Safestore and Our People

Target   Perfomance 2019/20
Engagement Score   82%

We strive to ensure that every colleague at Safestore feels like a valued member of our friendly and supportive team.
Our leaders operate collaboratively, focusing on empowering their teams and investing considerably in developing ideas
and skills within the business. Our Investors in People (“IIP”) Gold accreditation demonstrates that Safestore is a place
where colleagues love to work.

Focusing on our colleagues and culture has never been more critical than during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our established wellbeing strategy remains at the heart of our long term people agenda and, this year, we have worked harder than ever to ensure our colleagues are happy, healthy, safe, and engaged in supporting Safestore to deliver sustainable business performance.

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.

Positive environment

Make the Difference people forum

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 14 ‘People Champions’ collect questions and feedback from their peers across the business and put them to members of the Executive Committee.

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.

During the Covid-19 lockdown period our People Champions, supported by our HR team, conducted welfare calls to over 200 colleagues. This enabled us to obtain a ‘temperature check’ on how they were coping with the changes and to obtain feedback and ideas about our Covid-secure workplace.

Engagement (sustainability)

Our colleagues play a crucial role in helping to deliver our sustainability goals, for example, by delivering a great customer experience, reducing our waste, and helping to raise levels of awareness.

This year, we ran a series of engagement campaigns to:
  • educate our colleagues about Safestore’s alignment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (“UNSDGs”), in particular addressing our three priority areas
  • promote the eradication of single-use plastic, for example, during ‘Plastic Free July’, inspiring our colleagues to make changes at work and at home
  • capture the imagination of our colleagues through a sustainability ideas competition. This involved suggesting solutions to enhance Safestore’s social impact or reduce our environmental impact


Health and safety

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an extraordinary impact on all of us. In order to continue to manage risk, we have had to anticipate these new health and safety challenges and to respond with pace in order to ensure a healthy and safe environment for our colleagues, customers, suppliers, and contractors. This has involved commitment from all levels of the organisation as well as daily decision making on how to respond to a constantly changing and uncertain situation.

Some of the key actions we have taken to ensure we have been working safely during Covid-19 are:
  • practising strict social distancing measures, including reduced store opening hours, allowing only one customer per colleague in reception at any one time, locking reception areas during the lockdown period, and encouraging customers to access their units only where absolutely necessary
  • increased cleaning and hand hygiene measures
  • installation of protective screens and signage/floor tape and provision of PPE to every site, including masks, visors, and gloves
  • reduced access to our Head Office building during the lockdown period and encouraging home working where possible
  • Covid-19 risk assessments conducted for every site to ensure appropriate measures are in place for a Covid-secure workplace
  • all of our sites continue to operate according to our ‘Policy on safe working during the Covid-19 pandemic’, informed by the results of the Covid-19 risk assessments
health-and-safety-low-res-(1).jpgSafestore 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 onsite 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, 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 2020 in any part of Safestore operations.

Our pandemic response in numbers


Group health and safety statistics

Customer, contractor and visitor health and safety

  • 36 minor injuries were recorded over the past year, none of which were reportable under RIDDOR*.
  • 3 minor injuries recorded to contractors and 33 to customers. No injuries recorded to visitors. 
  • Injuries were recorded as 23 minor cuts, 11 bumps and bruises and 2 strains mainly relating to customers handling their goods
Year ended 31 October 2018 2019 2020
Number of stores 146 150 155
Customer, contractor and visitor movements 137,882 137,882 120,995
Number of minor injuries 46 26 36
Number of reportable injuries (RIDDOR) 0 0 0
RIDDOR per 100,000 CCV movements 0.0 0.0 0.0

Colleague health and safety

  • 21 minor injuries were recorded over the past year, all cuts and bruises.
  • 2 accidents/incidents resulting in over 7 days’ absence were reportable under RIDDOR*.
Year ended 31 October 2017 2019 2020
Average number of colleagues 650 650 658
Number of minor injuries 5 24 21
Number of reportable injuries (RIDDOR)* 1 0 2
AIIR** per 100,000 colleagues 202 0 303

* 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 continued to 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 during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • 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 upgraded our private healthcare scheme to improve the number of additional services available to participating colleagues.
  • We have raised awareness of our Cycle to Work scheme and, as a result, participation has significantly increased.
  • We have made changes to our holiday policy to ensure colleagues get plenty of time for rest and relaxation, and that we can manage our internal resourcing demands.
  • We have launched our new Conflict Resolution policy, with additional training, enabling us to change the way we approach disagreements in the workplace, encouraging open and honest communication through facilitated discussions and mediation sessions.
  • 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.

Personal growth and education

Learning and development

In order to continue delivering high standards of customer service whilst providing a great sales experience, our learning and development portfolio was predominantly delivered online. This was achieved via our Learning Management System and use of digital platforms, allowing us the flexibility to continue with high quality delivery of our core sales and development modules without the need to meet face to face.

We have introduced the ‘Video Hub’ within our online learning platform which has over 20 digital tutorials, created in house by our Store Managers. These on-demand tutorials focus on our system-based sales processes allowing learners to re-visit and refresh their knowledge as required.

We have also introduced ‘Live Learning’ digital workshops for all colleagues with a focus on supporting customer interactions.

NS-Staff-137-low-res.jpgOur Store Manager Development (“SMD”) programme is the next step for those who have successfully completed the Sales Consultant framework. Colleagues on the programme also have the opportunity to work towards a nationally recognised qualification in Leadership and Management provided by the Institute of Leadership & Management (“ILM”).

In addition, we launched our first Level 5 accredited Leadership and Management programme (“LEAD”). This programme gives colleagues the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification through either the ILM or Chartered Management Institute (“CMI”).

During 2020 we have adapted our learning strategy in response to environmental factors, and are proud to have maintained our high standards of learning and development, continuing to foster a people-centric culture within our business.

Financial wellbeing

Safestore-your-future.jpgWe recognise that colleagues’ overall household income could have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. We acted promptly to offer colleagues a number of financial wellbeing initiatives:
  • support in money management including helpful ideas such as taking a payment holiday from Sharesave
  • enhanced Company Sick Pay (“CSP”) in order to alleviate the financial burden. We guaranteed that any Covid-related sickness was paid in full, including test and trace self-isolation cases 
  • full pay to any colleagues instructed to shield, regardless of whether they were able to work from home 
  • applied an annual pay increase to all eligible colleagues
  • awarded a one off bonus to recognise the 396 colleagues who worked in customer-facing roles throughout the lockdown period
Our 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.

SC-Staff-44-low-res-(2).jpgIn August, we opened entry into our 2020 Sharesave scheme, attracting 74 new members.

In addition, 108 colleagues who are members of existing schemes also enrolled onto the new 2020 scheme.

This means 51.5% 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


Colleagues-x4-in-corridor-low-res.jpgRole 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, with a leadership engagement score of over 80%.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, our leaders have acted swiftly to provide extraordinary levels of communication via regular email, newsletter, internal intranet, and weekly telephone and video conferences. We set up a buddy system for new starters joining during the pandemic.

conference-call-low-res.jpgThis year we also launched our new careers website featuring refreshed and rebranded content. Our aim is to improve engagement with our candidates and to convey the culture of Safestore through an increased use of video and image content incorporating the ‘Our people make the difference’ employer branding.

Values and behaviours

Our values, created by our colleagues, 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 which are fundamental 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.
  • 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.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to providing an inclusive workplace, encouraging and welcoming diversity with a zero tolerance of harassment and discrimination. More detail can be found in our ‘People Principles’ document (online).

Our ‘Leading Through Inclusion and Diversity’ programme continues to support our leaders to recognise and celebrate diversity and to lead our diverse teams to success. This year’s workshop was ‘Mental health awareness for work and life’ delivered to our operational leaders by an external expert.

Gender equality

The ratio of male to female colleagues at 31 October 2020 is outlined in the table below. Further analysis of our gender pay gap can be found in the 2019 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 2020
  Male Female
Board Directors 6 2
Senior Managers (excluding Directors) 6 1
All colleagues 438 205
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