Marks and Spencer introduces schemes to enhance staff motivation

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has rolled out a new employee recognition programme, introduced charity volunteer days and launched an employee wellbeing website.

The recognition programme, called ‘Spotlight’, aims to recognise retail staff who deliver exceptional service.

It is based around instant bronze, silver and gold reward cards representing prizes of increasing value, including iPods, watches and a selection of wines.. The cards can be exchanged for a range of rewards from a prize catalogue. The scheme feeds into a ‘star of the month’ award at store level, a ‘star of the quarter’ at regional level and a ‘star of the year’ at national level.

Darren McCabe, reward manager at M&S, said: “We undertook a review of our Great Service Reward programme that we had in retail and, as a result, we decided to make some key changes to the way in which we recognised exceptional service in stores.”

The introduction of charity volunteer days, meanwhile, gives employees the opportunity to take an annual day’s paid leave to volunteer for a registered charity of their choice. It is linked to Plan A, M&S’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) plan.

Claire Ford, employee support manager at M&S, said: “We have had some really nice stories come through – lots of team efforts like regenerating a community area or replanting a park. My team went to a women’s prison to deliver a training workshop in employability skills and customer service.”

The scheme is also supported by the ‘Charity Challenge’ which aims to raise £1 million in 100 days for local charities across the UK. This was launched for the first time last year in tandem with M&S’s 125th anniversary when it challenged itself as a business to raise £1.25 million in 125 days. Instead, it raised £2.5 million.

“It was really motivating, it really brought teams together and made people proud to work for us,” said Ford. “It was so positive we decided to do it again this year.”

In addition, the retailer’s interactive employee wellbeing website incorporates benefits, informative links, video tasters, discussion boards, and dial-ins with health experts for staff to take simple steps to improve their health and wellbeing.

The site, called, can be accessed using an employee code and password. Within the site, there are 16 health pledges that cover a range of mental and physical illnesses staff can pledge to improve.

Russell Turner, operations manager for occupational health at M&S, said: “We hoped in the first year to get a tenth of our workforce to make a pledge. We have only been going since 4 May and we have already got 7,500 pledges from employees.”

Read more articles on motivating employees through recognition programmes, volunteering options and wellbeing