Stores offered counseling to workers during emergency situation

A Selver supermarket in Tallinn.
A Selver supermarket in Tallinn. Source: Selver AS

During the outbreak of the coronavirus, sales assistants at stores had to work throughout the emergency situation. Retailers choose to support their staff in several different ways during this time.

Maire Saar, the manager of Torupilli Selver, said it has been extremely nice to see shop assistants valued more during the crisis. In the emergency situation, it was difficult for sales assistants to work in protective equipment as well as for frightened and tense shop visitors.

She said the company supported its workers with free meals, drinks and made sure personal protective equipment was available.

"In our Selver all evening attendants could take a taxi home and there was always the help of a psychologist for those who needed it," said Saar. "We did get a bonus. Because turnover was very high, bonuses were secured."

Selver's customer service representatives turned to the psychologist primarily to help themselves understand the new situation and how to deal with fear.

Both Coop and Rimi focused on increasing communication with their staff instead of offering rewards. For example, employees were given information on a daily basis on how to cope with the difficult situation.

Kaire Tero, Rimi's human resources manager said: "We had a very important e-mail from the CEO every morning, which was actually read to each other with the teams in the store to provide good psychological support, it was more important during the crisis than any soups or motivational packages."

Tero said it was decided to keep the annual salary increase during the crisis. 

Maxima also provided psychological counseling to employees. They also offered practical help to employees, so that those who were in quarantine or sick leave were given a free week's supply of food and vitamins.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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