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            Our Colleagues

            We collaborate with stakeholders as a force for good. What matters to our stakeholders, matters to us.

            To benefit the communities we operate in, we have set ourselves the highest targets to deliver tangible and transformative change through simplification, innovation and collaboration with stakeholders – working collectively as one team.

            But, to really deliver on our promises to customers and shareholders, we need engaged, capable and committed colleagues. So - last year we refreshed our approach towards our lines of communication, to connect to everyone within the company. Colleagues are also kept up to date via regular livestreamed Townhalls, Newsletters, Senior Leadership Blogs and our digital tool Workplace (by Facebook) and to transparency, genuine openness and approachability, our CEO, Alex Baldock personally answers any questions they may have in an online forum each month.

            Our leadership teams work alongside front line colleagues in stores, contact centres and our supply chain to understand challenges and opportunities on the ground and to make sure we keep improving, while all starters in our North Acton Head also join our front-line operation, for a realistic perspective on our colleagues’ working experiences and customer interactions.

            Attracting, recruiting and retaining the best talent to drive our growth

            We consistently strive to attract, recruit and retain capable and committed colleagues to keep us at the forefront of innovation and outstanding customer experience.

            We want to be an employer of choice, where everyone feels respected, involved, heard, well led and valued, regardless of their race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, or any other characteristic. This is echoed in our recent shortlisting for the Diverse Company Award 2019 by the National Diversity Awards!

            We employee 42,000 colleagues operating in local communities across the Group. This allows us the opportunity to play a significant role in supporting local economies. We also fully recognise and respect the benefits a diverse workforce, that are reflective of local customers can bring and we are proud to have a non-bias recruitment process. Offering apprenticeship schemes and graduate programmes also allows us to bridge skills gaps, cultivate loyalty with young people and compete smartly for our customer’s attention in an ‘instant-everything’ marketplace.

            Talent management
            Talent reviews take place regularly focusing on succession. We consider leadership a core capability and offer targeted development interventions to cultivate it such as, the Leading Leaders programme to support middle management, Elevate for first line operational managers and Aspire for those with management aspirations. There is something for everyone!

            Investing in training
            We invest in outstanding learning to bolster colleague knowledge about our products and services, ensuring personalised solutions for all our customer’s needs.

            There are many opportunities for colleagues to upskill with Learning Academies on arrival into the company, 90-day development plans and access to a brand-new facility opening this year, to teach and reinforce life-long skills of empathy and service to all customer facing colleagues. In Kotsovolos, all our new starters experience 16 days of training, followed by a digital programme accessible remotely and flexibly. There is even further opportunity to take part in development programmes with universities and experienced professors.

            Across the Group, all colleagues have bi-annual face to face reviews with their line manager, to refine performance and discuss the necessary steps to support them, in achieving their career aspirations.

            Flexible learning
            In 2019 an exciting new MyLearning platform was launched, enhancing targeted learning for colleagues across the company, with thousands of resources at hand. We also utilise Workplace powered by Facebook, to encourage shared and social learning, using interactive videos, top skills and quick tips.

            Employee benefits
            We have some amazing employee benefits on offer including private medical insurance, eye care vouchers, dental plans, discounts for restaurants, beauty and fitness as well as personal accident insurance, travel insurance and family activity passes. Colleagues and their families also receive a standard 10% discount on our own products and can take part in our Cycle to Work scheme with a zero-interest loan!

            United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 8): Decent work & economic growth

            Full commitment to respecting human rights, supporting sustainable markets and developing skills

            Case Study: Newark Distribution Centre, UK
            A high proportion of our colleagues in Newark, Nottinghamshire were not born in the UK with English as their first language. Through our functional skills workshops many have successfully completed their English qualification. This year we are aiming to expand further offering courses in Mathematics too.

            A Force for Good

            A valued and responsible member of our local communities

            Healthy communities are fundamental for our business to be sustainable. We also encourage as much active community engagement as possible across the Group.

            Chairman’s Shield
            The Chairman’s Shield is an annual colleague award which recognises outstanding team performance and exemplary community engagement. Our Stores of the Year demonstrate positive and effective contributions to their local community, through volunteering or fundraising initiatives.

            We have continued to build on our voluntary partnership with the national care and housing charity Abbeyfield, who run 350 elderly homes across the UK. More recently, we have developed a volunteering platform that matches UK Retail stores with their nearest Abbeyfield home. An exciting collaboration with Google has allowed us to create bespoke experiences, for older residents and spend quality tech time to help them remain independent whilst still feeling well connected; combatting the effects of loneliness and isolation.

            Our Elkj?p business is working with the Norwegian tech start-up No Isolation to develop, market and sell their video-communications device ‘KOMP’, specifically designed to cater to the elderly; helping them easily connect with their friends and family.

            Good Deed Day

            Teams across Greece spend a day every year taking part in ‘Good Deed Day,’ where they agree amongst themselves how they will support local causes. In 2018, over 1,400 employees participated in volunteering activities!


            Knowledge sharing
            Last year, Team KnowHow experts piloted training for members of the Reuse Network. This inspiring charity work to alleviate poverty and tackle climate change, through the refurbishment and resale of white goods and furniture to low income families across the UK. The success of this amazing private and third sector collaboration has led the way for a full roll-out this year, with Team Knowhow opening training to all Reuse Members!

            Find out more about our Sustainable Business pillars...