Employee engagement

Why Marks & Spencer is unlocking the power of Alumni

Alumni could and should be valuable allies in driving transformation and helping retailers emerge stronger.

Their are huge benefits that come from having an engaged workforce, particularly in retail, which is fundamentally a people business and the UK’s biggest private-sector employer.

To win in a competitive market, you need brilliant people giving outstanding customer service – every day, in every location. The pandemic brought this to the fore, as teams across the country dug deep, went the extra mile and – in our case – delivered some of our highest ever service scores despite the tough circumstances. We’re very lucky to have the team we have.

Family values and engagement are deep-rooted in Marks & Spencer’s heritage. Their founders knew the value of fostering a culture where colleagues are valued, involved and given a voice.

“As any marketeer will tell you, word of mouth endorsement is worth so much more than any paid communication”

But until now that has ended abruptly when a colleague leaves us. We want to change this. Our alumni are part of our extended family and have a significant contribution to make.

Research shows the commercial reward of investing in these life-long relationships. One of the clearest and most highly relevant to retail is the benefit of a boomerang hire. 

Returning employees are immediately more productive – in short, they ‘get it’ – and what’s more, their retention rates are 44% higher over three years. Returner hires coupled with alumni recommendations create an efficient pipeline and businesses with evolved programmes report 10% to 15% of annual hires coming via alumni. 

Read the full article in RetailWeek

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