Safestore and Our People

Target   Perfomance 2020/21
Engagement Score   90%

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.


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


Our people forum provides for 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.

Supported by our People Champions, we were delighted that our recent Investors in People survey achieved a 93% response rate, which allows us to be confident that everyone’s voice was heard.

One of the key points from our IIP assessment is that we should keep working on community investment and sustainability so our colleagues can more clearly see, participate in and appreciate the social purpose of Safestore. This will really benefit pride and engagement levels.

We have added a sustainability section to our online monthly newsletter, ‘Safestore News’, to promote global and national initiatives to our colleagues, and we use our internal mobile communications platform, Yapster, to highlight local successes and recognition between stores and regions with strong links made to Safestore’s alignment to the SDGs.


Our response to the pandemic has always been and continues to be a commitment to the safety and care of our colleagues and customers, which we take very seriously. Some key actions we have taken to ensure we are continuing to work safely during the ongoing pandemic are:

Our people
  • Covid-19 action group has met 52 times since the start of the pandemic
  • Invested over £200,000 in funding for Covid-19 related absence since the start of the pandemic
  • Paid out £400,000 in colleague recognition bonuses
  • 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 periods and introduced a hybrid working approach where possible
Our customers
  • Able to continue offering customer service via the Customer Service Centre (“CSC”(phones),website, social media and LiveChat
  • Provision of financial support in the form of deferred payments and rental reductions for those in genuine need
  • Comprehensive safety, health and hygiene measures in store to reassure our customers of our high quality standards
  • working approach where possible
Our communities
  • Provision of financial support to various local and national charities and not-for-profit organisations by offering free and discounted storage space across the UK
  • Donation of cardboard boxes to aid initiatives set up to collect goods to help those in crisis
Our environment
  • Our construction management partners are following the government guidelines and also those of the Construction Leadership Council
  • Social distancing across construction sites to reduce the number of people working in any one area
  • Mandatory face coverings where social distancing is not possible
  • Additional hand washing and sanitising facilities across all sites
  • Limiting of people in communal areas
  • Additional signage across all facilities including entrance and exit procedures
  • Covid-19 risk assessments conducted for every site to ensure appropriate measures are in place for a Covid-19 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

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 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 the year ended 31 October 2021 in any part of Safestore operations.


Group health and safety statistics

Customer, contractor and visitor health and safety

  • 46 minor injuries were recorded over the past year, none of which were reportable under RIDDOR*.
  • 2 minor injuries recorded to contractors and 44 to customers. No injuries recorded to visitors. 
  • Injuries were recorded as 33 minor cuts, 10 bumps and bruises and 3 strains mainly relating to customers handling their goods
Year ended 31 October 2019 2020 2021
Number of stores 150 155 161
Customer, contractor and visitor movements 143,651 120,995 206,871
Number of minor injuries 26 36 46
Number of reportable injuries (RIDDOR) 0 0 0
RIDDOR per 100,000 CCV movements 0.0 0.0 0.0

Colleague health and safety

  • 19 minor injuries were recorded over the past year.
  • 1 accidents/incidents resulting in over 7 days’ absence were reportable under RIDDOR*.
Year ended 31 October 2019 2020 2021
Average number of colleagues 650 658 648
Number of minor injuries 24 21 19
Number of reportable injuries (RIDDOR)* 0 2 1
AIIR** per 100,000 colleagues 0 3 154

* 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 introduced the mental health app ‘Thrive’, available to all colleagues. Thrive supports our colleagues to positively manage their mental health and build resilience.
  • 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.

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. In 2021, we delivered over 21,000 hours of training.

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 recent IIP survey, 88% of respondents stated that they have opportunities to learn at work.

coaching-colleagues-low-res.jpgWe use innovative new ways 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.

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.

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, in order to identify and support high potential individuals.

Financial wellbeing

safestore-colleague-outside-low-res.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:
  • partnered with HSBC to deliver a series of live financial wellbeing webinars which covered a range of significant life stages/events, for example first time buyer, home mover and retirement. The aim was to educate and support colleagues to make the most of their money
  • support in money management including helpful ideas such as taking a payment holiday from Sharesave, our Save As You Earn (“SAYE”) scheme
  • enhanced Company sick pay (“CSP”) in order to alleviate the financial burden. We guaranteed that any Covid-19 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

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 2021 Sharesave scheme, and are delighted that 50% 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


leadership-meeting-low-res.jpgOur 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.

We are exceptionally proud that, this year, we were awarded the prestigious Investors in People (“IIP”) Platinum accreditation. This is reflective of the fact that our philosophy during the pandemic has been to put people before profit. This has had a profound impact on trust in leadership, and in the IIP survey we achieved our highest ever leadership engagement score of 90%.

conference-call-low-res.jpgDuring the Covid-19 pandemic, our leaders have acted swiftly to provide extraordinary levels of communication via regular emails, newsletters, the intranet, and weekly telephone and video conferences.

Values and behaviours

Our values are authentic, having been created by our people. 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, but this has especially been proven 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.

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 in the Governance section).

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 ‘Male Allyship – Men Supporting Women’, delivered to our operational leaders by an external expert.

UK ethnicity facts and figures

We are proud of Safestore’s diverse workforce. To date, over half of our UK colleagues have volunteered their ethnicity data. This early data indicates that 27% of Safestore colleagues belong to a Black, Asian, Mixed or Other ethnic group, compared with 13% of people who make up this group in the UK (2011 Census data).

In 2022, we are committed to collecting more people data to support our understanding of our workforce diversity in order to inform beneficial and tangible action. This will help to further improve inclusion, enabling all colleagues to confidently bring their true selves to work.

Advocating a diverse and inclusive workforce is also a key part of our wellbeing strategy. In our IIP survey, 89% of colleagues agreed that Safestore values and respects individual differences.

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 2020 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 2021
  Male Female
Board Directors (as at 1 November 2021) 5 3
Executive Committee and direct reports 36 9
All colleagues (excl. NEDs) 425 223
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