Back-to-floor scheme will give real taste of shop life

Marks and Spencer’s head of corporate personnel Pat Taylor is to go back to the shop floor along with 2,000 head office volunteers over the Christmas period.

The move is part of a staff morale-boosting initiative that will also see 50,000 employees receive a performance-related bonus. The bonus is also aimed at boosting pre-Christmas sales.

The 2,000 volunteers will serve in the stores of their choice in the busy two weeks spanning the Christmas period.

Taylor said, “We want to give the staff our support, and the spin-off for HR is that we will have the opportunity to see what working on the shop-floor is really like.”

The new recruits will not wear uniform, but will serve alongside shop-floor staff doing the same hours and lunching in the staff canteen.

The scheme comes after figures revealed a slump in pre-tax profits for the half-year at £183.4m, down from £192.9m for the same period last year.

M&S staff will receive a maximum bonus of £75 for each month the store meets sales targets in the lucrative two-month run-up to Christmas. This is traditionally the period that generates 25 per cent of the stores’ profits.

Taylor said, “This is a new initiative we are trying out this year and is additional to the four-week bonus we pay staff at Christmas. We hope it will motivate our people to go that extra mile and if it works we may consider it for the future.”

The company is also upgrading eight stores in Edinburgh, Bath, Watford, Bristol, Bromley, Norwich, Leeds and Derby and closing down some satellite premises.

There will be no redundancies as the staff will be relocated. M&S has also expanded its training to ensure its staff are more customer-focused.

By Kathy Watson

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