In December 2014, Coles Express launched Express Steps, an innovative wellbeing program aimed at encouraging employees to improve their physical and mental health.

The Express Steps program was triggered by an internal workplace survey of over 1000 employees which found that 84 per cent of employees were not getting enough physical activity.

 Charlie Griffin, Head of Safety and Wellbeing

Charlie Griffin, Head of Safety and Wellbeing

 

Coles Express is a fuel and convenience operator with 700 stores nationwide and more than 5,000 employees. Charlie Griffin, Head of Safety and Wellbeing at Coles Express, said Express Steps was born after a team member explored the benefits of the corporate Fitbit program.

Through Express Steps, team members can purchase a Fitbit at a subsidised rate and become involved by competing against teams across the Coles Express business to rack up their step count and help their area to top the leader board.

Mr Griffin, who has been Head of Safety and Wellbeing for thirteen years, said the program was first implemented to prevent manual handling injuries.

“We have had a very good track record for safety performance, but I felt it was the right time for Coles Express to take that next step and strive to create a healthier workforce, therefore limiting the risk of injury,” said Griffin.

“A lot of our team members are standing at the register all day and so they are not moving a lot.

“We put this program in place to encourage people to become more active and become a healthier person both physically and mentally.”

Since the launch, one team member has lost more than forty kilograms with Express Steps and another member has not only lost weight through the program but has become more social, feeling more encouraged to leave the house and join social groups outside of work.

“That is the main driver,” Griffin said.

“We hear lots of little positive stories and if we can help one or two people change their lives then we know we are doing a great thing.”

As an added incentive, team members receive Flybuy points for being active participants in the program.

Team members who are active every day for a month – regardless of how many steps they take – receive 2,000 points, which roughly equates to ten dollars. There are 380 Coles Express team members using their Fitbits on a regular basis.

Although there are no quick fixes, Coles Express has endeavoured to make simple changes to support the wellbeing of the workforce.

The same internal workplace survey also showed 46 per cent of team members only ate breakfast less than two days a week. In response, Coles Express provided a toaster for every store and permitted access to discounted breakfast items for team members working early in the morning.

Express Steps and Coles Express’ wider health and wellbeing program ultimately works to improve safety and wellbeing and minimise the risk of fatigue and injury.

“Ultimately, that is good for our business and gives way to greater efficiency, productivity and happier team members,” said Griffin.

Due to the success of Express Steps, the program has been extended to Coles’ Store Support Centre in Hawthorn East to encourage more team members across the business to get active.

The program has now shifted to focus on individuals, however team competitions have not disappeared altogether; Coles’ next competitive team member event will kick off soon.


DID YOU KNOW?

Our research shows engaging in physical exercise is correlated with higher job satisfaction (2016 Snapshot of the Australian Workplace).