Morrison’s “Save our Dough” campaign.

Employers don’t spend money on their staff for fun, Employee benefits need to be cost justified and compete for corporate spend against R&D, dividend payments and M&A.

While CEOs like to remind their workforces that they are the company’s most valuable asset, employee trust in the paternalism of their bosses decreases the futher you get from senior management. It’s great when you meet a shop floor worker who has a good word for the bosses – but rare!

There have always been employers who have addressed this scepticism. The Leverhulmes at Port Sunlight, the Cadbury’s at Bourneville. When these dynasties pass away, their is usually trouble as Kraft and Unilever have recently discovered but the legacy lives on in the employee benefits that are part of the corporate infrastructure.

Occasionally a company comes out of the pack and attempts to create a similar culture albeit on modern lines, you feel that this is what is going on at Morrisons. Through a variety of programs, Morrisons are creating the noise that they hope will get them “employer of choice” in their sector. With 140,000 staff, this is an ambitious task.

What I admire about Morrisons is that they appear to be looking at employee issues from a starting point quite different from the one I’m used to.

Instead of asking “where can we the employer get the maximum bang for our Employee Benefit buck”, they are asking “what are the knowns and unknowns that will mess up our staff and what can we do to help them?”

They have come up with a campaign called “Save your Dough” which aims to provide staff with tips, delivered by America TV finance pundit Alvin Hall. What gets on to the campaign’s agenda depends on what Morrisons consider important.

Talking with Morrisons, they’ve worked out that one of the real problems they’ve got to sort their staff is the shortage of help their staff are getting at retirement.

It’s great to hear that they are interested in doing something about this through their “Save your Dough” campaign. Not only are they trying to provide solutions through their new Pensions 2012 risk-sharing pension, they are looking to alert their staff to problems so they make the most of their wages.

Let’s hope that more companies like them, take strategic decisions based on what their staff need rather than on agendas driven by secondary considerations.

 

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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14 Responses to Morrison’s “Save our Dough” campaign.

  1. Pingback: Is your company good to retire from? | Henrytapper's Blog

  2. Yossarian83 says:

    Well on the surface this looks good and suggets that Morrisons does care about its employees but after working with Morrisons for over 18 months (in 2 different stores) I know this is not the case. As far as I’m concerned one can just go to Martin Lewis’ website and get the money saving tips from him. They should just use the money that they are paying for this financial advisor to get more people on the shop floor or improve conditions for night workers. I don’t know how they win Retail Employer of the Year, all I can say is conditions must be terrible in other areas of the sector.

    • James says:

      Yes iv worked for morrisons for 16 yrs and never seen it so back especially for night shift workers always forget about us

  3. henry tapper says:

    That’s a great post. I’m told that Morrisons originally wanted Martin to do the work but he was contracted elsewhere.

    Are many of the people you work with saying the same kind of thing?

    • Yossarian83 says:

      Well, as I mentioned, I have worked in two stores. Both of the stores, and the workforce, have a lot in common. One of these is the negative attitude of the staff towards the company itself, in that they do not listen or really care about its workforce (there are a number of examples of this) but its own publications internally suggests otherwise (lip service?). My feelings towards the ‘Save our Dough’ campaign and the pension advice, are somewhat paradoxical. A good responsible idea but there are more important immediate areas of concern…perhaps this will get them another award though. There maybe a bit of a split. A lot of the people who work in these stores are either young or old. I don’t believe it will be much interest to the younger people but perhaps to the ones in the twilight of their career may find it more pertinent. But the majority I work with will not be able to afford to put a certain amount aside and are finding things difficult financially already. Perhaps if people were happier within the store(s) and considered Morrisons as somewhere they could work, long term, then there maybe more interest. Personally, I invest in the Sharesave Scheme and will read the literature on the Retirement Plan. I am like most though; why invest in a scheme if you may consider leaving if something else comes up? Why stay with a company who does not respect you therefore there can be no respect the other way? In the end, I may have just been unfortunate in the stores where I have worked/working. There maybe many collegues who are happier and grateful for these schemes but i wouldn’t be certain. Also, night workers maybe a little more ‘play-it-by-‘ere’ type of people and would’t reflect other workers.

  4. henry tapper says:

    I’m not working for Morrisons – not even as a consultant – my day to day contacts are at the Brentford and Basingstoke stores which I prefer shopping at because the staff (especially at Brentford) are chatty and good-humoured.

    Of course this doesn’t say that everything that goes on behind the scenes is rosy but I’m comparing my experience favourably with rival stores. Prepared to accept that it’s different from store to store,

    Would you say it’s the store managers or the company itself that make most difference to your working conditions?

    Clearly you are prepared to invest in Morrisons shares- is this because you think they are a good investment or becuase the sharesave scheme makes it good value?

    • henry tapper says:

      Also, my mate- who is doing work for Morrisons is a real enthusiast for them and though he works for a rival firm than mine- he is a bloke who always puts the pension scheme member first.

      Take your point about priorities and making sure working conditions are sorted, but this auto-enrolment thing that Morrisons are embarking upon in a week’s time, is a one off- if you don’t get pensions sorted now if you are Morrisons- you probably never will.

      • Yossarian83 says:

        Hi Henry, in response to the Shares and Retirement plans, it makes sense to invest in them as there is virtually nothing to lose and potentially a decent amount to gain. It just means that some money is tied up for a certain amount of time. I would actually be enthusiastic about them if I believed in the company and vice versa. I am not exactly a market player but buying shares at a discount price makes sense, even if the shares tumble below this discount price then I at least get my money back, eroded by inflation a little but it is low risk.

        I just think that the Alvin Hall move, although well meaning (hopefully), is a bit too far, as the workers can just as easily get the information from other areas, for free, if they wanted it. It’s like this ‘HOT’ service (Hello-Offer Help-Thank You). It’s getting done to death. As far as I am concerned it is just good customer service buttered up. All staff who work during the day should do this, it should be natural but still encouraged from within but not to this extent. The amount of internal literature about this and the praise and prizes for just doing this job is too far. Alternatively, you get the night workers who get no respect for working anti-social hours and for working hard, who face numerous difficulties which can easily be alleviated but are not addressed. A while ago I worked in ASDA, most nights we had team meetings and it made you feel like part of the company, here there is nothing. It’s like the elves came into the store, done the work, and then went. At least they got uniform and were appreciated…that would be nice.

        These concerns are more than just the store concerns, I think they are pandemic across the company. As far as the managers go, personally I have little contact with them but haven’t been inspired by one yet or by the company itself either by a couple of communications electronically or the decsions that they make.

        Again, I am not against what they are doing in terms of these Schemes but if staff morale is poor then they will be less inclined to invest in these long term things. If they are unhappy in work then they may make up for it by spending more outside of work and perhaps get into debt therefore making these schemes impossible to invest in. Perhaps this idea isn’t broadly true but there’s at least an element of truth in it.

      • henry tapper says:

        That last comment really helps in my understanding of retail!

        Maybe we should have you on our team

        Henry

      • Yossarian83 says:

        Ha, I am not too sure if I could leave Morrisons, there is a lot of mutual respect. mmm. In terms of the Pension Plan which I looked into, it appears to be a good deal but it’s not for me at this stage. Maybe in a few years when auto-enrollment kicks in, I will consider it (but time is running out for me, approaching 30). I don’t think anyone on this night crew, or in the last store, will go into it either, which is unfortunate.

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