise technology for a store specific ranging solution. After seven years of work and testing, by some incredibly bright people within our business, we achieved just this, allowing 3,000 Tesco stores to make an order, simply at the push of a button.

Working with all retailers

Working with the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) we strive to develop the sales of magazines within the UK’s and Ireland’s 35,000-plus independent retailers and includes monthly merchandising calls in 2,500 independent retailers.

We also have partnerships with some of the main small and mid-range retailers on our High Streets as the switch to convenience consumer shopping continues to grow.

Supporting our wholesalers

Our retail team has strong relationships with our wholesalers to ensure performance is always in line with our strategy.

Developing new business

There is an incredible amount of energy and initiative in our retail team with some universally brilliant people. Nowhere is this more evident than in our new business strand where we are continually exploring non-traditional outlets for magazine sales. We see this very much as a growth opportunity.

A small team with massive impact

Although we may be a relatively small business, we have massive contractual spend in the magazine market, sourcing services for 68% market share. That makes Frontline a very exciting place to be.