The success of the Group is a direct result of the knowledge, skills, drive, passion and enthusiasm of its people. Since its earliest days, the Group has created and maintained an environment where individuals can flourish and fulfil their potential.
People are at the heart of the SuperGroup business and bring the Superdry brand to life; from the innovative products they create through to the service excellence they provide to customers. To deliver continuing and improving value for shareholders, the Group must engage its people in its plans and ensure that the right individuals are in place, combining the right mix of skills and experience to deliver growth.
Having welcomed German and Spanish colleagues this year, SuperGroup now employs in excess of 3,500 people (including part-time colleagues) across the UK and Europe. This is set to grow in the coming year as the Company embarks on initiatives to deliver further growth.
The management team is developing tools to equip people with the skills to drive SuperGroup forward and offer them rewarding careers. Sharing in success is something that is valued and, for a third year, employees have been offered the opportunity to join the Sharesave scheme (please refer to note 11 for further details).
This year, the Group has continued to build a pipeline of future talent, attracting new people to the business and developing those already on board. An intern/sandwich placement programme has been introduced, customer service training has taken place in all stores, language skills training in Spanish, German and French has been offered, management skills training for store and head office managers has been made available, together with ongoing support for professional education and qualifications and a successful leadership development programme. The Group remains a very attractive place to work and, during the year, received more than 100,000 applications and recruited in excess of 1,200 temps to support Christmas 2013 peak trading.
There is a strong pool of talented people in the business. However, given the scale and pace of current and anticipated future growth, in early 2014 the Group embarked on a comprehensive review of talent. This included mapping out future business and talent needs, documenting the skills and experience already in place, raising the level of debate on talent amongst senior leaders, and building a talent plan to support future business requirements.
The relocation of the UK logistics operation unfortunately resulted in the closure of two distribution centres in Gloucestershire. However, it is pleasing that 64 employees chose to make the move and transfer to the new distribution centre in Burton upon Trent. A number of colleagues elected to take redundancy and were supported in achieving NVQ qualifications prior to the closures, alongside comprehensive training in CV writing, interview and job hunting skills support.
In the UK, the Government's pension auto-enrolment changes were implemented and, following a comprehensive communication campaign on the value of investing in pensions, only a handful of employees opted out of the pension scheme.
Equality and diversity are fundamental values supported by SuperGroup. The Group has an equal opportunities policy and takes its responsibilities under that policy seriously. In addition, the Group gives full and fair consideration to applications for employment by disabled people. In the event of members of staff becoming disabled, every effort is made to ensure that their employment with the Group continues and that appropriate training is arranged as necessary.
The Group believes in respecting individuals and their rights in the workplace. With this in mind, specific policies are in place covering harassment and bullying, whistleblowing and equal opportunities. SuperGroup employees represent a wide and diverse workforce from all backgrounds, sexual orientations, nationalities and ethnic and religious groups. With continued overseas expansion, the workforce is becoming more diverse. The Group respects cultural differences and actively seeks to learn about them in each territory in which it operates.
The Board recognises the benefits of encouraging diversity across all areas of the Group and believes that this contributes to SuperGroup's continued success. All appointments are made based on merit and are measured against specific objective criteria including the skills and experience needed for the position.
The Group is committed to increasing the participation of women at the Board and senior management level. As illustrated in the table below, more than half of the Group's total employees are female:
|Group Board directors||9||90%||1||10%||10|
|Other Company employees||1,459||44%||1,891||56%||3,350|
The Nomination Committee has continued to consider the merits of boardroom diversity including gender. However, all Board appointments are made on merit against objective criteria rather than aiming to achieve an externally prescribed target. At the start of the year, 11% of the Board was composed of women. This is now at 10%, with the recent appointment of Hans Schmitt in May 2014.
A number of women have been appointed to senior management positions during the year, including the Group General Counsel, the Head of International Retail, and the Group Financial Controller. The Executive Committee is currently composed of 30% of women, having started the year at 22%.
The Group is committed to upholding all basic human rights and welcomes the implementation of the United Nations' Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights.
Health and Safety
The Group recognises the importance of health and safety and is fully committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its employees and customers.
A risk management process including monthly inspections, annual auditing, and trend analysis is followed to identify hazards or increased risks within the Group and ensure that mitigating controls are effective.
Policies and procedures are reviewed regularly to ensure they are robust and continue to further improve health and safety standards across the Group. This, along with the ongoing training programme for stores and head office employees delivered by the health and safety team, has ensured that the reportable accident rate remains extremely low at just four for this Period.
Employees are encouraged to report any health and safety concerns they may have either internally through the escalation procedure or via the independent whistleblowing hotline. No reports or calls regarding health and safety have been made in this financial year.
Substantial investment continues to be made in protecting employees and customers across the Group through the installation and upgrading of physical security and fire detection systems, and the appointment of a dedicated Operational Risk Manager to support the European territories in conjunction with the existing health and safety team.
Looking ahead, the focus will be on how the right talent is sourced, together with a strategy to develop people ahead of the business' growth curve. There will also be an effort to engage people further by encouraging employees to develop their careers with SuperGroup.