Trust issues: We need to celebrate the retailers focusing on creating happier workplaces
Chris Brook-Carter, Chief Executive of the Retail Trust
From the dedicated shop manager who saved the life of a regular customer after he found her collapsed in her garden, to the inclusive hiring lead who has radically increased the number of new staff from marginalised communities or with a neurodiverse condition, the Retail Week Awards are always a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the individuals and teams who are going above and beyond to make a real difference within their businesses and communities.
For this year’s Retail Week Awards, we partnered with Microsoft to support the coveted ‘Happiest Place to Work’ award, and we were delighted when this went to Beaverbrooks for everything Anna and her team has done to protect colleagues’ wellbeing, jobs and income during the pandemic and current cost-of-living crisis.
The award was created to recognise industry-leading standards for workplace happiness across the retail sector and we know first-hand from our own work with Beaverbrooks how much of a focus this 104-year-old family business places on the wellbeing of its employees.
Alongside the support the Retail Trust itself provides to Beaverbrooks’ staff, which includes counselling, mental health awareness training for managers and financial aid, Beaverbrooks has also rolled out measures such as guaranteeing year-on-year wage increases for colleagues, providing one-off payments to help with rising costs, and an extra week’s salary at Christmas.
This kind of support is crucial at a time when our own data shows that concerns around money, increasing customer abuse and much of the uncertainty facing the industry are contributing to retail currently being one of the unhappiest sectors to work in. But that’s something that we at the Retail Trust and the retailers we work with are determined to change.
We already partner with around 200 retailers to help improve the health and happiness of their staff. Businesses like Beaverbrooks, or Next, or The Entertainer, who we have joined forces with for the first time this year.
And we believe that the right approach starts by creating a culture where people can begin to feel comfortable discussing their own mental health and have access to help when needed. An approach that encourages people to take control of their wellbeing and look after one another.
It’s something that’s central to the Retail Trust’s Together Fest wellbeing festival later this month where we’ll be uniting more than 1,000 people from over 200 retailers for a full day of inspiring talks, masterclasses and interactive sessions designed to equip people with the essential tools to improve their mental health.
We know there are still millions of retail workers facing ongoing uncertainty, stress and risk of burnout right now. But that’s exactly why we want more and more people, leaders and businesses to get behind our cause, so that we can have a bigger impact in how the industry looks after its people and ensure there are even more retailers competing to be named retail’s happiest workplace.
For more information on this year’s Together Fest at on 25 May, visit retailtrust.org.uk/together-fest.
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