Q&A: Steve Jones, head of personnel, Ginsters

  • Read about the brands that are stepping up to provide public service in the face of government cuts, here
  • For a case study on O2’s Learn service, click here
  • For a case study on Wickes’ Trade Builder service, click here
  • Find out about The Co-operative Group’s advice and training service in our viewpoint, here
  • For Unilever, Diageo and Mars’ Responsibility Deal pledges, click here

Marketing Week (MW): How is Ginsters getting involved with public services?

Steve Jones (SJ): Through the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal and in partnership with Cornwall Council, we offer our suppliers health assessments for their staff. It is a health MOT, checking blood pressure, lung function, cholesterol and so on.

For example, an engineering supplier across the road from us employs about 10 people. It does not have the facilities to provide bicycles or a gym, so we have opened up our cycle loan scheme to it and have also allowed it use of our gym, as we do for some local clubs.

MW: How is Ginsters fulfilling its Responsibility Deal pledges relating to workplace wellbeing?

SJ: We run a course on positive psychology, which we offer to any staff member who wants to take it up. The local school and college have also sent a number of students to the sessions. We get good interaction with people from a variety of backgrounds. We get shopfloor guys mingling with lecturers at the local college or managers from the dairy.

We also send out regular health bulletins. For National Stress Awareness Day, we would send out information about mental health. At the moment, there is a lot going on in association with prostate cancer for ’Movember’, where men are sponsored to grow a moustache. We are continually drip-feeding health messages to our staff, but also to our corporate partners.

MW: Are these services offered free, or as a business enterprise for Ginsters?

SJ: It is mostly pro bono. We have charged for a couple of events – we cannot open up everything because of the demand, the volume and the insurance.

I would not see it as a business and I do not see us expanding it. There has been a lot of talk about setting up what the local council calls ’wellbeing hubs’ in Cornwall, so we might see such a scheme in Callington, where we are, that other local companies would use. It could have occupational health facilities funded by the local council in combination with us.

MW: How does it benefit the brand to deliver these local schemes?

SJ: We do not really do it as a consumer brand, we do it more as a local community employee brand. We find it helps in the engagement of our staff with our mission and gives us good local press. It has PR spin-offs, no doubt, but it is not done with that intent. From a marketing perspective, it is nice to have but I would not call it part of our brand marketing strategy.

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