EMBEDDING OUR VALUES
The Office Business Philosophy comprises a Purpose, Vision and Values and was specifically developed for Office after the business was acquired by Truworths. A key initiative in the year ahead will be to refresh the Office Business Philosophy to ensure closer alignment with Truworths.
THERE HAS BEEN A SIGNIFICANT FOCUS DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD ON ALIGNING THE HUMAN RESOURCES PROCESSES WITH THOSE OF TRUWORTHS INTERNATIONAL GROUP. OFFICE CONTINUES TO WORK IN COLLABORATION WITH ITS COUNTERPARTS IN TRUWORTHS ON BUSINESS-CRITICAL OPERATIONS.
MANAGING COVID-19 IN THE WORKPLACE
As we emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic the business followed a phased approach to returning to the workplace hybrid working policy was introduced for all head office staff, specifically accommodating for any high-risk employees.
Employee mental health and well-being was a key human resource focus area as the economy emerged from the pandemic.
Office subscribes to the services offered by the Retail Trust, an employee assistance programme for the retail industry. In the past year, 59 employees were supported with well-being services through the Retail Trust. During mental health awareness week in the UK in May, awareness was raised in relation to the services offered by the Retail Trust.
Office has 16 qualified mental health first aiders who have been trained to support employees in need of mental health assistance.
Stores traded throughout the period, with health and safety measures continuing to be applied to protect employees and customers, including the wearing of masks, screening questionnaires for employees at the start of shifts, social distancing, and sanitising of touch points. Store management was trained on COVID-19 measures and risk assessments. The most senior member of management in-store had the responsibility for acting as the dedicated COVID-19 Compliance Officer.
REMUNERATION, BENEFITS AND RETENTION
The Office remuneration strategy has been aligned with that of Truworths and all employees are rewarded based on financial and strategic project performance, as well as the performance of teams and individuals. All management and full-time employees are remunerated on total guaranteed packages. A private healthcare benefit is available to all qualifying staff and is paid by the company. In addition, tailored incentive structures are aimed at driving reward for performance in all areas across the business. Commission schemes apply to store staff based on sales turnover. Rewarding and retaining high-performing employees has been a challenge in the UK as increasing inflation continues to put pressure on remuneration levels. There is a strong demand for talent and scarce skills in the market. There is equally a strong drive to contain costs to ensure the long-term sustainable performance of the business and our ability to continue employing and rewarding people.
The national minimum wage in the UK increased by 6.6% for employees over the age of 23, with effect from 1 April 2022. This is the highest increase since the introduction of the minimum wage. Office salaries were reviewed in April 2022 and adjusted, where applicable, in line with the revised minimum wage levels.
The gender pay gap report for 2021 was published in April 2022. This report is required to be produced annually in terms of the Equality Act 2010 for businesses employing more than 250 employees in Great Britain.
Office is committed to gender pay equality. The company’s overall gender pay gap mean is favourable to female employees by 3.0%. This is also a highly positive result relative to the UK national average gender pay gap which is 15.4% in favour of males. In the review period for the gender pay gap report, 45.4% of Office’s female employees received a bonus compared to 34.5% of male employees.
High staff turnover at head office earlier in the period was a concern, but this has subsequently normalised and turnover has decreased. The number of resignations has reduced to historic norms.
The Greenford warehouse was deemed surplus to requirements and closed during the period, due to excess capacity in the primary Kilmarnock warehouse in addition, six retail stores were closed. Following these closures, 65 employees were made redundant.
TALENT AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
Training continued to focus on General Data Protection Regulation, health and safety and modern slavery. Mandatory training for new employees also included training on sustainability, product policy as well as anti-bullying and harassment training. There are currently 1 061 active users on our e-learning training platform. The e-learning platform enables the business to easily conduct training across all stores. Training over this period was kept to essential training due to COVID-19 restrictions.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
Office role models an inclusive environment, where every employee is able to bring their whole self to work and feel comfortable sharing information about who they are. The core basics of fairness and respect for difference, equality of opportunity and treatment across gender and disability (mental and physical and different abilities), are practised across the business.