20 September, 2017

Meet our Moment Makers: Kate

It’s not just sleigh bells that are ringing in December. Our tills are too – well, metaphorically speaking of course in this digital age. You don’t have to be Sherlock to work out that Christmas is the busiest time of year in M&S stores. And planning for the festive period starts months in advance.

That means deciding on our Christmas themes, which products are going to be a hit, how we’re going to decorate our stores. And then there’s the little matter of making sure we have enough people on our sales floor, in our Food Halls, in our Cafés to ensure that every Christmas shopping experience is the best it can possibly be.

So meet Kate – she’s responsible for our peak seasonal recruitment. Kate’s worked in HR since graduating and has spent the past 12 years loving life in M&S HR Shared Services. Now, as part of the Central Recruitment team, Kate works with some 140 Regional Recruitment Customer Assistants to make sure we have the numbers in place.

Her mission starts early. “Planning for the Christmas season starts before the sun tan lotion is put away,” she says. “I’ve long been touring the UK, meeting our Regional Recruitment Customer Assistants to make sure they’re fully geared up. Our aim is to have all our peak recruitment done and dusted before the end of November so stores can focus wholly on Christmas trading – and I can look forward to a mini Beef Wellington from our Christmas Party range!”

We don’t cut corners at Christmas just because we’re ‘busy’. In one respect, it’s even more important to make every moment special for customers during this period. Christmas shopping can be stressful, so we need to go the extra mile to make sure customers can find and then leave the store with exactly what they want. “It’s not good enough simply telling customers where the tins of shortbread are, we need to take them to the right aisle so they don’t waste time aimlessly wandering around,” Kate agrees.

When you think about how many customers come to M&S to buy their Christmas turkey, not to mention all the other trimmings from food and drink to a jumper for Dad, you’ll realise how busy we’ll be. Any ‘quiet’ periods will usually be spent filling the shelves for the next rush.

Our Christmas colleagues need to cope with that pace without compromising standards. “We look for people who are committed and flexible and can offer the kind of service they like to receive themselves,” Kate says. “Opportunities are spread across the floor so there’s something for so many people, from serving in our Food Halls, Bakeries or Beauty Department to making Cappuccinos in our Cafés. The best advice I can give is to set up a job alert today so you don’t miss out.”

And you would be missing out on quite a lot. “We look to reward our Christmas colleagues straight away. You’ll get a 20% employee discount from day one and our hourly rate is more than competitive,” Kate says.

Not a bad Christmas present.

Find out more about current opportunities here.

Inside M&S