Health and well-being

Eating healthy food and investing in personal well-being is a lifestyle for a growing number of people. We work to take good care of our employees' well-being, as well as helping our customers make healthier choices.

The key goals of the ‘Well-being and health' theme of our Best Place to Live programme include employee satisfaction and customers' healthier choices. We measure our success in achieving these goals by monitoring, in particular, the development of our job satisfaction index and the increase in the sales of vegetables.



+5 units



Job satisfaction within S Group

Our employees are clearly more satisfied with their jobs than employees on average in Finland. Our annual target is a result that exceeds the general standard in Finland by at least five units. In 2018, our result was 6.3 units above the standard.

S Group´s job satisfaction index (a scale of 0-100)

Healthier choices

We work to offer products and services that increase health and well-being, as well as helping our customers make healthy choices.

We make it even more convenient for customers to consume vegetables by preparing visible displays of seasonal produce in our stores and by lowering the prices of vegetables.

Table: increase in the sales of vegetablesHide the table
We promote the following UN Sustainable Development Goals in particular:

Well-being at work

Taking care of people and teams

Few companies succeed without employees who are satisfied with their jobs and feel good at work. Well-being at work can be improved in simple ways that are easy to implement in day-to-day work. The most important thing is to anticipate changes and their impacts on employees and to genuinely involve them in developing better ways of working.

Within S Group, the most significant recurring annual indicator is the workplace community survey, in which all employees are invited to participate. The survey identifies and monitors factors related to each employee's work and performance, as well as factors related to their units and the company. The survey consists of several indices, which are used to measure various aspects of job satisfaction. Our scores were above the general standard in Finland on all indices.

In 2017, S Group implemented a new tool for measuring well-being at work. This tool includes indicators for job satisfaction and the quality of supervisory work, as well as perceived working capacity and disability.  In 2017, we also determined Group-level management promises: I dare, I appreciate and I do. The purpose of these promises is to ensure good supervisory work and management for everyone and further develop the Group's management culture. The workplace community survey, or the TYT survey, is our Group-level indicator for monitoring supervisory work.  The survey has been conducted annually for many years, and it helps us develop supervisory work in the right direction.

In 2018, our level of job satisfaction increased by 0.2 units and the supervisor index improved by 0.1 units year-on-year. The local sickness absence rate increased from 3.10% in 2017 to 3.17% in 2018. The number of occupational and commuting accidents decreased by 158, and the number of sickness absence days resulting from accidents decreased by 482 on 2017.

Based on these key figures, we have planned measures to strengthen our employees' working capacity. These measures include common principles for adjusted work and the further development of the practices for returning to work after sickness absences caused by accidents. In 2019, we are focusing on supporting mental health by means of new tools and recommendations and by increasing the use of adjusted work in our organisation.

Show the tablePiilota taulukko

Flexible work

Our intention is to enable all employees to earn their primary income by working for the Group, if they so wish. Although the majority of employees still value full-time work, part-time work is particularly popular among young people aged under 25, as well as employees nearing retirement.

Full-time and part-time employees, %
Permanent and fixed-term employees, %
TYPE OF EMPLOYMENT, % 2018 2017 2016
Permanent 88 86 89
Fixed-term 12 14 11
Full-time 35 36 40
Part-time 65 64 60

The figures include all employees with a current employment contract with S Group. The figures are based on the situation on 30 November. 

Employee turnover


Permanent employees

Safety at work

A safe working and service environment is a fundamental right of our employees and customers. We ensure safety through accident prevention and the identification and avoidance of hazardous and near miss situations. Continuous improvement of safety awareness among employees and the regular assessment of work-related risks are important means of prevention. S Group's accident frequency rate in 2018 was 34 accidents per million hours of work. This is in line with the average for the retail sector.

Table: accidents at workHide the table

Employing young people

Retail as a bridge to working life

S Group is one of Finland's most significant employers of young people. We help a large number of young people gain their very first experiences of working life by hiring them for summer job or trainee positions. On the other hand, young people working evenings and weekends are vital to the operations of many of our locations.

In 2018, we were one of the main partners of the Responsible Summer Job campaign. In the summer, we employed around 13,000 young people in our stores, service station stores, restaurants and hotels across Finland.




Young minds at work

Around 10,000 of our employees are aged under 25.  Including seasonal employees, trainees and work experience students, we employ a total of around 50,000 people each year. The retail sector often serves as a bridge between student life and working life. This role comes with great responsibility. Young people's expectations of work have changed, and issues related to working life skills are challenging employers to change.

In response to this challenge, we launched the Young Minds at Work project at the beginning of 2018. This three-year project aims to find ways to further develop working life from young people's perspective.

As part of the project, we carried out a study and produced a report, Young People's Expectations of Working Life, in cooperation with the Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The survey included in the study was targeted at all S Group employees aged under 25. The purpose was to discover what young employees in the retail sector hope from working life. In addition, we studied young people's working capacity and well-being at work. The results of the study help us provide our supervisors with better capabilities to support young people at the beginning of their careers. This was the first study of its kind in the retail sector.

According to the results of the study, the most important aspects for young people are an opportunity to work in an encouraging and supportive workplace community under a good supervisor, as well as a good balance between work and life. Young people represent an entirely new type of feedback culture: they want to give and receive feedback.

The study also revealed that 39% of the respondents had been feeling down or depressed during the 30 days immediately preceding the time of the survey. This made us think about how we as an employer could help young people work through their issues, and we developed the Shoulder for Young Minds service in cooperation with Terveystalo in late 2018. The service includes a 24/7 chat service and video appointments, among other features. Through the service, young people are referred to contact their occupational healthcare provider or seek brief therapy.

For a healthier daily life 

We encourage our customers to make healthy choices


Food plays a key role in promoting health and well-being. We work to offer everyone opportunities for healthy eating, and we have made a nutrition commitment to increase the consumption of vegetables and promote healthy eating among children, for example.

Half a kilo of vegetables per day

We seek to encourage Finns to eat more vegetables by lowering the prices of Finnish vegetables, for example. The sales of vegetables are growing rapidly: their sales have increased by around 19 million kilos compared with 2015. In addition, we prominently display seasonal vegetables in our grocery stores and have expanded the distribution of popular recipes.

We also believe that people can learn to eat more healthily by monitoring their consumption of vegetables, which is why we added a functionality to our ‘Omat ostot' (My purchases) service that enables our customer to see how much fruit and vegetables they have purchased in a year or month, or per day on average. By using the service, customers can monitor their total consumption of vegetables, as well as their consumption of fruit, berries, root vegetables and vegetables or specific product groups, such as bananas, grapes and kiwi fruit.

Healthier food for children

Over the past year, we have considerably expanded our selection of nutritionally better options for children. By the end of 2018, we had introduced 50 new products, such as meals, snacks and juices for children, when our goal was to add 20 new products by the end of 2020.

In 2017, we introduced Ässäkokki cooking classes in cooperation with the Martha home economics organisation, and we continued to offer these classes in 2018. During the summer holiday and autumn break season, we organised nearly 100 free cooking classes for school-age children.  In these classes, children aged 8–12 learn how to prepare vegetable-based meals inventively and economically from seasonal ingredients.


Purchase data to aid research

Finnish food consumption research took a major step forward in 2017, when 14,000 customers of the S Group provided researchers at the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere with access to their purchase data. The main purpose of the study is to produce information about whether the data on co-op members' purchases describes the food consumption habits of the population as a whole. In addition, our goal is to use the purchase data to develop services that support customers' healthier lifestyles.

The study was expanded in 2018, and invitations to participate were sent to around 1 million co-op members. Access to the purchase data has made it possible to examine daily choices made at stores and to produce information about rapid changes in these choices.  The study has also examined how purchases are connected at the level of store visits – that is, what types of food products are typically chosen in the same shopping basket. In addition, nationwide purchase data makes it possible to examine co-op members' diets and lifestyles, as well as variation in diets and lifestyles between population groups and factors affecting these.