The HR director at Marks & Spencer has defended the retailer’s multi-million pound staff motivation exercise which saw a New York business guru speaking to all 56,000 staff at a series of mass sessions this week.
The move to draft in Mary Gober to run day-long sessions at the NEC in Birmingham was criticised by retail union Usdaw, which claimed the estimated £10m bill was a waste of money.
But Keith Cameron, HR director at M&S, defended the exercise, saying it was part of a much bigger programme to motivate staff.
“We chose Mary Gober from six contenders – not because she was American but because she has an individualistic approach,” he said.
“The whole idea comes from the fact that M&S wants a new, motivated, trained workforce with good careers. We are also training people in-store and have had 8,000 staff volunteering to become coaches and team leaders.”
Gober’s sessions were the latest attempt by M&S chief executive Stuart Rose to address sliding sales at the high street retailer.