B&Q to create 2,000 jobs and invest £10m in workforce

B&Q is to create 2,000 jobs this year and invest in its staff with £10m worth of incentives and training.

Despite the recession hitting other home retailers hard, B&Q will open seven new stores in 2009, creating vacancies across all roles – including up to 10 new HR positions.

The B&Q website, where people can apply for jobs with the DIY retailer, has recently seen a 10% surge in the number of applications received with more than 10,000 sent in every day. But Liz Bell, HR director at B&Q, told Personnel Today that despite this huge pool of applications, many of the roles will still be filled using Jobcentres.

She said: “We absolutely will work with local Jobcentres to recruit for these roles. In the main we get our customer advisers from Jobcentres.”

Bell added she would be interested in finding out more about using Local Employment Partnerships for recruiting the long-term unemployed.

Last week the home retailer also announced the launch of a £9m ‘Lets share it’ scheme offering managers shares worth up to £25,000 for maintaining standards of excellence for three years in their stores, pllus £1m worth of training for staff to take apprenticeships, NVQ level 2 and City Guild qualifications.

Bell said these iniatives would encourage and enable staff to offer better customer services, boosting brand loyalty and increasing sales.

“Focusing on engagement, incentives and training now is very important when morale is low. The main driver for us doing this is investing in our people, but we also hope these initiatives will drive excellence in our stores,” she said.

“The managers’ share scheme is a great motivational tool and, as a long-term engagement plan, it helps to keep staff in the business.”

Bell added her HR function was also working to improve communication links between senior management and the workforce as a further engagement tool. She said a CEO blog and group discussions chaired by top executives was helping to create direct interaction at all levels.

Employees at B&Q were recently awarded the Gallup Great Workplace prize for the third year in a row, after demonstrating some of the best levels of staff engagement in the world.

Last week Tesco and Carphone Warehouse also announced they would be creating new jobs as they prepare to open more stores.

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