Marks & Spencer (M&S) has shown that taking corporate social responsibility (CSR) seriously can lead to increased productivity and boost the morale of the workforce.
Ed Williams, head of CSR at M&S, said independent research into the effect of the company’s flagship community programme had resulted in employees being more motivated and more skilled.
The organisation’s ‘Marks & Starts’ programme has given 2,500 disadvantaged people work experience at the company. These people, who include the homeless, disabled and the young unemployed, are each given an M&S employee as a ‘buddy’ during their time at the company.
The research, commissioned on the first anniversary of the scheme, found that 84% of buddies said they had learned new skills.
Almost half (42%) of the staff involved said they had more confidence to take on new responsibilities, while 24% said they felt their job was more worthwhile.
“This programme has had a significant impact in building skills, motivating and increasing the morale of staff,” said Williams. “I now have evidence to prove [the CSR strategy] makes our people feel better because they work for M&S – they go the extra mile and we have better productivity.”
Top 10 pride boosters
- Being known to treat staff well
- Being recognised for good customer care
- Making a difference to people’s lives
- Contributing to the community
- Being known to be successful
- Being acknowledged for ethical behaviour
- Making good products
- Being innovative
- Being famous
- Acknowledged as respecting the environment
Source: CHA Workplace Pride Report 2004