January 28, 2022 at 10:30 AM ET

Retail Spotlight: Why Maintaining Relationships with Former Colleagues Matters

Victoria McKenzie-Gould (M&S) and George MacDonald (Retail Week) dig into people-centric approaches, and why the M&S Family Alumni Network was launched.

The M&S Family Alumni Network taps into the enthusiasm and opportunity their extended ‘M&S family’ can provide – be that supporting the recruitment pipeline, mentoring, backing their community initiatives or providing candid feedback on products and services. Hear from Victoria about the drive behind launching their first official alumni network, to bring together the huge support and passion that exists within their vast global community of former colleagues; and some of the initiatives and achievements from their first year.

And amid staffing and trading pressure, George will discuss what’s in store for the retail sector in 2022 and why maintaining strong relationships with employees present and past and extending people-centric values and purpose are crucial to the sectors success.

Hosted by EnterpriseAlumni CEO Emma Sinclair MBE, listen, learn and ask questions to the panel on the retailers relationship with people and why maintaining connection with former employees – who are not just potential rehires but also customers and advocates – is one way M&S and other retailers can build community and competitive advantage.


Thank you to our guest speakers:

Five Things We Learnt Today:

Alumni should be on everybody’s radar …

“Great colleagues mean greater customer service, greater products and more customers. It costs to recruit and train people, so we spend lots to keep our colleagues and ex-colleagues content …”

Alumni are a marketing army …

“Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. If people have fond memories of working somewhere, they remain advocates. If you want to know what it’s like to work at a company, you’re probably going to ask someone who has worked there …”
George MacDonald

Alumni will keep you grounded …

“Alumni keep you honest. They remember the business at its very best, but will also tell it like it is. When companies lose their way, it’s usually because they’ve lost sight of that fundamental appeal …”
George MacDonald

Alumni is the modern way forward in business …

“The fact that we’ve focused on alumni is symptomatic of the fact that M&S have genuinely started thinking much more all our people. Even calling it M&S Family is a sign of being more modern in every way …”
Victoria McKenzie-Gould

Alumni are brand ambassadors …

“Our alumni are brand ambassadors. The will recommend jobs and want to come back to work for us. So they are a great focus group …”
Victoria McKenzie-Gould



Victoria McKenzie-Gould, Director of Corporate Communications at Marks & Spencer

George MacDonald, Executive Editor at Retail Week

Emma Sinclair MBE, CEO at EnterpriseAlumni


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