Marks and Spencers (M&S) stores are celebrating the 1 year anniversary of their Alumni Network ‘M&S Family’, which launched a year ago to harness the huge support and passion that exists within the company’s vast global community of former colleagues – because once you leave M&S, you never really leave!
Since then the network has grown to more than 9,000 alumni – with sign-ups from Delhi to Melbourne to Chicago – who stay in touch with one another and keep abreast of all the latest M&S updates via the network. M&S keep its community engaged with regular ‘blasts from the past’ content and host exclusive alumni events, with guest speakers so far including CEO of Ocado Retail (and M&S alumnus) Mel Smith.
Excitingly, they have recently integrated the network within thier growing Sparks loyalty programme to reward alumni with exclusive offers & discounts to use on their shopping, and have also utilised the network as a recruitment pipeline – inviting former colleagues back into the business as ‘boomerang hires’.
Last year, in response to the incredible reaction to launching the network, M&S appointed a dedicated Community Manager whose role it is to manage the network and think creatively & strategically about how we can further grow & engage our community.
The HRD Live Podcast sat down with M&S’s Director of Communication Victoria McKenzie-Gould to discuss the challenges in starting the programme, the successes it has reached in the first year, and where the network will go in the future.
1.07 –Why M&S launched the network and why it was important to do so
5.39 – The success of the first year: what’s worked
8.17 – Hurdles and challenges for the network
9.57 – Looking forward, what are the plans for the network?
11.00 – Advice for HR leaders looking to create similar networks for their organisations