Focused on supporting mental wellbeing across all our teams
Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our teammates and the people we serve—both in good times and in times of challenge. As the broader response to the pandemic has transitioned away from restrictions and lockdowns to living with COVID-19 and community reopening, our approach to health and safety has also evolved to ensure our teams can keep pace with evolving public health guidance. We are committed to supporting our teammates so they always feel physically and mentally safe, helping them to be high performers and to deliver for our customers and communities.
Our health, safety and wellness approach enables our business strategy and People Plan by protecting and empowering our greatest strength—our 130,000 teammates across Canada.
COVID-19 remained the single largest health and safety challenge we faced in fiscal 2022. The pandemic continued to affect our teams, requiring ongoing elevated protocols, procedures and protective equipment requirements. It also contributed to staff shortages and the need for some teammates to quickly assume new roles to ensure business continuity. The pandemic created uncertainty for some of our customers and community members, which in turn contributed to higher-than-usual mental health impacts for our team members as they worked hard to follow the rules and keep everyone safe.
In response to these challenges—and as part of our ongoing commitment to continuously improve our performance—we focused on strengthening our physical and mental health and safety programs in fiscal 2022.
We updated and implemented pandemic and vaccination protocols, ensuring our approach evolved in step with the dynamic public health environment and response. Early in the pandemic, we were the first major retailer in Canada to install plexiglass shields in our stores—and in fiscal 2022 we remained committed to those elevated protocols, including frequent hand sanitizing, cleaning and safe movement in our stores. Our pharmacy teams also continued to play a pivotal role in Canada’s national vaccination program, vaccinating more than one million community members, customers and teammates against the virus.
Ongoing work to enhance our safety program in fiscal 2022 included:
We also launched a new, business-wide Mental Wellbeing Strategy with the goals of:
- Reducing stigma around mental wellbeing in a measurable way
- Reducing the impact of mental wellbeing challenges
- Identifying and providing tools and resources to support teammate wellbeing <?li>
- Increasing engagement and retention
As part of this strategy, we enhanced our dedicated website focused on mental health information and resources for teammates (sobeysmentalwellbeing.com) and offered both in-person and webinar-based awareness sessions.
Engaging Managers as Safety Leaders
We believe people leaders have an important role to play in reinforcing safety culture and processes in our business. In fiscal 2022 our team of safety specialists worked closely with management teams in lower-performing locations to identify opportunities for enhanced safety leadership and performance. This approach reinforced managing safety performance as an area of accountability for leaders and involved them in the creation and implementation of site-specific plans, drawing on local knowledge and experience to make our workplaces safer.
Adopting New Safety Auditing Tools
We audit each corporate location annually to ensure it is following our safe operating procedures and meeting legislation compliance. The location team must achieve a grade of 85 per cent in order to be eligible for any performance-related bonuses. In fiscal 2022 we introduced a new digital auditing tool to make this process faster, easier and more powerful—giving our auditors and teams access to enhanced data and analytics.
Implementing Incident Investigation Training
Our safety approach empowers our people to prevent incidents and to learn everything we can when something does go wrong so we can work to prevent similar events in future. In fiscal 2022 we developed and implemented a new training program for all people leaders in retail and logistics, focused on how to conduct proper investigations of safety incidents. This program ensures our people know how to consistently carry out root-cause assessments, learning which factors to address to make our workplaces safer.
Reducing Incidents and Injuries
In fiscal 2022 we developed new e-learning modules to help our grocery store teammates learn about how to avoid injuries through better ergonomics, proper lifting and consideration of repetitive motions. Drawing on data about injury frequency and a thorough ergonomic review of scanning and bagging processes, these training modules will help our cashiers across the country serve customers better while being safer. We also worked with partners to create an enhanced checkstand prototype that could help reduce ergonomic risk factors, and we will be piloting it in our stores in fiscal 2023.
“I enjoy interacting with different teammates across our business to learn their perspectives on health and safety and how I can provide support. The different perspectives push me to think outside of the box and come up with ideas on how we can improve workplace safety.”
Francis Garcia, National Health and Safety Manager
As a family nurturing families, we want to ensure Canadians are taken care of today, tomorrow and in the future. By doing OurPart™ for the environment, we hope to inspire our customers to do theirs. Every step we take together—big or small—can make a difference.Learn More