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THE FASHION INDUSTRY isn’t always known for being ethical, but retailer M&Co aims higher. After one of its suppliers in Bangladesh founded the Children’s Hope charity, the business made a long-term commitment to this good cause. It currently sponsors 33 children in slum areas, providing them with full-time education through to university, as well as healthcare for their families. So far, 17 students have been accepted into college.
The enterprise began in 1951 when the McGeoch family began converting the small chain of Glasgow pawnbrokers it had founded in 1834 into Mackays clothes stores. Now rebranded as M&Co, the firm has grown to employ 3,516 staff at its 255 stores and offices. Led by chief executive Andy McGeoch, it remains a family-run endeavour that employees say is run on sound values and principles, a 72% positive score, and has a strong social conscience (68%).
This operation aims to stay close to its roots — its headquarters are still in East Renfrewshire and it maintains a simple organisational structure. Above all, it invests in its people, saying it believes “every employee can make a difference”. Managers work closely with their teams to identify training needs, and learning and development includes on-the-job instruction, elearning and skills workshops. Employees say their bosses care about them as individuals (75%, 10th) and help them to fulfil their potential (68%).
People here are busy — the company specialises in womenswear and menswear, and also carries homeware lines and children’s clothes. Staff process more than 200,000 transactions and pack more than 450,000 items into carrier bags every week. The workforce, more than 85% of whom are
part-time, are happy with the balance between their home and professional lives (65%, sixth) and don’t feel they spend too much time working (64%, first).
Staff say that their teams go out of their way to help each other (81%, fifth) and are fun to work with (81%).
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
At least 20% of staff are known to undertake charitable activities during business hours without incurring financial loss
At least 40% of senior managers are women
Male : Female: