16 January, 2018

Great products and great teams to motivate

Some people come to section management early on. Others take a bit of time, like Stacy.

Her career spans midwifery, cosmetology and cinema management. And since she’s been with M&S, she’s focused on everything from food to finance to managing a café. “I knew M&S was a fantastic company,” she tells us. “But extra money for a holiday was initially what brought me in.”

Several career moves later, it’s not the extra money that keeps Stacy here. “I’ve grown and developed during my time at M&S, and the career path is clear. As Ladieswear Section Manager, I’m responsible for productivity and early morning fill, and also contribute to things like recruitment and induction.”

With six children, five of whom were adopted, Stacy’s no stranger to a hectic life. So what keeps her busy during a typical day? “I start by looking at the figures and my phone. Next I brief the team to get them buzzing – it’s going to be hot this weekend so what ideas do they have?”

“Once I’ve ensured that stock’s being driven to the floor, I check we’re ready for opening and to make moments special for our customers. Then I walk the area and that might give me concerns about footwear and tops, for example. I’ll make calls to get stock in, and when I know that’s coming, we need to look at staffing for the day it arrives.”

“In the afternoon, I’ll check with the team about what we’re doing for the hot weather. We decide to promote sun cream, sunglasses and sunhats. So I get the events team on board too.”

There’s more to it, of course. We asked Stacy about what it’s like to manage her team. “Morale is number one, because they need to be motivated. It’s also about setting clear direction and giving them the right tools. They always make me proud, and make customers feel special.”

Work sometimes takes a backseat, even for Stacy. “It’s like a family business. My colleagues are supportive and my work / life balance is fantastic.”

So how does she relax? “I have a cheeky three-year-old who keeps me occupied! But when I have time to myself, it’s Judge Judy, a nice glass of rosé and a packet of banana chips.”

We’re always looking for talented people like Stacy to join us as section managers. If it sounds like something you’d love, apply here.

Inside M&S

2017 Movement to Work Large Employer Award

We are delighted to have won this award showcasing our commitment to supporting young people into work. We run our programme in partnership with The Prince’s Trust and have supported over 7,000 young people since the programme began 5 years ago, with over 5,000 of those going into work. Here’s to 5 more successful years of changing young lives!

 

12 January, 2018

PROUD OF THE PAST, EXCITED ABOUT THE FUTURE

Allan had previously worked in small and medium-sized enterprises, a big corporate PLC and local government. So moving to a retailer like M&S was a bit of a shift in his career.

Not that he was unaware of the company he was joining. “M&S has one of the most trusted brands around and I’ve always been impressed by the service I’ve been given whenever I’ve shopped in store,” he says. “I think most people identify M&S as a traditional company with strong values, a reputation for great customer service and quality products. It’s amazing to be part of a company with such a special heritage.”

We’re certainly proud of our history, which began in 1884 when Michael Marks, a Polish refugee, opened a market stall in Leeds. But that doesn’t mean we’re rooted in the past; tradition is great but you can’t survive on it. Retailers that continue to thrive are those that are willing to look to the future, get ahead of the game and embrace change. And it was at his interview that Allan began to see another side to M&S.

“I was shown the vision of M&S and what we were going to achieve by bringing future technology into our workplace. I was also fascinated by what I heard about Plan A and how M&S considers its impact on the environment.”

So was this Allan’s kind of company? “Since I started in Payroll, what I’ve loved about my career has been the ever-changing environment and the opportunity to introduce efficiencies and new technology to support the service we provide – not to mention the challenge of managing people.”

In Salford Quays, there are around 200 people providing HR and Payroll services to make every moment special for our 80,000 colleagues. Allan’s only been one of the team for about a month, but he’s quickly finding his feet.

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I joined M&S, not having worked for a retailer before, but everything has gone brilliantly. Within a couple of days, it felt like I’d found my home. Everyone I’ve spoken to has welcomed me into the organisation and offered support, and my induction has definitely put me on the right path. It might be a busy and challenging day, but you’re surrounded by engaged people who all have a smile on their face.”

Allan believes that people at M&S really do live the company’s values and points to inter-departmental collaboration. “The way in which departments work together has really impressed me. There are mechanisms in place that ensure that the priorities of different departments are channelled towards the single goal of providing great service.”

With his M&S career just beginning, it’s been a case of so far, so good for Allan. 

Inside M&S
9 January, 2018

Building on 107 years of history together

Our St James store has been in the pipeline since 2011, so it’s fantastic news that it’s now set to open soon. By opening this store, we’ll keep the history we share with Dover alive, but also give it a new modern appeal, offering services that are in line with our other Foodhall stores.

Our existing Dover store is on the high street and has been there since the 1930’s. By moving it to the St James development, customers will have a much bigger space for parking and 8,800sq feet of space to enjoy. With more than 31,000 people living in Dover, and 11,000 extra people in nearby areas such as Whitfield and St Margaret’s, it gives our customers a better shopping experience and more food options too.

The big advantage of the new St James site is that it’s very well located in terms of the major roads in the area. It sits at the crossroads of the A20, linking to the M20 out of Dover towards Folkestone and Ashford. And also links to the A2 coming out of Dover towards Canterbury. It’s a great position, right on the edge of the development, looking out to passers-by who may want to take a sneak peek inside.

It’s a relatively large development that will not only have a large M&S Foodhall store, but also a six-screen cinema, a 108-room Travelodge, a gym and a variety of restaurants, café’s and other retailers. Plus, with 455 parking spaces, there’ll be plenty of room for shoppers to park up and go!

With so much space and so much potential, we’ll be needing a lot of helping hands. That’s why we’ll be hiring Sales Floor Customer Assistants, Store Operations Customers Assistants, In-Store Bakery Assistants and Café Customer Assistants. There are lots of shifts available, great transport links to get in and out of work and great potential for career progression right in the heart of Dover. What’s more, with a whole community of customers awaiting its opening, employees definitely won’t get bored at this store.

Here’s what Chris, the new Store Manager, has to say about the new opening:

“Dover St James retail park is a fantastic location for our new M&S Foodhall store. It has brilliant transport links and a diverse customer base with passing tourism from the port. It’s an exciting opportunity that the surrounding community are eagerly waiting for.”

Inside M&S
3 January, 2018

From Graduate Trainee to Head of Customer Service

Jo joined M&S as a Graduate Trainee back in 1989. 28 years later, she’s still with the business and has risen to the heights of Head of Customer Service. This is how she got there.

“I’ve covered quite a lot of ground at M&S. My first roles post-training were as Assistant Managers in a number of our stores across London. My next step was into our International Franchise Group; I spent five years there in all and what an experience! I loved the role. It’s core focus was working alongside our partners to grow our international presence. So not only was it high profile; it had a tangible, visible impact too.

When I came back to the UK, I managed our Kensington and Watford stores initially before moving on to a series of office roles, including Store Operations and Change Management. All of this was great preparation for the Customer Service role I’m in today. I joined the department in 2005. Today, I’m proud to say, I’ve built the function to the point where it’s geared up to deliver a great M&S brand experience, across all its touch points.

My ongoing objective is to define and deliver our brand-wide service proposition. This is a massive task. It takes in the service behaviours we need to demonstrate and the service and policies that bring our brand experience to life. There is so much variety in what I do. One day I could be launching a new service, the next might see me tweaking the user journey for an existing service.

The toughest taskmasters in retail customer service are our customers. They expect the best because we’ve consistently delivered. The ‘special’ of our service proposition is very much in the detail of what we do. Average just won’t do. What we do has to exceed expectations not just meet them. Our customers expect more from us than our competitors; we have to find a way to deliver against this.

Getting it right is a tough challenge but there is no better feeling than helping a customer get exactly what they need. It could be pinpointing that special gift; helping them to feel more confident in a new outfit or exploring a new food range they might not otherwise have tried. Helping them get the most from us and the best for them is a really rewarding feeling; it’s very motivating for our colleagues.

Our customers appreciate the extra effort we make. The personal touch can make a world of difference and, the thing is, it takes very little sometimes. I read a customer email when I was on holiday recently. I emailed her back straightaway to acknowledge her comments and promised one of my team would be in touch – she was so grateful that I’d taken time to contact her.

I’m often asked by colleagues to help find items for customers, especially if they are for an important occasion. A couple of years ago, a colleague was looking for several suits for a wedding. I called the Menswear Director to help get the items and take the pressure off the store colleague. Being able to call on my network is really important.

What our colleagues who work in store do, day-in, day-out, is inspirational. Just reading about some of their wonderful stories gives me so much pleasure. My advice for anyone in store is to focus on the simple things: smile, make eye contact and show a genuine interest to every customer, every day. The best rule of thumb is to think how would you like to be treated.

By making every moment special for our customers, I think we have a knock-on effect to the people they come into contact with. We’ve influenced their mood, their sense of wellbeing. So it stands to reason this will have an impact on how they interact with others. OK, we might not be changing the world – but we’ve made theirs better. That’s a nice feeling for a colleague to take away.”

Inside M&S

For Section Managers why do you offer video interviews rather than telephone interviews?

Video interviews can be done at any time and at your convenience which tends to fit in with our candidates who work a variety of shifts. The process is simple and straight-forward and can be completed on an iPad or PC. M&S Section Managers do use technology at work and we believe you will find our video interview tool, provided by Hirevue, very easy to use.

For Section Managers why do you offer video interviews rather than telephone interviews?

Video interviews can be done at any time and at your convenience which tends to fit in with our candidates who work a variety of shifts. The process is simple and straight-forward and can be completed on an iPad or PC. M&S Section Managers do use technology at work and we believe you will find our video interview tool, provided by Hirevue, very easy to use.

Why has my confirmation email for the Section Manger role I applied for show a different Store name

For Section Manager roles are advertised under a geographical cluster of stores. The confirmation email only shows the name of the store that the vacancy was created in. At the Assessment Centre, an assessor will have a discussion with you regarding mobility. We require Section Managers to be mobile to stores within an hour and fifteen minutes from home and if successful you will be offered a role at a store within this. Often you will start at a training store for up to 3 months before moving to your permanent role in a nearby store.

For Section Managers you show a range of salaries between £21,275 and £32,340, why is this?

This depends on where you will be located and how much experience you have. Salaries for Section Manager roles in London start at £23,620 and go to £32,340 and for Section Manager roles outside London the banding is from £21,275 up to £30,000.

For Section Managers you show a range of salaries between £21,275 and £32,340, why is this?

This depends on where you will be located and how much experience you have. Salaries for Section Manager roles in London start at £23,620 and go to £32,340 and for Section Manager roles outside London the banding is from £21,275 up to £30,000.

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