Safestore and Our People

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.

What sets us apart is our culture of being friendly, supportive and showing a genuine interest in our colleagues and their development. Safestore is a place where colleagues love to work. We recognise the importance of workplace wellbeing, which is why promoting and supporting wellbeing at Safestore is at the heart of our long term people agenda.

We believe that there is a fundamental connection between happy, healthy and engaged colleagues and sustainable business performance. That is why, this year, we are setting out a clear wellbeing strategy, clarifying our goals for now and the future category.


Positive environment

Colleague feedback

This year, we launched our “Make the Difference” people forum; a formal workforce advisory panel enabling us to consider wider stakeholder views and engage with our colleagues to understand their feedback.

The “Make the Difference” people forum also supports the Investors in People (“IIP”) framework, driving standards in key areas including “Empowering and involving people” and “Recognising and rewarding high performance”.

Our network of 15 “People Champions” from across the business volunteer to collect and understand the feedback of their peers. Our People Champions meet bi-annually to collate this feedback, which is presented to our senior leaders who go on to review at Board level. We drive change and continuous improvement in responding to the feedback we receive, making Safestore a great place to work for our colleagues.

Safestore responds to the feedback and communicates the outputs regularly through our internal communications channels and our network of People Champions.

Human rights

  • Safestore is committed to respecting human rights and labour rights based on our values and the principles of the UN global compact.
  • 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.
  •  In 2018, we increased our modern slavery awareness 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 existing colleagues have completed refresher training.
  • In 2018, we 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 suppliers 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 privacy policies, 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

  • 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.
  • 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 2019 was 99.6%.

Health and safety

NS-Staff-33-ray-forklift.jpgAt Safestore the wellbeing of our colleagues is of paramount concern. We are committed to continuing to manage risk and to anticipate new health and safety challenges in order to ensure a healthy and safe environment for our people, customers, suppliers and contractors. Safestore continuously strives to meet and, wherever possible, exceed best practice through:
  • Regular and robust health and safety checks across our portfolio. There were no fatal injuries, notices or prosecutions during year ended 31 October 2019 in any part of Safestore operations.
  • Regular independent audits of sites, performed by our external health and safety consultants on a rolling programme, to ensure that procedures are followed and that appropriate standards are maintained.
  • Ensuring all colleagues understand their responsibility for health and safety at Safestore. If a site is highlighted as falling below our health and safety standards, colleagues on site are urgently targeted to make the required improvements.
  • Comprehensive compulsory health and safety training programmes, accessible to all relevant colleagues.    
  • Regular Health and Safety Committee meetings take place to review issues, processes, policy and actions. The Health and Safety Committee minutes are shared with both our Risk and Audit Committees.
  • Accident reports to identify, prevent and mitigate against potential risks managed using our online incident reporting systems. All reports are reviewed by the Health and Safety Committee to consider what preventative measures can be implemented.

There were no fatal injuries, notices or prosecutions during year ended 31 October 2019 in any part of Safestore operations.

Group health and safety statistics

Customer, contractor and visitor health and safety

  • 26 minor injuries were recorded over the past year, none of which were reportable under RIDDOR.
  • 2 minor injuries recorded to contractors and 24 to customers. No injuries recorded to visitors. 
  • Injuries were recorded as 14 minor cuts, 10 bumps and bruises and 2 strains mainly relating to customers handling their goods
Year ended 31 October 2017 2018 2019
Number of stores 134 146 150
Customer, contractor and visitor movements 132,468 137,882 143,651
Number of minor injuries 36 46 26
Number of reportable injuries (RIDDOR)* 0 0 0
RIDDOR per 100,000 CCV movements 0.0 0.0 0.0

Colleague health and safety

  • 24 minor injuries were recorded over the past year, all cuts and bruises.
  • No injuries were reportable under RIDDOR.  
Year ended 31 October 2017 2018 2019
Average number of colleagues 600 650 650
Number of minor injuries 13 5 24
Number of reportable injuries (RIDDOR)* 1 1 0
AIIR** per 100,000 colleagues 205 202 0

* RIDDOR = Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences
** Annual injury incident rate = the number of reportable injuries ÷ average number of colleagues (x100,000

Great lifestyle choices

This year, we have focused on offering simple, practical wellbeing initiatives, to make it easier for our colleagues to lead healthier and happier lives.
  • We have further promoted our Employee Assistance Programme (“EAP”) which provides our colleagues with expert guidance and support on everyday matters, whenever they need it.
  • We continue to 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 are increasingly using the service to provide private counselling for colleagues in crisis, who require immediate support.
  • We offer colleagues the opportunity to join our private healthcare scheme, enabling them to have access to private treatment whenever they need to use it.
  • We have invested in further mediation training and all of our HR Advisers are now CIWM accredited mediators. This is enabling us to change the way we manage conflict in the workplace, encouraging open and honest communication through facilitated discussions and mediation sessions. Our new conflict resolution policy is being phased in and will replace our grievance policy entirely in 2020.
  • This year we launched our ‘My Wellbeing’ internal website, to provide our colleagues with access to a broad range of wellbeing messages, self-help tools, offers and promotions to enable them to make informed choices around healthy eating, exercise, mental health and financial wellbeing.
  • In addition to our ‘My Wellbeing’ webpage, we have also communicated a number of wellbeing incentives, events and offers, using our internal platform Yapster. We believe good wellbeing communications will promote and embed a positive and supportive working environment.

Personal growth and education

Learning and development

In line with Safestore’s wellbeing strategy, we have continued to focus on personal growth and education of our colleagues throughout 2019.

Our enthusiastic, well-trained and customer-centric sales team remains a key differentiator and a strength of our business.

Safestore-Careers-web-64.jpgWe are committed to growing and rewarding our people and tailor our development, reward and recognition programmes to this end. Our IIP recognised coaching programme, launched in 2018, had a 2019 upgrade to reflect the increase in the calibre and performance of our teams and was well received by our colleagues in January 2019. 

The QUEST sales framework “masterclass” also received its 2019 build to reflect the elevated performance of 2018 and target our high expectations of 2019. The programme was rolled out in May in preparation for the 3rd and 4th quarter season.

The training and development of our store and customer-facing colleagues is an essential part of our daily routines. In 2019, we delivered a further 30,000 hours of training through face-to-face sessions and via our internally developed online learning tool; this equates to over 46 hours per colleague.

Safestore-Careers-web-109.jpgAll new recruits to the business benefit from enhanced induction and training tools which have been developed in-house and enable us to quickly identify high potential individuals and increase their speed to
competency. They receive individual performance targets within four weeks of joining the business and are placed on the “pay-for-skills” programme which allows accelerated basic pay increases dependent on success in demonstrating specific and defined skills. The key target of our programme, to ensure that close to 100% of our Store Manager appointments are from within the business via our Store Manager Development programme, remains and we are pleased with our progress to date.

Safestore-Careers-web-97.jpgOur Store Manager Development programme demonstrates the effectiveness of our learning tools. In a spirit of constant improvement our content and delivery process is dynamically enhanced through our 360 degree feedback process utilising the learnings from not only the candidates but also from our training store managers and senior business leaders. This allows our people to be trained with the knowledge and skills to sell effectively in today’s market place. It also offers the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification from either the Institute of Leadership and Management (“ILM”) or the Chartered Management
Institute (“CMI”) utilising the Apprenticeship Levy. 

We are also utilising the Levy to support the development of Head Office colleagues. Currently we have individuals working towards their professional qualification.

Financial wellbeing

Safestore-your-future.jpgOur workplace pension is provided by Scottish Widows, one of the UK’s leading workplace pension providers. 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.

This year, we announced that we will run the Sharesave scheme annually, meaning all colleagues have an opportunity to join a new scheme each year (up to a total contribution amount of £500 per month). This will enable more of our colleagues to share in our success.

In August, we opened entry into our 2019 Sharesave scheme, attracting 93 brand new members. In addition, 53 colleagues who are members of existing schemes also enrolled onto the new 2019 scheme. This means almost half of our colleagues now share in our success by being a member of at least one of our Sharesave schemes.

Active leaders and engaged teams


Role model leadership and high levels of trust are key strengths at Safestore, recognised as part of our Gold IIP Accreditation in 2018. In our 2019 pulse survey, we are delighted to have maintained those high standards, proven by a leadership engagement score of over 80%.

Our focus on our people agenda has supported a shift in recent years to a structure and culture that rewards and recognises great leadership, and provides the skills, tools and time to dedicate to our teams.

This has been achieved through maintaining good colleague-manager ratios; for example, no Regional Manager has more than eleven stores and each Store Manager has a team of just three to four people. This allows managers to get to know their colleagues personally, understand their motivations and, alongside the coaching culture, this is enabling us to maximise our productivity through motivated and engaged teams.

Our colleagues see the Company’s leadership as authentic and living the values and behaviours every day.

Values and behaviours

Our values, created by our people, form a core part of each element of the employee life cycle. We test prospective colleagues’ affinity to our values, and continue to assess against them bi-annually. Our culture has been built on the values; these are core to the way our business is run and our decisions are made.

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.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are delighted to have launched a brand new equality, diversity and inclusion policy. We are committed to providing an inclusive workplace, encouraging and welcoming diversity with a zero tolerance of harassment and discrimination. Our behaviours should always meet and aim to exceed the demands of the Equality Act 2010. We want to continue to enjoy working in a culture free from discrimination and harassment, enabling all colleagues to achieve their full 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 colleague or potential colleague 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 maintaining a workforce reflective of 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 17 internal promotions this year; and
  • 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.
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.

In addition, we have:
  • Launched a new e-learning workshop, Equality and Diversity, delivered to every colleague at Safestore, covering the following key areas:
    • equality and diversity;
    • types of discrimination;
    • harassment and bullying; and
    • equality legislation.
  • Launched a new development programme for our operational leaders. The “Leading through Inclusion and Diversity” programme supports our leaders to recognise and celebrate diversity and to lead our diverse teams to success.
  • Introduced gender-balanced shortlisting for senior roles.
Our Code of Conduct provides guidance and support to conduct our business ethically and to comply with the law, which is 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 shared with all colleagues through our internal communication channels.

Gender equality

The ratio of male to female colleagues at 31 October 2019 is outlined in the table below. Further analysis of our gender pay gap can also be found in the 2018 gender 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 split at 31 October 2019
  Male Female
Board Directors 5 2
Senior Managers (excluding Directors) 7 1
All colleagues 444 184
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