12 July, 2018

OUR LATEST BRISTOL OPENING IS COMING TO CLIFTON

We’re thrilled to announce the opening of a new convenience store in Clifton, situated right on Whiteladies Road, one of the main arteries running through the surrounding areas of Bristol.

Our store, which will come complete with its very own coffee vending machine, is set to be located underneath a new residential development, right opposite the BBC studios. We’ll be recruiting for a wide range of different opportunities.

Various shifts are available in Operations, and for Customer Assistants, In Store Bakery Assistants, FHSO, and Admin Assistants. Clifton Down train station is located nearby, alongside frequent buses. Local parking is available, but with a permit.

Here’s what store manager Greg has to say about our new M&S Whiteladies Road store:

“Clifton is a beautiful suburb of Bristol, fantastically diverse and located just a five-minute drive away from the centre. It is renowned for having some of the most iconic spots in Bristol, including Brunel’s famous Suspension Bridge, the Observatory, and Bristol Zoo. It was also recently named the best city to live in the UK.”

Apply for a job at our new Whiteladies Road store here.

Inside M&S
11 July, 2018

WE’RE RIGHT BEHIND YOU!

World Cup excitement has reached fever pitch across M&S and we’re all willing the team to keep the magnificent run going against Croatia tonight.

“England has reached the semi-finals and we couldn’t be more delighted,” said David, our Head of Menswear Buying. We are, of course, ‘Official Tailor to the England Team’ and David added: “Some are saying that THE waistcoat has been bringing the team extra luck, so we launched National Waistcoat Day on Saturday and we defeated Sweden in the quarter-finals.

C’mon England – let’s hope they bring it home.

It’s a sentiment being echoed by colleagues in our stores, at our head offices and in our distribution centres. And many have taken to wearing the waistcoat, although not always with the smart shirt and tie that Mr Southgate wears on the touchline. Here’s a pic from a photoshoot we held at our Waterside Head Office – at M&S we don’t miss a chance to have some fun and a bit of a party!

You can do it tonight, boys – so let’s make it #WaistcoatWednesday!

Inside M&S
10 July, 2018

SHARING HISTORY: M&S AND THE RAF

When it comes to answering our country’s call, M&S and our dedicated colleagues have always stepped up to the plate. In the Second World War, we created a magazine for colleagues called ‘The Forces Bulletin’. We encouraged employees to train as Air Raid Wardens and Fire Watchers. M&S Café Bars opened up, providing a break from rationing. Our experts helped set the standard for Utility Clothing. And lest we forget, former colleagues who laid down their lives in various conflicts.

But our attention turns to 1938, a year before WW2 broke out. That’s when Simon Marks, M&S Chairman and son of our founder, helped form the RAF Cadets. Only £7,000 had been pledged towards a target of £25,000 to create the Cadets and Simon personally made up the balance. Over 300 M&S employees served in the RAF during the conflict and Simon retained a lifelong interest in the Air Cadets. It was the beginning of historic ties between the RAF and M&S.

Our two organisations have so much in common, such as a flair for innovation and a dogged determination to modernise and stay relevant through generations. And we have much to celebrate together. So we’re proud to announce a new partnership with the RAF to mark its 100 years of service.

M&S and our colleagues are throwing ourselves wholeheartedly into the celebration. Steve Rowe, CEO of M&S, and Air Vice-Marshal Mike Wigston CBE recently opened an RAF exhibition at the M&S Archive in Leeds to showcase our joint histories. We’ve pledged to raise £500,000 in M&S stores up and down the country for the RAF100 Appeal. These funds will inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists and technology specialists by providing scholarships, training and university bursaries for air cadets and school pupils from underprivileged backgrounds. We have also designed a limited-edition men’s leather flying jacket which are on sale online and in selected M&S stores. The jacket named ‘The Marksman’ is a nod to the M&S colleagues who raised £5,000 in 1941 to fund a new Spitfire for the RAF war effort, named ‘The Marksman’.

Steve Rowe said: “Our connection with the RAF runs deeper than our shared history; the RAF’s values of integrity and service mirror our own. The RAF’s spirit of relentless innovation, that has led it to flourish 100 year after its inception, reflects our own transformation from our entrepreneurial roots as a Leeds market stall to becoming a British retail institution.’’

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, RAF, responded: “RAF100 is a moment for the whole nation, so the support of M&S, another national institution, for the RAF100 Appeal is a tremendous demonstration of our shared values and intent.”

The RAF: we salute you!

Inside M&S
9 July, 2018

‘ANYONE FOR TENNIS?’ SIMON’S HAND SHOOTS UP…

From the first serve in the first match at Wimbledon on Monday, Simon’s going to have to rely on all his self-discipline to remain focused on his important job at M&S. There’s probably no bigger fan of the sport in the M&S family, having been in love with the game since he picked up a racket at primary school.

Simon has been with M&S for 18 years. He had store management roles in both Foods and Clothing & Home, before moving to HR some 10 years ago. Simon worked as a Learning & Development Consultant, then as part of our Continuous Improvement team. He’s been a HR Business Partner for five years, now Regional Head in the South East with particular responsibilities for our Talent & Culture plan, using what he learned in his early M&S career. Simon also represents his specialism as part of our Business Involvement Group, which gives him access to senior leaders and an insight into the wider business.

So we asked Simon about the tennis. A chance to unwind away from business life? “I put a lot into my job so it’s good to have a hobby. My passion for tennis started when I was 10,” he told us. “I picked up the sport and in my late teens I was entering tournaments and even had trials for Sussex – a great feeling. Then I turned to coaching and my local council employed me to teach under 12s. Getting paid to do something I love, simply a dream come true!”

Simon doesn’t walk into the office in full kit swinging a racket, but we think we knew about his passion for tennis, as he heads off to at least one tournament every year, be that in the US, France or Canada. So six years ago… no, we’ll let Simon tell the story. “One of my best experiences was being a Game Maker at the 2012 London Olympics, for the tennis hosted at Wimbledon. I was lucky that M&S could give me the time off to be a volunteer for the 10 days of the event. My role was looking after all the other volunteers. It was great to see what goes on behind the scenes and even meet some of the players. And when it was quiet we could go and watch on Centre Court.”

And now Wimbledon is here again. Simon remembers his first experience, having received tickets in the ballot, but unfortunately it turned into a damp squib. “The British weather got in the way and it rained all day long. No tennis, but look on the bright side, we did hear Cliff Richard sing and had strawberries and cream!”

Not put off, Simon’s been back time and again, and it’s more than the action on the courts that gives him a buzz – it’s the atmosphere of camping overnight for a ticket, the build-up, meeting people from different nationalities strumming guitars or kicking a football about. “Pitching your tent up the day before and camping overnight just to ensure you get a Centre Court ticket – that’s dedication.”

And that’s something Simon gives to his day job at M&S every single day.

Inside M&S
4 July, 2018

STACKS OF OPPORTUNITIES

Our Castle Donington Distribution Centre in Derbyshire has to be seen to be believed. It’s 900,000 sq. ft. of the latest technology. It has nine miles of hanging garments and 39 cranes. It holds up to 16 million products and, at its peak, delivers over two million single orders every week, keeping both our in-store and online customers happy.

Melissa has not only seen it, she’s a big part of it, as a Team Manager in Inbound Operations.

She joined M&S in 2016 attracted by our reputation, not only for providing products of amazing quality but for looking after our colleagues and caring for their wellbeing. And she hasn’t looked back since, working in different departments across the site to gain a wealth of experience. “M&S has always listened to my requests on how I want to develop my career. I’m continually broadening my knowledge of site operations and there are loads of projects I can get involved in.” she says.

Within Inbound Operations, Melissa manages the team that is responsible for ensuring the correct stock is received within set timeframes from suppliers and holding centres. It’s a pivotal role, too. “Ultimately, I have to make sure that the products we receive will meet the high standards of quality our customers expect. The pace is fast, and there are daily and weekly targets we have to meet for both boxed and hanging goods. And of course we have to enter everything onto the automated system,” she says.

Melissa is proud that whenever she tells someone that she works for M&S there’s an immediate smile in return as people have positive memories of their shopping experience, whether it’s an item of clothing that caught the eye or some fantastic food they’ve tried. “Everyone at Castle Donington shares the same goal: to provide customers with the best shopping experience,” she says. “That’s why we work so well with other departments. We troubleshoot together. Everyone is clear on our strategy and objectives. And most importantly of all, people are friendly, helpful and supportive.”

Having ‘done the rounds’ of Castle Donington, nobody is better qualified than Melissa to say what type of person thrives at the site. “You need to be determined, passionate and enthusiastic. You have to be able to take targets in your stride. And you have to be committed to maintaining the highest standards.”

Would you fit the bill?

Inside M&S
2 July, 2018

PROVIDING THE BEST CENTRE COURT SERVICE

Wimbledon, of course, is synonymous with tennis and the main shopping mall in this part of south-west London is aptly named Centre Court. Right at the heart of it is the M&S Simply Food store, one of our top 15 Simply Food stores nationwide. Being connected to a busy Tube and train station, the store is a hive of activity from the crack of dawn to late evening all year round, with customers popping in to grab breakfast, a lunchtime sandwich or a dinner meal, or to do a full weekly shop. But for two weeks of the year, footfall goes off the scale.

Tom leads a team of 75 people who go out of their way to make every moment special for every customer. So, is he ready for the crowds? “Over the years, we’ve become a destination shop for people leaving the train for the tournament. We’ve been working with Head Office on tennis themes, made sure colleagues in other stores are on stand-by to provide cover, and we’re completely transforming the food hall. Pimm’s, Prosecco, strawberries, cream – it will be easy for everyone to find their tennis-watching essentials!”

It’s difficult not to get caught up in the excitement. “You get to meet a whole new set of customers who don’t shop with you all year round, many of them tourists, all in great spirits for their day out. It’s really satisfying helping to make their day special,” says Tom.

And he believes that the real secret of doing that is teamwork. “We work hard together as a team before, during and after the tennis to make the store a success, but it’s important to have a little fun along the way. We’ll be celebrating at our morning and evening team briefings, and we’ll be putting together a small event afterwards to say thank you to our colleagues.”

If anyone can meet the demands of the next two weeks, it’s Tom. His family have their own retail business and Tom joined the M&S Retail Management Graduate Scheme straight after university, attracted by the quality of our products and services, and keen to be part of our iconic brand. As his career has evolved, he’s not only taken the fast pace of M&S in his stride, but he positively thrives on it!

“I love the fact that no two days are the same. Something might happen at 8am which completely changes your plan for the day; this certainly keeps you on your toes,” he says. “To a certain extent I’m my own boss; it’s up to me to get the best out of my store and there’s no better feeling than when one of your ideas becomes a success.

“Ultimately, though, the job is about people. Your team is your biggest asset and you interact with so many customers and colleagues, having different conversations throughout the day. If you enjoy a fast-moving environment and want to make a real difference to people, this is definitely the job for you.”

Inside M&S
29 June, 2018

A MOST TRUSTED ALLY

Carol is a HR Administrator in our Salford Quays M&S in Manchester. As an ally of the LGBT+ world, she doesn’t identify as LGBT+, but she has a strong passion for making a difference in a community that is more accepted than ever. And that passion in particular is about turning intolerance into inclusion and inequality into equal rights. “There is a lot of acceptance, but still a long way to go – especially for trans people.”

Being an activist for such an important cause is closer to Carol’s heart due to her son identifying as gay. “I knew my son was gay when he was about seven – it has never bothered me.” And it has been her aim to support him in every way, “I don’t want him to be discriminated against.”

Although Carol’s LGBT+ journey began before joining M&S, having the opportunity to take part in two Pride events with the company and show support for colleagues and peers alike has enabled her to make even more of a difference. “Last year lots of people attended – my son and his partner came too – it was a fantastic day and great to meet colleagues from other locations.” And the support doesn’t stop at the parade. “The opportunity to use charity days to support the cause is fantastic.” And in store, Carol has noticed the inclusive nature of working at M&S. “I see no issues at work for my LGBT+ colleagues and I know plenty of people who work in store who have no issues.”

And although LGBT+ living is more accepted than ever, Carol encourages us to do more, whether that’s through raffles, fundraising, marching or simply sharing some positivity. Carol is leading the way and we’re keen to follow.

“Getting involved in Pride brings people together.”

Inside M&S
22 June, 2018

STANDING TOGETHER

Suzie was a co-founder of the M&S Buddy Network Wellbeing Diversity & Inclusion, and now works closely with other groups covering race, gender and LGBT+. She’s heterosexual, but you won’t find a stronger or prouder ally of the LGBT+ community, attending numerous events including London Pride and external speaker events.

Coming from Generation X, Suzie was a teenager when HIV/AIDS hit the headlines and remembers how it fostered a culture of fear and mistrust at the time. And now? “I think with every subsequent generation that sense of fear and shame is diminishing, which is great,” she says. “There’s more information now available to those of us outside the LGBT+ community, which has led to greater understanding of life as an LGBT+ person. There’s less stigma, too, as new generations have grown up seeing LGBT+ people in the public eye.”

Our LGBT network now has over 800 members connecting M&S employees across the country, and running its own Facebook and Twitter accounts. ” Establishing the M&S LGBT+ network was the start of shining a torch on issues that hadn’t been raised before,” says Suzie. “It’s the ideal place for people to direct ideas, suggestions and concerns. And the network is doing more for the community. Last year, a group of us used our paid volunteer days to support the Terrence Higgins Trust with their preparations for London Pride. We gave a donation and made up some 4,000 safe-sex packs to hand out. And more volunteering days are planned this year in a number of cities.”

This will be the third year running that M&S has been involved in London Pride, and we’re also supporting events in Manchester, Edinburgh and Chester, among other places. But Suzie wants more straight people to come along: “We need everyone to be involved. London Pride is the best party in the capital after all, full of joy, fun and hope! Last year, we had a big trolley of Percy Pigs that we threw to the crowds as we went along. If you’re going to London Pride, or any Pride event, give us a wave and a big cheer – it will be great to see you!”

Suzie also believes that joining Stonewall was a turning point for LGBT+ at M&S. “Stonewall facilitated a confidential listening group with our LGBT+ community and worked with us to start an action plan on all aspects of LGBT+ inclusion. Year on year, we’ve seen amazing jumps in our rankings within the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index – it will be fab to see them grow further and further.”

That sums up Suzie’s view on LGBT+ inclusion at M&S: that we’ve done a lot but we can do more, not just at grass roots’ level but at every level. “We need more people to stand together, more initiatives like the same gender wedding cards to make M&S the most inclusive place to shop and to work.”

Inside M&S
18 June, 2018

MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR OUR LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY

Jon is Store Manager at M&S Ealing Broadway and, two and a half years ago, was one of the founders of our LGBT+ network. He’s proud of what the network has achieved as a forum on which to ask questions and offer ideas on LGBT+ issues. “The network has really helped our LGBT+ colleagues. It was following suggestions on our network site that we bought in LGBT+ lanyards for head office colleagues and pin badges for stores. That we’ve reviewed and updated some of our diversity policies. And that we’ve introduced same-sex-marriage cards in 200 of our stores,” he says.

This year, once again, Jon’s on the Pride steering group, taking a lead around communications and working on various events. Our involvement in Pride responds to calls from colleagues across the business who want to make a statement and show everyone that we support LGBT+ inclusion. This year, we’re attending events from Edinburgh across to Belfast and down to London so even more colleagues can get involved. “Pride is a chance for friends from around the country to put on their ‘out of office’, leave their work phones at home and converge on a city for the weekend and have fun. To me, there’s something liberating, relaxed and safe about Pride celebrations,” he says.

Last year, Jon was running M&S Eden High Wycombe. “One of my proudest moments was hiring a cinema screen near our store in High Wycombe and hosting a free, public showing of the film ‘PRIDE’. Probably what felt the most impactful thing we did last year was paying for and making up 4000 safer-sex packs for the Terrence Higgins Trust to hand out over the London Pride weekend. It really felt that we were doing something meaningful that was supporting our community.”

Jon knew he was probably gay at the age of eight, but he waited another ten years before he came out, something he believes made him more self-doubting and more self-critical. Not that this has affected his career at M&S – wherever he’s worked Jon has felt accepted for who he is. “When I decided to join M&S, whether or not there was a diverse and inclusive culture, wasn’t a factor – but 12 years later, it’s definitely a reason I’ve stayed. If I were to go somewhere else and couldn’t be open and honest about my sexuality, I would leave.”

Jon points to a study in New York which showed that 62% of graduates choose not to disclose their sexuality on their first job, instead going back into the closet. “I really believe that having to put brain power and energy into concealing a part of your identity stops you being the best version of yourself in the workplace. As a Store Manager, I’m really aware of how important it is to create an environment where everyone can come into work and be themselves.”

Inside M&S
15 June, 2018

EXPANDING OUR PRESENCE IN THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

After opening our first store in the highlands of Scotland, we’re thrilled to announce our further expansion into this beautiful corner of the world. Oban, the largest town between Helensburgh and Fort William, is known as the gateway to the Hebrides. It is uniquely placed to serve tourists and locals alike, from the Highlands to the Islands.

Our Food Hall will serve neighbouring isles, including Mull which is one of the largest in Scotland, as well as the many townships and villages nearby. This latest opening is one of only two dual language stores in Scotland, and will have its very own dedicated customer service and ordering desk. We’ll be located within a retail park full of amenities, and will be recruiting for a wide range of different opportunities.

Various shifts are available for Salesfloor Customer Assistants, Store Operations Customer Assistants, In Store Bakery Assistants, FHSO, and Admin Assistants. If you’re arriving by train, we’re well connected to the Glasgow-Fort William railway, and by road we’re at the end of the A82 and A85 connecting Glasgow and Stirling.

Here’s what store manager Stuart has to say about our new M&S Simply Food store in Oban:

“Oban is a beautiful and exciting location for our new M&S store. We are proud to bring a dual language site to Oban and are delighted to be serving our customers both from the Highlands and the islands in this unique location. The store intends to have a real community feel and we know the community themselves are eagerly anticipating our opening here.”

Apply for a job at our new Oban store here.

Inside M&S

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