Safestore and Our People

Target   Perfomance 2021/22
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 have therefore 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, this year, we were awarded 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. This is reflective of the fact that our philosophy during the pandemic has been to put people before profit, which has increased trust in our leaders and their agile response to the emerging situation. This year, more than ever, our people have truly made 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 Strategy and People Principles documents further expand on how we seek to achieve this.


Equality, diversity, and inclusion

We are committed to providing an inclusive workplace, encouraging, and welcoming diversity with zero tolerance of harassment and discrimination. More detail 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 new 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.

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 2022 we have continued to collect ethnicity data to better understand the ethnic mix of our workforce. To date, over 70% of UK colleagues have volunteered their ethnicity data. This data indicates that 31% of Safestore colleagues belong to a Black, Asian, Mixed or other ethnic group, compared with 18.3% of people who make up this group in the UK (2021 census data).

We are really 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.

For example, we have improved our female applicant percentage and refreshed our careers website to ensure it is representative. 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, we have introduced an updated equality, diversity and inclusion e-Learning module which was completed by all colleagues in 2022 and is now 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.

Gender equality

The ratio of male to female colleagues at Safestore is outlined in the table below. Further analysis of our gender pay gap can be found in the 2021 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 2022 Male Female
Board Directors 5 3
Executive Committee and direct reports 34 9
All colleagues (excl. NEDs) 478 267

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.

Recently, our People Champions have helped us to continue our awareness-raising activities and communication 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 strives to meet and, wherever possible, exceed best practice through:
  • regular and robust health and safety checks across our portfolio
  • 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 required to make improvements
  • comprehensive compulsory health and safety training programmes for all colleagues
  • regular Health and Safety Committee meetings to review issues, processes, policies, 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 the year ended 31 October 2022 in any part of Safestore operations.


Group health and safety statistics

Customer, contractor and visitor health and safety

  • 38 minor injuries were recorded over the past year, none of which were reportable under RIDDOR*.
  • 3 minor injuries recorded to contractors and 35 to customers. No injuries recorded to visitors. 
  • Injuries were recorded as 29 minor cuts, 7 bumps and bruises and 2 strains mainly relating to customers handling their goods
Year ended 31 October 2020 2021 2022
Number of stores 155 161 179
Customer, contractor and visitor movements 120,995 206,871 242,559
Number of minor injuries 36 46 38
Number of reportable injuries (RIDDOR) 0 0 1
RIDDOR per 100,000 CCV movements 0.0 0.0 0.4

Colleague health and safety

  • 26 minor injuries were recorded over the past year.
  • No accidents/incidents was reportable under RIDDOR*.
Year ended 31 October 2020 2021 2022
Average number of colleagues 658 648 751
Number of minor injuries 21 19 26
Number of reportable injuries (RIDDOR)* 2 1 0
AIIR** per 100,000 colleagues 303 154 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

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 new 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.
  • We have further promoted our Employee Assistance Programme(“EAP”) and other external support organisations such as Mind and Mental Health UK, providing our colleagues with expert guidance and support on everyday matters whenever they need it.
  • We continue to work closely with our occupational health provider including provision of private counselling for colleagues in crisis requiring immediate support.
  • We have increased the voucher limit on our popular Cycle to Work scheme.
  • In addition to our ‘My Wellbeing’ webpage (our internal wellbeing resource hub), we have also communicated a number of wellbeing events and offers using our internal platform, Yapster. We believe good wellbeing communications promote and embed our positive and supportive working environment.
Safestore Medicash

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.

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 2022, we delivered over 30,000 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, feedback, and overall evaluation of how effective a programme of learning has been.

Across the Group, there are plenty of opportunities to put skills and knowledge into practice, with colleagues being given extra responsibilities to enable this to happen.

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 sixth year, has a record of 18 new participants for 2022. 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.

In addition, all nine participants of our Senior Leadership Development programme (‘LEAD Academy’) successfully completed their Level 5 Management and Leadership apprenticeship; six of those participants
were awarded Distinctions.

Furthermore, we have re-launched our Graduate Programme, with our first intake commencing in October 2022, providing an opportunity for newly qualified graduates to build their skill set and experience, resulting in a career with Safestore.

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.
  • During the Covid-19 pandemic, we enhanced Company sick pay (“CSP”) to alleviate the financial burden. We have taken the decision to make this enhancement permanent and all colleagues are now entitled to CSP from day one of employment.
  • We applied our annual pay increase to all eligible colleagues a month early in March.
  • We made exceptional payments totalling £1,000 to every colleague: £500 in December 2021 as a thank you for their contribution during the pandemic; and a further £500 cost of living payment in October 2022 to ease financial hardship over the winter period.
  • We launched a ‘benefits portal’ on our intranet, creating a one-stop-shop for all colleagues to access information about which benefits are available to them and how to access them. Following feedback through our ‘Make the Difference’ people forum, we introduced an annual uniform allowance for all store colleagues.

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.

In August, we opened entry into our 2022 Sharesave scheme, and are delighted that 48% 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.

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. Our leaders have high values alignment enabling us to make the right decisions and maintain morale at all times, and this has been proven especially during the pandemic.

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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