How Timpson is bucking the retail trend with Good Work for All

Not too many high street names can claim to have a Director of Happiness, but that is one of the things that sets Timpson apart. The company prides itself on looking after its 5,800 colleagues and has recently been recognised with an EY Family Business Award of Excellence for its ‘upside down management’ approach and employment of ex-offenders.

Director of Happiness Janet Leighton says that their approach is part of the reason that Timpson is one of the few high street companies still growing. “Our colleagues generally aren’t concerned about job security because there’s always a new branch opening up somewhere. We’re bucking the retail trend.”

Her role is all about company culture. “A lot of colleagues don’t leave,” she said and 50% of new recruits are recommended through our ‘recommend a friend’ benefit.

The company has initiatives across the three areas of Good Work for All. They say they pay “as much as we can afford rather than as little as we can get away with” and top this up with a benefits package that covers colleague wellbeing and a number of simple initiatives that can make a big difference to people’s lives.  Timpson’s colleagues get the day off on their birthday, an extra week off and a £100 bonus when they get married, Mothercare vouchers for new parents, a day off when a child starts nursery or primary school and access to 16 holiday homes around the country that colleagues can use for holidays with their families. These benefits are just to name a few.

They offer job security with everyone on standard, permanent contracts and no zero hours contracts and take a positive approach to part-time working and flexibility that works both ways. Training and development is delivered in-house, starting from day 1 and working up to skill levels identified by the business.

Janet says they have a strong focus on training and development, promoting within wherever possible: “The majority of our area managers started as a branch colleague many years ago and so, we have a wealth of experience within our business.

The company has been praised for its “upside down management”, which Janet explains is an approach where everybody is important. All our colleagues have the freedom to take ownership and responsibility for their particular role.

“Some businesses micromanage. We’re the opposite. We give people the chance to be themselves and shine. A happy workplace makes for a productive workplace.  Our business is based on trust, reward, loyalty and integrity.

According to Janet, the approach is paying off in terms of retention, productivity and employee engagement. Find out more about the business case for good work for all.