Press Centre

ASDA’s healthy attitude to colleague well-being pays off

Living up to its reputation as the UK’s Most Innovative Employer - as awarded at the 2009 Retail Industry Awards and as Northern Ireland’s foremost company for People Development as claimed at last week’s Belfast Telegraph Business Awards- ASDA has invested over £1.5m implementing in-store occupational health clinics for its colleagues, including the 3000+ working in its 14 supermarkets in Northern Ireland. The innovative scheme, a first for the UK’s retail sector, is expected to save the retailer £2m by reducing absentee levels, will see the introduction of one-day clinics staffed by regional occupational health nurses across the group’s 356 stores. The service will allow colleagues one-on-one appointments of up to 45 minutes with the dedicated nurses, to confidentially deal with their health problems in store and help them return to work more quickly. The initiative was launched earlier this month having been recently trialed in ten regions, including Northern Ireland. During the trial the stores saw levels of absenteeism drop by an average of 1.2 per cent; a result which convinced ASDA’s human resources team of the scheme’s merit. “The 14 stores in Northern Ireland have been involved in the initiative since the trial began in November last year. From an early stage we noticed a significant decrease in the level of long term absenteeism, and this has continued as more colleagues across the province have become involved,” said Charlotte Elliott, NI regional people manager. “Absenteeism in the retail sector has always been an issue but at ASDA we believe that by investing in our people, we invest in the future of our business. As well as implementing the clinics, we have worked hard this year to support our colleagues through the difficult economic climate by introducing several new initiatives. These include offering free legal advice to new colleagues, tax free bicycles on our ‘cycle to work’ scheme and increasing our annual bonus pot for all colleagues across the group. In addition, unlike many other employers, we have ensured our management team will receive performance based pay increases this year of at least two per cent.” At the recent Retail Industry Awards in London, ASDA was commended for its positive, proactive approach towards work-life balance, colleague diversity and colleague health, beating off stiff competition from other leading retailers including Sainsbury’s, Gap and the Carphone Warehouse, to claim the title of ‘Innovative Employer of the Year 2009’. Following this success ASDA picked up the award for ‘Excellence in People Development’ at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards on 2nd April.
Posted in Press Centre on 06 April 2009