CSR boosts productivity and morale at M&S

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

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