20 July, 2016

Holding out for a hero

Our people go out of their way to make the most of every customer’s experience. James joined M&S in a seasonal role 14 years ago. Despite finding the tills a little bit tricky on his first day, he’s still with the business some 14 years later. James was singled out for praise by one of our customers during recent events in Glasgow which left her elderly relatives unable to travel and without food at Christmas. Thanks to James’ act of kindness they were reminded that there is good in the world – and weren’t left eating sandwiches at Christmas. James tells us how he’s progressed through the business.

“I’d taken early retirement from British Polythene Industries. I was off to a bit of a shaky start with the tills but the good thing about M&S is they’re good at playing to your strengths, so I soon found my niche. Today, I work in Store Operations, focusing on Health & Safety training and compliance. If I had to sum up my role in three words, they would be ‘keeping staff safe’. But there’s so much more to what I do here.

“I work in our Greenock store. What I love about what I do is the variety; no two days are ever the same so there’s always a new challenge to overcome or problem to solve. That’s pretty much what makes me tick. It’s an interesting job. Store environments are deceptively complex, so there’s no end to the opportunities to make things better – and safer. The people are great here too; always friendly and very welcoming.

“After my initial contract was extended, I was asked to set up a training programme. I had experience of this in my previous role, so it was a natural development for me. Next, I moved on to overseeing recruitment. 

“One thing M&S is particularly strong at is training. I made the most of this by taking some courses to become a Relief Section Manager. After this, I spent four months in, what was then, Service & Tilling, before moving on to become a Fire Health & Safety Officer. That was 12 years ago and I’m still going strong.
“I like to think I brought with me a strong work ethic to the business. I listen and show empathy, with colleagues and public alike. M&S built on these qualities by supporting my development and I’m hugely grateful for their investment in me. Our store has a great work environment and a fantastic relationship with customers; even to the point where some of them send us Christmas cards. It really is a wonderful place to work.”


Inside M&S