Q&A with Helen Jones

Workforce Engagement at a Glance


Listening groups held across the Group


Local colleague engagement champions appointed

Q. How do you ensure the employee voice is heard on the Board?

A. Reporting to the Board on behalf of colleagues, is a responsibility I take seriously. The Board is committed to ensuring colleagues have a forum where their views, suggestions or concerns will be heard, so I provide that link. In addition to the annual Colleague Engagement Survey, the Company holds listening groups each year. I typically attend around six sessions each quarter, as well as making some informal store visits. In each case, colleagues are actively encouraged to be open and honest in their feedback and I do my best to put them all at ease. I now report quarterly to the Board on the main themes, to include what is working well for colleagues and what the Company should pay particular attention to. In addition we recently started to work with our Colleague Engagement Champions on pay reporting to ensure they have a good understanding of our approach to reward at Halfords. We're also inviting them to comment on what we might consider when developing future pay policies for Executives and colleagues across the Group. I attended the initial session and captured some of the early feedback for the Board.

Q. For you, what were the key highlights this year?

A. The main highlights for me were the overwhelmingly positive response to the Company's handling of colleague and customer safety, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the care taken to ensure everyone felt supported. Being an essential services provider meant that Halfords remained open throughout the lockdown period. There were times when this was really challenging for colleagues, but the team spirit fostered as a result, ensuring we were able to keep customers safe and on the move. It was great to see. Listening groups continued, and despite being prevented from meeting in person, we managed surprisingly well using conference calls for Halfords Autocentres and Microsoft Teams for Retail.

Q. How do you share outcomes with the wider employee base?

A. All feedback from listening groups is captured in writing and then shared with attendees. The information is logged centrally and 'You Said, We Did' communications are now being shared across the Halfords Group through the various platforms. Subsequent listening groups report on actions taken as a result of the feedback and I'm aware that colleagues really value the opportunity to share their views in a safe space.

Q. What areas does the Board want to focus on in future?

A. The Company has committed to an ambitious ESG agenda, to include promoting diversity and inclusion across the Group. In addition, we are working to strengthen our succession plans and our talent pipeline. As we continue to emphasise our services credentials, ensuring we provide the appropriate training to colleagues to deliver expertise across motoring and cycling, remains an absolute priority.