Safestore and Our People

Target   Perfomance 2022/23
Engagement Score
Maintaing score >80%

We know our people as individuals and show respect for each other, enabling everyone to have a voice so that they can bring their full, unique selves to work.

Our leaders are role models who build high trust. We recognise that great people management takes time and therefore we have kept colleague-to-manager ratios low to enable our leaders to invest their time in our people.

We have built an environment where it’s natural for us to give regular, honest feedback and to coach in the moment, and formally, we go beyond mandatory training to promote life-enhancing learning where everyone can continually evolve.

We are exceptionally proud that we hold the prestigious Investors in People (“IIP”) Platinum accreditation. We also made the final top ten shortlist for the Platinum Employer of the Year (250+) category in The Investors in People Awards 2021.  We see our colleagues as an asset, and we understand that it’s our people who truly make the difference.

We endeavour to operate employment practices that support SDG 3 (Good health and wellbeing), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities) through building, improving, and maintaining safe and secure working environments, and advocating a diverse and inclusive workforce, free from harassment and victimisation. Our Wellbeing, Diversity and Inclusion strategies, and People Principles further expand on how we make Safestore a great place to work.


Equality, diversity, and inclusion

We are committed to providing an inclusive workplace, encouraging and welcoming diversity with zero tolerance of harassment and discrimination. More details can be found in our People Principles document online in the Governance section.

Our strong wellbeing foundation has enabled us to develop a strategy setting out our approach to further support diversity and inclusion at Safestore.

We are proud of Safestore’s diverse workforce; in our 2021 IIP survey, 89% of colleagues agreed that Safestore values and respects individual differences. Our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy is about embedding and continuing the important work we’ve already done to enable all our colleagues to feel confident to bring their full, unique selves to work.

This year, we were pleased to publish our first-ever Diversity Pay Gap Report, which includes both ethnicity and gender data. We have chosen to voluntarily report on our ethnicity pay data because we believe this is an important step on our diversity and inclusion journey.

Safestore Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Colleague journey

This is about ensuring our culture is friendly and welcoming to all. We want people to be themselves at work, and initiatives such as our Values and Behaviours framework, health and wellbeing support from day one, and improving the accessibility of our learning and development opportunities support our culture.

Colleague data and analytics

In 2023 we have continued to collect ethnicity data to better understand the ethnic mix of our workforce.  To date, over 86% of UK colleagues have volunteered their ethnicity data.  This data indicates that 31% of Safestore colleagues belong to Black, Asian, or ethnic minority groups, compared with 18.3% of people who make up this group in the UK (2021 census data).

We are proud of the ethnic diversity of our colleagues.  We want to collect more people data to further understand our diverse communities such as the LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse communities, to inform even more beneficial and tangible action.

Positive action

This is about recruiting from under-represented groups, and building campaigns and opportunities for networks to meet, be listened to and feel supported. 

We undertake a number of initiatives to attract, recruit and retain a diverse workforce, such as removing gender bias from our careers website and job descriptions, and delivering unconscious bias training to our recruitment managers.

We have spent time evaluating how we could better support our female colleagues by working with a network of women to gain key insights into their experiences at Safestore. Our awareness-raising activity on our internal communications platform, Yapster, such as our ‘Christmas Around the World’ and International Women’s Day campaigns have generated lots of energy and engagement.

Leadership and management

This is about how we support our leaders to encourage and welcome diversity.  For example, our equality, diversity and inclusion e-Learning module is part of the induction for all new colleagues joining Safestore. 

We want Safestore to be a safe space for discussion and curiosity to enable colleagues at all levels to continually learn from each other.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion data

Safestore’s gender and ethnicity split is outlined in the table below.
Our gender data is collected primarily for payroll, tax, and pay gap reporting, as part of our colleague onboarding process, where colleagues are required to supply an answer to the question ’What is your gender as stated on your birth certificate?’. The data in the table below is at 31 October 2023. All colleagues across the Group are included.
Our ethnicity data is voluntarily self-reported by colleagues, via our payroll self-service portal. The data in the table shown below is at 31 October 2023. The global landscape for data reporting on ethnicity is complex and, following a review of legal considerations, we only collect ethnicity data for UK colleagues. The section for voluntary completion is entitled ‘Ethnic Group’ and the options are the self-defined ethnicity (“SDE”) codes. Colleagues who have not provided data are not included in our calculations. We report on ethnicity as ethnic minority and white; however, we do consider the data at a more specific level internally.
Further analysis can be found in the 2022 diversity pay gap report on our website. The report also sets out a range of actions we are taking to help close the gap.

Group gender representation at 31 October 2023

  Number of Board members Percentage of the Board Number of senior positions on the Board (CEO, CFO, SID, and Chair)1 Number in executive management Percentage of executive management Number of all colleagues (exc. NEDs) Percentage of all colleagues
Men 5 56% 4 36 73% 493 65%
Women 4 44% 0 13 27% 261 35%

UK ethnicity representation at 31 October 20232

  Number of Board members Percentage of the Board Number of senior positions on the Board (CEO, CFO, SID, and Chair) Number in executive management Percentage of executive management Number of all colleagues (exc. NEDs) Percentage of all colleagues
White 8 89% 4 22 92% 319 70%
Ethnic minority 1 11% 0 2 8% 137 30%
Target for 2027 - - - - 18.3%    


1At the time of drafting, the Board had not met the target set out in Listing Rule 9.8.6(9)(a)(ii). With Ian Kreiger set to step down as Senior Independent Director at the 2024 Annual General Meeting, we are in the final stages of selecting his replacement for the role and expect to announce our new Senior Independent Director prior to the Annual General Meeting on 13 March 2024. We can confirm this will be one of our existing female non-executive directors and we will therefore meet all of the targets set out in Listing Rule 9.8.6(9)(a).
2UK only. Where colleagues have voluntarily disclosed this data.).

Positive environment

Colleague engagement

We believe that engaged colleagues, who feel valued by our business, are the foundation of our customer-focused culture.

Our ‘Make the Difference’ people forum, launched in 2018, is a formal workforce advisory panel, which enables frequent opportunities for us to hear and respond to our colleagues.

Our network of 15 ‘People Champions’ collate questions and feedback from their peers across the business and put them to members of the Executive Committee.

Our people forum provides a listening culture, enabling high levels of consultation. Innovation and ideas now come from every level.

We drive change and continuous improvement in responding to the feedback we receive, via our internal communication channels and back through our network of People Champions.

Our People Champions help us to continue raising awareness through a selection of a broad range of topics for discussion on Yapster, our internal social media platform. The aim is to appreciate our diversity, by recognising and celebrating festivals and events, as well as individuals, and to create a safe space for sharing and discussion. In addition, we use Yapster to highlight local successes and recognition between stores and regions with strong links made to Safestore’s alignment to the SDGs.

Health and safety

Safestore promotes a ‘Safety First’ culture within our business. Nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers. We are enthusiastic and uncompromising in our commitment to achieve this safe environment.

We strive to raise the bar and set high standards regardless of country or regional legislation and regulations. In doing so, we aspire to prevent all injuries by reducing the Annual Injury Incident Rate (“AIIR”) by creating a zero-incident culture and setting a new goal of zero RIDDOR/Recordable injuries for 2024. Our progress includes:
  • continuous engagement with our colleagues in developing practical solutions to improve their own working environment
  • increased focus on colleague health and safety induction training
  • implementation of the Health and Safety digital platform that supports colleagues and leaders across the Group

Group health and safety statistics

In 2023 we recorded a 16% reduction in customer, contractor, and visitor (“CCV”) accidents, and a 41% reduction in accidents involving our colleagues.
RIDDOR*/Recordable** injuries
CCV injuries resulting in RIDDOR include one cut to a finger and two fractures, all requiring customers to attend hospital for further treatment, and another recordable incident-free year for our colleagues.
We strive to create a safe workplace for all our construction projects across all territories. We are constantly challenging our colleagues and partners to exceed minimum standards. During 2023, the number of reportable incidents on our construction sites was zero.

Colleague health and safety

  • 41% reduction in accidents involving our colleagues.
  • 13 minor injuries were recorded over the past year.
  • No recordable accidents/incidents were reported for this period.
Year ended 31 October 2021 2022 2023
Number of colleagues 648 751 753
Number of minor injuries 19 26 13
Number of reportable injuries (RIDDOR*/Recordable**) 1 0 0
AIIR*** per 100,000 colleagues 154 0 0

* RIDDOR = Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences.
** Recordable = any work-related injury or illness that results in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job. Any work-related injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid (European countries only).
*** Annual injury incident rate = the number of reportable injuries ÷ average number of colleagues (x100,000).

Great lifestyle choices

We focus on offering simple, practical wellbeing initiatives, to support our colleagues to lead healthier and happier lives. We recognise that it is more important than ever for our colleagues to take care of themselves and their loved ones.

  • Our health cash plan, provided by Medicash, provides colleagues with everyday reassurance on their health and wellbeing from top to toe, inside and out, from GP appointments to skin health checks and physiotherapy to counselling services. It remains a popular benefit with our colleagues.
  • Our Employee Assistance Programme (“EAP”) and other external support organisations, such as Mind and Mental Health UK, provide our colleagues with expert guidance and support on everyday matters whenever they need it.
  • Medicash’s new online support platform, Your Care, gives our colleagues access to 24/7 support and counselling along with personal, emotional and wellbeing tools for a happier and healthier life.
  • We continue to work closely with our occupational health provider, including the provision of private counselling for colleagues in crisis requiring additional support.
  • Our Cycle to Work scheme remains popular.
  • We continue to support new ways of working and this year, we have increased our part-time and flexible working arrangements.
Safestore Medicash

"With Health and wellbeing initiatives are being given more attention and people are positive about the commitment to wellbeing."
Matthew Filbee, IIP Practitioner

Personal growth and education

Learning and development

At Safestore, we have a strong focus on learning and development for all our colleagues, with a genuine commitment to building a culture of developing talent.

"The overall culture of the organisation very much projects the message that learning and development are valuable."
Matthew Filbee, IIP Practitioner

We use innovative methods of learning as well as traditional routes, with lots of support from our managers at all levels. The survey revealed that 93% of respondents knew how Safestore invests in learning and development. In 2023, we delivered over 28,000 hours of training.

All learning is evaluated, with skills development and practice gained through on-the-job supervision, regular coaching sessions, module sign-off, observation, and feedback.

Across the Group, colleagues are given extra responsibilities and opportunities to put skills and knowledge into practice.

Our leaders understand the importance of succession planning. Talent management is sophisticated and transparent, with performance management channelled through our Values and Behaviours framework, to identify and support high potential individuals.

In the UK, both our Sales Consultant and Store Manager Development programmes continue to grow and upskill our colleagues. Everyone has the opportunity to discuss and agree their learning and development pathways with their line manager, and this is executed effectively. In our latest IIP survey, 88% of respondents stated that they have opportunities to learn at work.

We were also delighted that our Store Manager Development programme, now in its seventh year, had a record number of distinctions, ten of the eleven participants who graduated in 2023.  Funded by the Apprenticeship Levy this programme provides the opportunity to complete a Level 3 Management and Leadership apprenticeship, with the additional opportunity to complete an Institute of Leadership and Management (“ILM”) qualification.

Sean Cosgrave"I joined Safestore as part of the graduate scheme towards the end of 2022, working within the commercial team as an analyst. Since starting here, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received from both members of my team and from across the business. Even in the short amount of time I have been in the business, I have already assisted in the process of opening several new stores across Europe as well as supporting other key elements of the business. The graduate scheme has allowed me to further improve my skills whilst developing new ones, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for me at Safestore."
Sean Cosgrove, Commercial Analyst – Graduate

Financial wellbeing

We understand that the current cost of living crisis is having a significant impact on personal finances.  As part of Safestore’s wider wellbeing strategy, we are committed to doing what we can to ensure the financial wellbeing of our colleagues.

Safestore-your-future.jpgFollowing a review of our pension provision, we chose to move our scheme to a new provider, Aviva, and close the Scottish Widows scheme to future contributions. 78% of our colleagues are members of our pension scheme and now benefit from a lower management charge, as well as other fund benefits. We are pleased to offer eligible colleagues the opportunity to make their pension contributions through a salary sacrifice arrangement, recognised as the most tax-efficient way of making pension contributions.

In August, we opened entry into our 2023 Sharesave scheme, and are delighted that 36% of our colleagues now share in our success by being a member of at least one of our Sharesave schemes. This is further evidence of high levels of colleague engagement across the business.

Active leaders and engaged teams


Our leaders bring out the best in our colleagues, motivating them to work together to achieve our shared goals and objectives.

We achieve this by keeping colleague-to-manager ratios low, enabling our leaders to invest time in encouraging and engaging our colleagues, forming genuine connections with their teams.  This is evidenced by the exceptionally high leadership engagement score of 90%, achieved in our IIP survey.

Our active leaders are energetic and passionate, engaging in honest, open communication to connect with their colleagues.  Our coaching culture encourages two-way feedback supporting both personal and professional growth, which is formalised through the setting of clear goals and expectations, reviewed bi-annually.

Keeping our colleagues connected to the business and to each other so that they feel supported has remained a focus and we have introduced new programmes for our new colleagues and line managers, to help to build knowledge and confidence across our teams.

"Many people said how much they love working at Safestore and the pride in the service delivered came across loud and clear. Everyone described a friendly, supportive place to work."
Matthew Filbee, IIP Practitioner

Values and behaviours

Our values are authentic, having been created by our colleagues. They are core to the employment life cycle and bring consistency to our culture.

We are empowered to do the right thing, not necessarily the easiest. This enables us to feel comfortable challenging behaviours that are not in line with our values.
  • 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 businesses.
  • 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.
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