Wellness: Success starts on the inside

When workers are happy, businesses thrive so we caught up with a number of wholesalers to discover how they support their staff to shine

The largest study of wellbeing at work has been carried out by Indeed, the global jobsite and hiring solutions provider, to measure workplace happiness and identify the key factors that contribute to it.

The Work Wellbeing Score provides insight around critical wellbeing outcomes such as happiness, stress, satisfaction and purpose and reveals that a sense of belonging and purpose are actually bigger drivers of happiness than pay.

So, how do you create a positive work culture that fosters happiness within the wholesale sector? We asked a number of wholesalers for their thoughts.


For CEO Simon Hannah, open and authentic communication of JW Filshill’s company vision and goals is essential for the business’s success and to cultivate a positive company culture.

“Ensuring everyone is aligned to our values is critical,” he says. “It is essential that everyone understands our strategy and their role in delivering it as when the business does well, we all do well.”

Filshill’s commitment to its values and culture is crystal clear, with murals and banners visibly communicating these. Every colleague is brought up to speed on the business performance and strategy each year.

However, rather than send these on email, Simon presents them in person across four different shifts, starting at 5.30am to catch the transport team and night shift. This includes a summary of key achievements, business growth, forecasting, demand planning, staff development, sustainability, community projects, mental health awareness and seminars for staff on subjects such as dyslexia, money matters and sepsis.

While these presentations are beneficial, they are underpinned by regular check-ins across the business. Every manager has a 90-day review where objectives are discussed for the business, the department and personally while a weekly meeting also takes place. This starts with a mental health check-in where each colleague uses one word to describe how they’re feeling both at home and at work, before updating on their area of work for the previous seven days. They also have the opportunity to identify someone within the business who has gone over and above to help them or others.

“This meeting gives me visibility of every component part of the business,” said Simon. “Everyone has accountability plus their area of work has increased visibility and of course, it’s a great way to instil pride.

“We have ambitious plans for our business in the coming year which can only be brought to life by the incredible people who give everything to making our business a success. Knowing we are all aligned to our values and our purpose is essential.”


Voted Great Place to Work in 2023 at the Scottish Wholesale Association awards, Lomond: The Wholesale Food Co knows how to make staff feel valued and listened to.

Lomond regularly reviews its pay rates and shares proposed increases to ensure two-way conversation and an understanding of decisions made. When faced with rising living costs, the business has supported staff with a cost-of-living increase.

Its decision to roll out electric vehicles for the sales team resulted in annual tax savings, plus it fitted electric car chargers at the homes of the sales team and pay for business miles to cover the energy used.

Staff can buy products with a month’s credit, with increased amounts to reflect challenging situations, such as the cost-of-living crisis. And, spotting regular coffee deliveries, Lomond introduced bean-to-cup coffee machines to provide staff with speciality coffee.


Booker has long been committed to fostering an inclusive, welcoming environment for its people and, as part of that, has created a number of colleague networks, such as Women at Booker, LGBTQ+ at Booker and Race & Ethnicity at Booker.

Women at Booker was created in March 2023 to help champion gender equality, create networking opportunities and support, inspire and motivate female careers across the business. Its first virtual event saw more than 750 colleagues join in to learn about the benefits of colleague networks.

Head of Transport Maria Chittenden is co-chair of Women at Booker: “It’s a fantastic initiative and we’ve been really busy since launch: setting objectives, recruiting a committee of both women and men and organising a number of events. It’s such an honour to be helping, supporting and inspiring colleagues across the business through the network.”


Recognising the very real need to support colleagues’ mental health, Booker held a virtual event with Andy’s Man Club, a suicide prevention charity for men, to celebrate International Men’s Day.

“We’re trying to break down barriers and stereotypes and basically help everyone at Booker be who they want to be and achieve their goals both in their work lives and their personal lives,” said Maria.

Booker has extended that support further by getting some of the vehicles branded with the Andy’s Man Club logo to raise awareness. These new vehicles deliver from its Haydock, South Elmsall and Hatfield sites.

Andy’s Man Club aims to prevent suicide among men and tackle the stigma surrounding men’s mental health. Each week, the charity runs more than 120 free support groups across the UK and online, and helps men through the power of conversation.


Recognising and rewarding dedication, commitment and skill is a sure-fire way to help colleagues feel valued and appreciated.

Creed Foodservice has long been a champion of praising its people. Its Believe in More awards have been celebrating staff for eight years, and the awards are a highlight for staff who can nominate colleagues who have gone above and beyond in their normal roles. For the 2023 awards, held last month, nearly 600 recognition cards were completed by colleagues and customers wanting to say thank you and recognise people for doing a great job. From these nominations, almost 70 people were recognised as quarterly winners and attended the evening with their managers and the Creed Foodservice Board.

“Our Believe in More awards celebrate the great people that work within our teams and show specific recognition to those whose customers and colleagues have identified as going above and beyond their normal roles and in doing so demonstrated our company values of Proud Nurturing, Commercial and Friendly,” said Martin Holmes, People Director.

“Peer-to-peer recognition is extremely important to us at Creed and helps to bolster team morale, positivity and strengthens bonds between colleagues. The event was incredible and was a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy an evening together, away from the usual ‘work’ environment. Our awards always remind us of the calibre of people we have here at Creed, which is what creates our great company.”


Sysco GB prides itself on supporting career development, providing an online university full of training tools and courses, designed to support colleagues from their first day of induction through to management level and beyond.

For those who wish to progress, Brakes offers an extensive learning framework plus apprenticeship and graduate programmes. There’s even a Warehouse to Wheels programme which is committed to growing a talent pool of drivers.

“Our colleagues have been a vital part of Sysco GB’s success over the past few years and that’s why we invest heavily in supporting the progression of our talented team,” said Sue Mace, Director of Talent for Sysco GB. “We’re proud that two thirds of leadership appointments have come from within our business; balancing internal experience with external ideas.

“Investing in our colleagues goes hand-in-hand with business success as our experience shows that it creates high-performing, happier colleagues, delivering sustained success, supporting retention and encouraging wider colleague engagement, a perfect balance for any ambitious person or business.”


As well as hosting Hunt’s World Cup Football Tournament where more than 80 colleagues from across the group come together to support or play football, Hunts’ Food Group also puts on an annual colleague festival.

Last year, Huntsfest (pictured top) saw almost 200 colleagues from across the group congregate at Blackmarsh Farm in Sherborne for a night of beach-themed partying. This event is organised and run by Hunt’s Company Advisory Group which manages company social events, charitable giving and facility improvements. Each of the 10 group members represent a different depot or department and brings suggestions forward from their colleagues at a monthly meeting.

Hunt’s employee benefits are almost too long to list, but include a team lottery, Fantasy Football League, Christmas hamper, saving schemes, discounted purchases, training and development and Mental Health First Aiders.

“We’re a team-first business and prioritise our team’s wellbeing,” said Thomas Hunt, MD, Hunt’s Food Group. “Our goal is to empower our remarkable colleagues to excel in their roles and as a family-owned business, we see colleagues as an extension of our family.”

Andy's Man Club Booker Creed Foodservice health and wellbeing Hunt's Food Group JW Filshill Lomond: The Wholesale Co Martin Holmes mental wellbeing Simon Hannah staff Sue Mace Sysco GB Thomas Hunt