M&S are increasing the number of staff who work from home, answering customer letters or electronic comments. Flexibility has increased across the whole week and staff response has been very positive. The company believes that helping staff to achieve a better work-life balance will play a part in its future success. Profile:
All staff in Marks & Spencer plc (75,000 employees around the UK in 2000) are involved in an initiative called 'Getting in shape for our customers', which is a key activity designed to create a stronger customer focus through lower prices and improved service. The company believes that any assistance it can give employees to achieve a better work-life balance will play a part in the Company's future success. Line manager job profiles highlight the importance of people management skills and the appraisal system encourages behaviours which get the best out of people. Following trials, M&S are increasing the number of staff who work from home answering customer letters or electronic comments. Flexibility has increased across the whole week including Sundays, with an accompanying rise in productivity. Staff response has been very positive to this approach - the typical response being:'Its great to know that we are trusted to get on with our jobs at home'. There are also a number of examples of employees being able to raise issues and concerns and to vary hours to help overcome 'life' issues. These include employees experiencing stress due to domestic issues, who have been able to move to job-shares, providing time for resolution of the problem. The company also offers job-share, individual working patterns, term time and home working. Enhanced carer leave options include leave for community involvement and for IVF treatment.
Marks and Spencer is one of the best known high street retailers in the UK. It has over 450 stores and employs over 65,000 people. It also operates overseas. In the face of more intense competition in the UK retailing sector, Marks and Spencer has had to develop a new strategy. This created a period of change for the retailer, involving a refocusing on core areas of quality, value and service along with innovation and trust. Marks and Spencer developed a promotional campaign based on the slogan 'Your M&S' which helped customers to connect with the business. The process had three key features: •developing products that customers want
•providing excellent customer service.
In turn, this created a need for staff to be trained to cope with new challenges. Organisational structure
The changes involved changing the organisational structure to make it flatter. This meant cutting out some layers of management and giving employees at the remaining levels more responsibility. ]Training needs
The new structure led to a need for more training. Marks and Spencer develops staff from within the organisation. It also recruits managers from outside at three levels: •trainee managers who have just passed A-levels
•experienced managers from other operations.
Each manager requires a number of skills, such as team working, financial skills or leadership. Marks and Spencer uses a profiling system to identify skills gaps. It matches current skills against a matrix of skills required. Where these do not match, training can take place. At the end of every six months, an appraisal takes place to review performance and progress. In discussion with managers, employees identify where they have made improvements in their profile. They then agree on a plan for further development. This helps them to construct a realistic and structured career path. This process creates a cycle of improvement. Training and development
All managers can develop their own training profile so that they can target their next role. This means that they can create their own career path. The types of training available include: •On-the-job training –...