Retailer benefits from flexible rewards approach

A scheme allowing flexible holiday entitlements at retailer Debenhams is
helping to retain and attract staff, according to HR director Jane Guillaume.

More than 1,600 staff have opted to buy or sell holiday time since the
initiative was rolled out across the company.

Guillaume told Personnel Today the scheme had contributed to a drop in
employee turnover from 10.7 per cent to 8.8 per cent at the store’s head
office, where a pilot scheme was run.

The scheme was devised when the firm took 750 managers off-site to come up
with ways of spreading the business values to frontline staff.

The group is looking at various ways of becoming an employer of choice and
improving staff numbers to aid ambitious expansion plans, which will see five
major store openings before the end of the financial year.

"It gives staff much more flexibility to take days off if they want to.
Our workforce is predominantly female and we find it helps during school
holidays," explained Guillaume.

"We have also introduced the option of a four-day week or nine-day
fortnight for head office as well as flexible working for all staff," she

The retailer, which employs around 23,000 staff, has also adopted a scheme
allowing university students to work in one store during term time and another
during holidays.

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