Foodstuffs North Island launches mental health initiative

12 October, 2018 by
FMCG Business
Wendy Hammonds, General Manager People and Capability at Foodstuffs North Island.

Foodstuffs North Island’s purpose is to ‘make sure New Zealanders get more out of life’, and that goes for their 22,000 team members as well as customers in their New World, PAK’nSAVE, Four Square and Gilmours stores.

The company is committed to improving the wellbeing of its team members, and is rolling out mental health training and tools to give team members the skills to better support themselves and those around them. This has been offered to the stores first as they are at the grass roots of our cooperative and closest to our regional communities.


GM People & Capability Wendy Hammonds says the training is based around what we call ‘the three Rs’: Recognise, Respond, and Refer.

“It’s about giving our people the skills to know what to look out for, how to start a conversation, and letting them know what support is available,” says Hammonds. “We’re not expecting our people to be experts or to deal with these tough issues on their own. The reality is 1 in 2 New Zealanders will experience a mental health issue throughout their lifetime. Making sure our people are well-supported is critically important to us.”

As well as practical training resources for all New World, PAK’nSAVE, Four Square, and Gilmours stores, Foodstuffs is offering sessions for its 800+ support centre team. The aim will be to help the team learn to identify the early warning signs and mental health increase awareness in general. Last month more than 300 leaders from across the company took part in a mental health education session.

The company has also invested in supporting the Foodstuffs team with free wellness checks.

“Workplaces can play a central role in breaking down the barriers around mental health by making it part of normal conversation,” says Hammonds. “We can help reduce the stigma that exists around mental health and make sure our people can bring their whole selves to work, every single day.”

“As a big company, we can make a big impact,” says Hammonds. “But our biggest strength is really how small we are – all our stores are locally owned and operated, creating a level of close connection in our teams that you don’t get in a lot of big companies.”

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