Case study: Marks and Spencer sells flexible approach

At Marks and Spencer, a workforce with a broad age demographic means ensuring the benefits that it offers are relevant to all generations.

The retail firm has operated without a default retirement age since 2001.

In 2006, it introduced flexible retirement, offering staff the opportunity to retire and take their pension while working reduced hours. Deborah Warman, head of employee relations and reward, says: “Since we introduced this, we have seen about 85% of the people who retired in 2009/2010 take flexible retirement. It has been really popular.”

Since 2006, there has been an increase in older workers at the firm. It had about 800 employees aged over 65 in 2006 and now has around 1,650. Marks and Spencer also ensures its wellbeing strategy contains information relevant to all age groups. For example, its wellbeing site contains a section offering advice on the menopause, as well as details on voluntary benefits such as discounted gym membership.

“We try to target things that suit everyone through our wellbeing approach,” says Warman.

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