We employ around 83,000 people worldwide, over 90% of which are based in the UK. Our people bring our values to life. Their talent, commitment to our customers and pride in M&S are key to our long-term growth.
Our people commitments
In line with our core brand value of Integrity, Marks & Spencer is committed to driving a sustainable business that is both commercially successful and socially and environmentally responsible. This includes providing our employees in the UK and overseas with a safe and healthy working environment and having an organisational culture which promotes diversity, inclusivity, personal development and respect. We know it’s our people who make Marks & Spencer successful. We want people to enjoy coming to work and for the workplace to be free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
Employing people in different countries means responding to different cultural and social norms and different employment law and commercial considerations. However, regardless of where they work or the job they do, we want everyone who works for Marks & Spencer to have pride in our brand. We are committed to the following for our employees:
M&S Code of Ethics and Behaviours
|Compliance with national law |
Meeting, at least, all relevant statutory requirements in every country where we have employees.
|Healthy and safe working conditions |
Providing safe and healthy working conditions for all employees and promoting and supporting well-being initiatives aimed at improving and protecting the mental and physical health of our workforce. This includes having adequate rest breaks both in and away from the workplace, limits on working time and for sickness absence to be managed appropriately.
|Discrimination and Equal Opportunities|
Treating all employees fairly by ensuring there is no discrimination in recruitment, promotion or in our employment terms, people policies, working arrangements or benefits. M&S respects cultural and individual diversity and promotes inclusivity which includes seeking opportunities to support disadvantaged people into work. M&S believes that everyone counts and should be treated with respect, decency and honesty at all times.
Supporting working parents and others who may have caring responsibilities by providing, where possible, opportunities to work flexibly and at least meeting all legal requirements in respect of maternity, paternity, parental leave and special leave arrangements.
|Disciplinary procedures |
Ensuring that all employees are aware of the standards of performance and behaviour they are expected to achieve and having clear and fair processes in place to manage any misconduct, poor attendance and performance issues with a focus on supporting improvement.
|Workplace grievances |
Transparent and fair procedures for employees to raise concerns so that any legitimate grievances or issues can be raised without fear. This includes encouraging informal resolution and establishing appropriate grievance mechanisms.
Regularly reviewing our reward and benefit arrangements to ensure they are attracting the talent we need; remain objective and free from bias; are at least meeting any legal minimum standards; and are encouraging and reflecting business and/or individual performance. This includes taking into account appropriate prevailing industry norms and local economic factors.
|Employee engagement, involvement and participation |
Open, clear and honest communication with employees about how the business is doing and opportunities for people to give feedback through surveys, listening groups, and directly to their line manager. We believe, real involvement in business objectives depends on good communication where information, ideas and concerns can be freely exchanged between everyone – at all levels.
Giving our employees a ‘voice’ in the workplace and the right to be represented. We respect the right for employees to join a trade union and the principle of freedom of association. In those countries where our employees are represented by a legally recognised trade union, we respect the principle of collective bargaining. However, at Marks & Spencer we are committed to direct employee engagement and participation (through elected employee involvement groups) as we believe that the people who work for us: have invaluable first-hand knowledge of our business operation; have the greatest vested interest in our commercial success and know most about what issues really matter to workplace colleagues.
|Training and development |
Providing training and development opportunities which support personal and business performance. We want our colleagues (like our business) to ‘grow and prosper’.
|Continuous improvement ||Continuous improvement and our reputation are important to us. Reviewing the aspirations of our workforce (including potential employees), customers and other key stakeholders alongside our performance against our commitments is a core part of our approach.|
Our Code of Ethics and Behaviours is re-communicated to employees every year and we ask that all senior members of management confirm their acceptance.
Diversity and equality
Health & Safety policy (April 2016)
Communications with employees
We are committed to direct employee engagement and participation through democratically elected Business Involvement Groups and Works Councils as we believe that the people who work for us:
- have valuable first-hand knowledge of our business operation
- have the greatest vested interest in our commercial success; and
- know most about what issues really matter to workplace colleagues
In addition to communications throughout the year we also have an annual Your Say survey as well as confidential (on request) helplines and a process of annual performance reviews.
This is the successful approach we have taken since the company was founded in 1884.
Our business outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland accounts for around 6% of our turnover. This is made up of a combination of franchise and part-owned operations. We aims to recruit a local workforce representative of the community with ideally no more than 20% expatriate management.
We work to an International policy framework that includes compliance with ‘law of the land’ plus additional M&S requirements, including:
- Provision of medical insurance
- Employee representation
- Equal opportunities
- Corporate ethics and
- Pay and working conditions
- All our sourcing offices, subsidiaries and joint ventures provide employee handbooks. We also provide a reward framework detailing other entitlements such as employee discount.
In 2010, the M&S Pension Scheme became a signatory of the United Nations- backed initiative called the ‘Principles for Responsible Investment’ (PRI): www.unpri.org
Being a signatory commits the Scheme to working in collaboration with other investors on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues in line with six principles:
- We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
- We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
- We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
- We will promote acceptance and implementation of the PRI within the investment industry.
- We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
- We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.
The M&S pension Scheme now employs a specialist provider to help us engage in ESG issues with investment managers and companies in whom the Scheme invests.