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THE BOOTs STORY began in 1849, when Jesse Boot took over a small pharmacy in the heart of Nottingham. Today there are 2,926 Boots branches and, in spite of its size, the company is still an employer of choice, having retained 31% of its 64,258 staff for 10 years or more.
How has Boots maintained engagement? Staff feel there is clear potential for growth, as illustrated by Alex Gourley, the chief executive, who started out as a Saturday assistant. Branch managers bring the best out of their individual teams and fair, individually-tailored remuneration is part of the equation.
According to our survey, employees give Boots a 70% positive score for the experience they gain at work being valuable in the future. They feel colleagues are fun to work with (79%) and believe managers talk openly and honestly with them (75%).
Most staff work on a part-time basis and about 64% earn less than £15,000. Nevertheless, all of them can take advantage of a range of benefits, including occupational health and employee programmes, life assurance and staff discounts.
Store workers who deliver exceptional service can also influence their year-end bonus, with
top performers doubling the average amount received. Toolkits guide colleagues through a 12-18-month journey where they can engage in debate, deepen their commitment to work and hold each other accountable. Every quarter, further kits are sent out with guides, exercises and materials for team-development days.
Workers agree that colleagues care about each other (74%) and go out of their way to help one another (76%). In addition to two formal reviews a year, managers have frequent one-to-ones with their staff and can reward them with a scratchcard that offers a range of prizes, from a free coffee to £50 worth of Boots Advantage points.
Staff feel that managers take an active interest in their wellbeing (70%) and regularly express their appreciation (72%).
Boots offers staff almost every training method available and development is accessible to all thanks to an online facility, iCan. People agree their jobs are good for personal growth (73%).
Visitors to Boots' Support Office in Nottingham are greeted by a “Hall of Fame” that extends along numerous walls. This shows the names and faces of the hundreds of their colleagues in the Stores, Support Office, Logistics teams and Opticians who have been recognised for their exceptional performance. The achievements of these individuals and teams are celebrated annually at the company ‘Best of the Best’ awards and whilst not everyone in the business can attend these events, Boots make sure everyone gets to hear about their achievements through cascades and magazine articles that follow soon afterwards helping showcase the great work that goes on across their business.
In 2012 thousands of Boots' colleagues and customers all over the country took part in events to raise money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support. These events included climbing mountains, running marathons, a virtual cycle ride from Nottingham to Monaco on exercise bikes, walking Hadrian’s Wall and the Welsh coastal path. Their ambition is to cover 290,000 miles – one mile for each person diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK. Macmillan’s Big Walk at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire on 8 September was Boots' biggest event yet. They promoted the walk through a variety of communications, including an invite from their CEO and donated £10 for every colleague who signed up. Over 1,400 people took part, including the entire Executive team. Over 50 Boots colleagues helped as volunteers.
One of Boots' reward principles is that their best performers receive the highest rewards when it comes to the annual bonus plan. This year every colleague has a direct financial link between their year end performance and the amount of bonus they receive. For the store colleagues, this means that those who deliver exceptional customer care know that they will be rewarded for their efforts. This principle also applies amongst their managers, pharmacists and Support Office colleagues where personal performance accounts for 40% of the bonus payable. The top performers can earn double the personal bonus that a standard performer receives. This approach to bonus has meant that everyone has a clear financial incentive to perform at their best. Whilst any bonus is also dependent on the company’s performance, Boots know that the differential for personal performance has helped employees strive to be at their best and shown a genuine commitment to rewarding their best people.
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships
On-site nursery or vouchers
40% of employees with more than 5 years' service
Male : Female: