15 June, 2015

Our differences make us stronger

"Hi, I’m Fiona and I’ve been with M&S for 10 years, how time flies! I work in HR and I am currently the International Employee Relations Manager for the business. This role is really varied, so I get involved in everything from complex business change programmes, writing policies to make sure we have an attractive people proposition, to working on our diversity and inclusion strategy. 

"In 2014, I launched our first women’s network, which was set up to promote the progress of women, and to provide informal mentoring and networking opportunities. This network gives my colleagues access to a range of inspirational role models, whilst also creating a forum to explore and address the career challenges women face. 

"At M&S we recognise the importance of having a diverse workforce and are committed to creating equal opportunities for everyone. This begins with our recruitment and selection procedures, and runs through the core of what we do.

"We understand that our differences make us stronger, encouraging everyone to be who they want to be. We respond to the needs of our employees and customers, taking pride in the role we play in the community through our employability programmes including Marks and Start and Make Your Mark

"As part of the diversity and inclusion strategy, I am working in my team to develop initiatives and procedures to enhance opportunity, creativity, innovation, diversity and personal development. The case for driving a culture inclusive of varied talent is well established; a diverse leadership team gives us an advantage to help place us as an employer of choice.

"We’ve invested in a number of pilot schemes, including cross business mentoring, run by the Government backed 30% Club, which aims to increase the number of women in FTSE 100 Boards. We’ve also partnered with a local school to provide 1:1 mentoring support for around 50 female students between the ages of 15 and 17. In addition, we’ve just piloted our first development programme solely for women.

"We’ve been one of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women for the last few years, which is a fantastic achievement. Our aim is to employ a workforce that reflects the diverse community we serve and maximise both personal and commercial opportunities."   

Inside M&S