As many companies cut back on employee investment in a tough economic climate, B&Q, the UK's largest home improvement and garden centre retailer part of Kingfisher plc Europe's leading home improvement group, announces that it will be investing in its expert store teams more than ever to continue to take its market leading position as a great workplace*.
It is awarding £9 million of Kingfisher shares to over 300 store managers as part of a new scheme designed to maintain consistently high store operating standards. Under the terms of the plan, called "Let's share it", managers who meet the required store standards receive Kingfisher shares worth approximately six months salary. The shares vest over the next 3 years as long as the standards are maintained at the appropriate level during that time. Store managers could cash in on average an extra £25,000 as part of the scheme.
The grant of shares is part of a new initiative by B&Q to drive higher standards in its stores. Every manager is supplied with an operating standards handbook which details clear guidelines on how their stores should look, how stock and point of sale material should be displayed and how to provide the best customer service. Over 300 of B&Q's 331 stores in the UK and Ireland have so far met the standards and been awarded shares, with the other stores working towards them. Area managers are also eligible.
Commenting on the plan Euan Sutherland, CEO of B&Q and Kingfisher UK said: "Against a tough economic backdrop it is absolutely essential to have well-motivated, incentivised managers who know exactly what is expected of them. Rewarding managers who meet challenging store standards with shares is a really tangible way of making sure we do the best job we can for customers and reward our managers for their contribution to the growth and success of the company."
The retailer will also invest £1 million in improving the skills of its store teams through three skills qualifications pathways. More than 15,000 B&Q employees are expected to achieve a City & Guilds accredited qualification this year - helping them to give even greater customer service - up to 10,000 will achieve the NVQ Retail Skills Level 2, a further 5,000 will complete a Home Improvement Knowledge Qualification and over 200 will complete a Retail Apprenticeship Programme.
The qualifications will help B&Q further achieve its aim of having ‘Friendly Expert' staff, and so give customers' confidence as they will know the staff are knowledgeable and able to offer trusted advice.
Sutherland goes on to say ‘If you walk into B&Q and meet a friendly person with a badge saying they've got one of our City & Guilds qualifications, you're going to know you're getting expert advice. City & Guilds is a powerful brand and employees can't achieve the qualifications unless they meet the full criteria as approved by City & Guilds."
There are three skills pathways for the City & Guilds qualification offer this year:
- NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) Retail Skills Level 2 - a nationally recognized qualification, City & Guilds approved and audited externally;
- Home Improvement Knowledge Qualification (HIKQ) - product knowledge and project selling in decorating, gardening, building and room solutions
- A Retail Apprenticeship Programme.
The qualifications are open to all non-management colleagues of all ages. B&Q employs 33,500 employees and 28 per cent are over 50 and around 8 per cent are over 65. Most company apprenticeship schemes are only open to ages 18-25 which also makes B&Q's scheme unique as there are no age limitations -even B&Q's oldest worker, Sid Prior, aged 94 who works at the chain's flagship New Malden eco-store could be eligible to apply for an apprenticeship. The investment in skills offers real opportunities across all ages of employees to get an externally recognised qualification.
B&Q will pick up the Gallup Great Workplace Award on 28 April at a ceremony in Omaha, Nebraska. It is the third consecutive year it has won the award and is the only UK business awarded. The Gallop Great Workplace Award is based on the most rigorous workplace research ever conducted and honours organizations whose employee engagement results demonstrate they have the most productive and engaged workforces in the World.
For further information please contact Zaria Pinchbeck at ZPR on 0207 896 3404 or 07802 837 975 or e-mail: email@example.com
Notes to editors:
* The Gallup Great Workplace Award awarded B&Q the Gallup Workplace Award for the last three years and is the only UK business awarded
- B&Q is the largest home improvement and garden centre retailer in the UK with 331 stores, employing around 34,000 people nationwide, more than a quarter of whom are over 50 years of age, with a similar number under the age of 25. For more information about B&Q please go to www.diy.com/aboutus
- B&Q is part of Kingfisher plc, Europe's leading home improvement retail group and the third largest in the world. For more information about B&Q's parent company visit http://www.kingfisher.com/