Case study: Marks and Spencer sets store by education

Marks and Spencer (M&S) offers financial education to all staff. It targets its 60,000-plus store staff through seminars and leaflets in association with the Financial Services Authority’s ‘Money matters’ programme, and its management staff through a partnership with Wealth at Work. The retailer’s head of employment relations and reward, Deborah Warman, says: “Financial education is important to all employees.”

M&S started its financial education programme two years ago with targeted seminars for staff. “We wanted to get people to better understand their benefits package and what they could do with it,” says Warman.

Initially, about 100 management staff in long-term incentive plans were targeted through the Wealth at Work programme, followed by 300 more the following year. “We had such positive feedback, we then started to look at how we ran that more extensively,” says Warman.

A further 26 sessions will take place in the next six months. They have already included programmes targeting high earners.

Warman says the seminars have had a big impact on staff and are generally oversubscribed. “It has a wider impact than just them understanding their reward programme. It helps them to understand whether to save for the short term or long term. The biggest thing was that this was a personal offer that helped staff and their families, it was not just focused on business training.

“It is hard to quantify factually, but the softer side would suggest it has definitely hit the mark.”

The programme has also helped retention, says Warman. “If you look at what it costs to recruit and get someone through the door, if you can retain someone simply by explaining their pay and benefits package, then it pays back.”

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