We have established a range of communications channels to ensure that we share the latest information and developments, and to give employees the chance to share thoughts, ideas and concerns.These include quarterly newsletters, regular talks and presentations, and our annual fashion footprint survey. The survey is sent to all Head Office employees and their responses help to influence and shape our fashion footprint programme.
We held a ‘Save the Planet Month’ featuring talks, competitions, and workshops to help give employees the knowledge and tools to improve their own environmental impact, including:
- ‘Pledge for the Planet’ – we encouraged employees to make a personal pledge for the planet, consisting of one tangible action that they could carry out, for example cycling to work or eating less meat.Over 1,000 people across the business took part in this initiative.
- Talks from WWF and the research agency Mintel – these covered topics such as the dangers of single-use plastics, the importance of clean energy and new market trends in sustainable fashion.
- A hands-on ‘upcycling’ masterclasses and a “LIVE LAGOM” workshop with IKEA - this showed participants how to develop more sustainable lifestyle habits, such as how to reduce food waste and make their own fermented foods.
This year we also began sending quarterly fashion footprint updates via our dedicated email channel, called ‘Your Footprint’. These updates are sent to all employees in our Head Office sites, and include reviews of new and ongoing projects, and information relating to fashion footprint events.
The health and wellbeing of our employees continues to be one of our top priorities.
Change One Thing and Flexible Working Hours
In March 2018, we ran a campaign called ‘Change One Thing’ and asked employees the question – ‘If you could change one thing about the business, what would it be?’
Increased flexibility came out as the top request, with 30% of all submissions relating to flexibility. As a result of this feedback, we launched flexible working around core hours. Initial feedback indicates that this initiative has been received very positively – and when we asked people about it again as part of our Group Internal Communications & Engagement survey, 64% of respondents said they had already made use of this perk.
Mental Health Awareness and Stress Mitigation
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week in May, we dedicated the entire month to events and activities designed to help mitigate stress. These included fitness classes and talks from mindfulness coaches, charities (including CALM) and nutrition experts.
We remain committed to the following policy on diversity:
‘We want to attract and keep the very best people at Arcadia. To do this, we nurture a culture that is supportive and inclusive, that values meritocracy, openness, fairness and transparency. Not only is it the law, but it makes good business sense to treat all candidates and employees equally, fairly and consistently based on their ability. We do not discriminate against people based on their skin colour, ethnic origin or nationality, a disability, their age, their religion or belief, their gender, their sexual orientation, their work status, or marital or civil partnership status – or indeed any factor that does not have relevance to doing a great job.’
Our age and gender statistics illustrate that Arcadia is a young and predominately female organisation, which is in keeping with the retail sector as a whole.
In retail, 85% of our employees are female while at head office 71% of the population is female. In terms of age, 75% of the retail workforce is under 35 while at head office 63% of the workforce is under 35.
Our Gender Pay Gap report is published on our corporate website.
Learning & Development
Learning opportunities are tailored to different roles and functions within the business, encompassing both head office and retail employees.
In 2018, we delivered 120 days’ worth of training across 35 different workshop themes for head office employees. Our learning opportunities range from soft-skills workshops to technical training for our Buyers and Merchandisers. For retail employees, training programmes are based on independent digital resources.
In 2019, we plan to make learning more accessible and impactful through bite-sized ‘skill shots’ to be delivered both face to face and on-line. These accelerate the learning process, and offer immediate application of the learning outcome into the workplace. We will also continue to build a range of ‘Insta-learns’ - digital tools that will enable employees to access learning related videos’, guides and Pinterest boards when (and where) they need it.
The fashion footprint programme is now embedded within Arcadia Group’s Leadership Framework, a set of key behaviours that all employees must strive towards, and Technical Competency Frameworks relevant to buyers and merchandisers. Through referencing the programme in these key documents, we are working to embed a culture of awareness for sustainability and ethical trade across all business functions.
We continue to attract emerging talent through our Apprenticeship Scheme in Merchandising, which was launched in 2017. In 2018, we kicked off the second round of our Higher Level apprenticeship programme across our Brands in Head office with 13 new apprentices. Over the next eighteen months, they will be immersed within the merchandising teams of our brands. The apprenticeship scheme gives this new generation of talent the best possible start to a career in retail by providing a mix of on-the-job training and off-site training at the Fashion Retail Academy.
All applicants to the programme are invited to an insight day at our head office in London, to gain a deeper understanding of the role and our company culture. We also provide employability upskilling to ensure that their day is as productive as possible. This year, 75 students attended our insight day from 60 different schools/colleges.
We continue our close collaboration with the Fashion Retail Academy(FRA). Over 100 students joined us for three-week work experience placements throughout the year.
In July 2018 we ran a two-week work experience programme for eighteen year 12 students from across a range of school and colleges in Greater London. The programme gave students an insight into working life and careers at a Fashion retail head office. Students were also given the opportunity to take part in masterclasses and employability workshops.