Safestore and Our People

Our colleagues play a pivotal role in providing the best solution for our customers and we are passionate in providing a diverse CSR programme that ensures they are truly placed at the heart of our business. We have provided the tools and time to dedicate to our teams to help our colleagues achieve their goals and this is underpinned by our commitment to attract and retain the very best talent to shape our future success.

We are extremely proud of achieving the Investors in People (“IIP”) Gold accreditation for 2018, which means we are one of the top employers of 14,000 organisations surveyed, across 75 countries. We were also a top ten finalist for the Gold Employer of the year 250+ award category.

Living Healthier Lives

This year we have been committed to driving our health and well-being agenda and to continuously evolve with the everyday challenges our colleagues may be faced with. We are focused on offering simple, practical well-being initiatives, to make it easier for our colleagues to lead healthier and happier lives. We recognise that the organisation’s success depends on it.

— We have introduced an Employee Assistance Programme (“EAP”) to provide our colleagues with expert guidance and support on everyday matters, whenever they need it.

— We are making it easier for our colleagues to make simple healthy choices, by providing regular fresh fruit deliveries, a tax-free cycle to work scheme and a reflection room facility.

— We work closely with our occupational health provider who helps with appropriate support, guidance and recommendations for our colleagues regarding health concerns, including mental health.

— We want to create a culture where mental health is not a subject that people shy away from. We are building mental health awareness within the workplace by educating our managers, so we can offer the right support at the right time and experiences can be safely shared.

— We offer colleagues the opportunity to join our private healthcare scheme. This enables our colleagues to have access to private treatment whenever they need to use it.

— We value our colleagues as individuals and understand that people may have other commitments outside of work. We therefore welcome and consider all requests for flexible and at-home working to encourage a healthy work/life balance.

— Prevention of conflict is the most effective way of maintaining strong relationships which is why we have invested in mediation training for our expert advisers, to change the way we manage conflict in the workplace. Encouraging open and honest communication through facilitated discussions and mediation sessions builds harmonious teams and transforms relationships. Our new conflict resolution policy is now in development and due to be phased in to replace our grievance policy in 2018/19.

We are committed to providing a working environment free from harassment and bullying and ensuring all colleagues are treated, and treat others, with dignity and respect. Our bullying and harassment policy sets out our clear expectations in this area.

Creating Financial Peace of Mind

In order to support our colleagues to safeguard their future, we have recently introduced an option for eligible colleagues to switch their pension contributions to “salary sacrifice”, recognised as the most tax-efficient way of making pension contributions.

This year, following a formal review of our workplace pension arrangements, we made the decision to change our scheme provider to Scottish Widows, one of the UK’s leading workplace pension providers.

We were pleased to offer all colleagues the opportunity to join our Sharesave scheme. Following the success of the previous scheme, we saw an increase of 130% of Safestore colleagues enrolled in the Sharesave scheme currently in operation compared to the 2014 scheme.

Learning and Development

We strongly believe that our learning and development agenda was pivotal in us achieving the Investors in People (“IIP”) Gold accreditation for 2018. It has been an exciting year for learning and development at Safestore. We continue to deliver in-house workshops from our well-established training portfolio, and further key initiatives continue to positively impact our people agenda.

We have maintained colleague development through our Sales Consultant programme which enables individuals to gain and demonstrate business knowledge and skills as they progress through the structured five-step framework.

We are utilising our Apprenticeship Levy to continue to develop individuals in specialised subject areas whilst gaining external qualifications. Currently, we have individuals working towards their professional finance qualification. We have also taken the opportunity to collaborate with the Institute of Leadership and Management (“ILM”), in order to provide the Level 3 ILM qualification as a part of our Store Manager Development Programme.

We are proud of our 22-course e-learning portfolio, which we continue to review and develop. Completion rate is 100% from all of our new starters and several of the learning modules form a key part of the coaching action points, with colleagues encouraged to revisit the modules throughout the year. We have introduced key compliance subjects such as GDPR and modern slavery, which are now compulsory for all Safestore colleagues. Modules such as Health and Safety and Fire Safety are refreshed annually as a part of our ongoing learning programme. This year colleagues have completed an additional 1,000 hours of compliance modules online.

We have continued to deliver our annual sales refresher, which has been successful in ensuring our store teams continue to offer market-leading sales and customer service. We have completed 3,090 of training hours on the sales refresher during 2018.

Existing store managers and those on our Store Manager Development (“SMD”) Programme are currently enhancing their skills whilst attending our most recent workshop, “Management Basics”. All managers in our business will have attended this course by the end of 2018.

QUEST is our two-day sales course focused on supporting and upskilling our new starters on how we sell at Safestore. Five of our experienced store managers assist in facilitating QUEST, supporting continuous learning and development at every level. We have 100% attendance from all new operational starters within eight weeks of joining the business, including new store managers.

Safestore’s coaching programme teaches the skills required to become a great coach.

Our 18-month SMD Programme upskills individuals to understand our business, people, operations and customers to an advanced level by learning management theories as a part of the ILM accreditation and then demonstrating their skills at store level. Since 2016 we are delighted to have made 17 internal promotions to store manager as a result of this programme, with a further ten colleagues on the programme at present.

Alongside our values, we believe that demonstrating the right behaviours at work is critical to our culture. In order to support this view we provide behavioural skills assessments through the use of externally accredited assessment tools such as Jigsaw@Work, Insights Discovery and Belbin to upskill groups of individuals to grow their awareness of others with whom they work and influence. These courses have been met with high levels of engagement from our store and Head Office teams and the rewards of more focused and self-aware teams are visible.

At Safestore we do not offer any “Business Values” workshops. Instead, we recruit, train and develop individuals to our values and behaviours on a daily basis. Our values are therefore deeply embedded and understood by the Safestore team.

Our values

Our values, created by our store teams, are at the heart of everything we do.

We Love Customers – we deliver much more than storage, we provide solutions that exceed our customers’ expectations and we expect our people to show appreciation of our customers and their business.

We Lead the Way – we want people who talk with pride about Safestore, set themselves high standards and demonstrate passion for what they do.

We Have Great People – everyone has a key role to play within Safestore and we need people who show respect for everyone, no matter their position. Our people drive their own performance and are keen to learn from others.

We Dare to be Different – we want people that adapt to change and are willing to try new things. Part of daring to be different involves actively seeking feedback in order to develop new and existing skills.

We Get It – we want people to be clear on our vision and goals and in turn, know what part they play in achieving them. “We get it” is also about communicating in a clear, open and honest way to enable sound decision making.


Through our annual appraisal process, we take the opportunity to align needs analysis with development goals. Workshop outcomes are aligned to people development and business objectives. Structured feedback is collated after each workshop, which allows us to review content, engagement levels and any further opportunities.

With our colleagues at the centre of everything we do, we remain focused to ensure we continue to develop them and their skills to grow not only business results, but also our colleagues as individuals. During 2018 we have conducted 29,000 hours of face-to-face training.

A Diverse and Inclusive Organisation

Our equal opportunities and dignity at work policy provides a framework for fair and equitable treatment for all colleagues. We want to continue being a diverse and inclusive organisation, where every one of our colleagues can fulfil their potential. We strongly believe diverse teams perform better. This year we have continued to:

— be committed to equality of opportunity in all our employment practices, policies and procedures. No team member or potential team member will receive less favourable treatment due to any of the following protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity;

— give full and fair consideration to all applications for employment by disabled persons, which are assessed in accordance with their particular skills and abilities. The Group does all that is practicable to meet its responsibilities towards the training and employment of disabled people, and to ensure that training, career development and promotion opportunities are available to all colleagues;

— be an equal opportunities employer that maintains a workforce reflecting the uniqueness of the communities within which we operate;

— nurture the talents of our people and the benefit they bring to our varying business functions through a clearly defined and transparent performance framework;

— take all reasonable steps to employ, train and promote colleagues on the basis of their experience, abilities and qualifications;

— maintain an active succession planning strategy that considers the ability of internal colleagues before recruiting externally and ensuring that the criteria for selecting colleagues for training opportunities is non-discriminatory. These are based upon the individual’s merits, abilities and needs, business needs, and the availability of appropriate training and development opportunities. All colleagues participate in the appraisal process and there is positive encouragement to discuss development and training needs and opportunities. Safestore made 24 internal promotions this year;

— encourage our colleagues to achieve and maintain satisfactory standards of conduct, ensuring all are treated fairly and consistently, through an inclusive disciplinary policy and procedure; and

— deliver Equality Essentials, our bespoke e-learning workshop. This is delivered to every employee at Safestore, covering the following key areas:

- introduction to equality, diversity and protected characteristics;
- handling harassment;
- providing an inclusive service; and
- equality in action.



Our Code of Conduct provides guidance and support to conduct our business ethically and to comply with the law, which are vital to our success. The Code of Conduct applies to all individuals working for Safestore Group irrespective of their status, level or grade. During the year we have updated our policies on anti-corruption and bribery, gifts, tips and hospitality which support and uphold our zero tolerance position on bribery. This year the Group has also reviewed its whistleblowing (“Speak Out”) policy for the reporting of inappropriate conduct, including contact details for the Group’s external auditor. These updated policies were communicated to all colleagues via our internal newsletter, Safestore News, circulated to employees every two weeks.

Gender Equality

The ratio of male to female colleagues at 31 October 2018 is outlined in the table below. Further analysis of our gender pay gap can also be found in the gender pay gap report online. The report also sets out a range of actions we are taking to help close the gap.

Gender split at 31 October 2018:
                                 Male Female
Board Directors 5 2
Senior managers (excluding Directors)         6 1
All employees                    427 198

Human Rights

Safestore is committed to respecting human rights. Our commitment to preventing modern slavery in our supply chain is outlined in our statement on slavery and human trafficking, which is available on our website.

This year we increased our modern slavery awareness and capacity by developing a specific e-learning module which includes practical guidance on identifying the signs of modern slavery and human trafficking. We have made this training module compulsory for all new starters to complete within the first ten days of joining us and all current colleagues have completed refresher training, with regular revision thereafter.

This year we have also updated our supplier contractual processes to include specific prohibitions against the use of forced, compulsory or trafficked labour, or anyone held in slavery or servitude, whether adults or children. We expect our suppliers to hold their own supplies to the same high standards.

General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”)

Observing data privacy laws is something we take extremely seriously. GDPR came into force on 25 May 2018, designed to modernise laws that protect our personal information.

To ensure Safestore is compliant, we have worked hard on introducing robust new policies, including our IT policy and data protection policy, conducting data impact assessments, carrying out data audits and introducing regular and systematic monitoring. We also want to ensure everyone at Safestore understands the new regulations so have provided comprehensive online GDPR training to all colleagues, a website for reference materials and tools, and updated our induction programme to make GDPR training compulsory for all new starters.

Employment Security and Responsible Workforce Restructuring

Safestore recognises that security of employment is important to colleagues and therefore every effort is made to avoid termination of employment due to redundancy and to provide continuity of employment, wherever practicable.

Where it becomes necessary to reduce team numbers, whether for economic or other reasons, including where jobs become redundant as a result of restructuring or reorganisation, it is Safestore’s policy to try to minimise the effect on those concerned. Careful consideration is given to all alternative employment possibilities and outplacement support is offered to all those affected by redundancy.

We are pleased that there have been no large-scale redundancies or significant job cuts this year.

In order to ensure that our colleagues have financial stability and security, we strive to use permanent contracts wherever possible and practicable. We do not use zero-hours contracts anywhere within the organisation. The percentage of our colleagues on permanent contracts on 1 April 2018 was 99.59%.

Health and Safety

As a Board we recognise the importance of high standards in health and safety and play an active role in ensuring a healthy and safe environment for our people, customers, suppliers and contractors. Safestore endeavours to continuously strive to meet and, where possible, exceed best practice by:

— conducting regular health and safety reviews across our stores and our Head Office. An annual review of fire risk assessments and health and safety audits are conducted by our external health and safety consultants on a rolling programme assessing that our health and safety policies are implemented, maintained and fully compliant to the latest standards. All employees have a responsibility for health and safety and our managers have specific responsibilities as set out in the health and safety manual. It is the responsibility of divisional managers and the risk management team to ensure compliance with our health and safety manual and policy statement in respect of store operations. Actions recommended are reviewed by the Health and Safety Committee;

— ensuring our Health and Safety Committee meets regularly to review issues, processes, policies and actions, harnessing a culture where health and safety always sits high on our agenda. The Health and Safety Committee minutes are reviewed by our Risk Committee and the Audit Committee;

— delivering health and safety training relevant to job roles as standard to all colleagues, increasing awareness and compliance through a blended learning approach. Learning modules are introduced to all employees from induction on fire safety and general health and safety tailored to suit our working environment. Training is also delivered at managers’ meetings by regional management. Agendas for these meetings are provided by our retail services manager, our risk manager, our facilities manager and our construction manager; and

— accident reports help to identify, prevent and mitigate against potential risks and are managed using our intranet incident reporting systems. These are collated by our risk manager and reviewed by the Health and Safety Committee to consider what preventative measures can be adopted operationally.

There were no fatal injuries, notices or prosecutions during the year ended 31 October 2018 in any part of Safestore operations.
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