350 Specsavers stores accredited as Platinum Employers

Posted on January 16, 2018
Author: Lifeatspecsavers

More than 350 Specsavers stores have been accredited as ‘Platinum Employers’ since the people development scheme began. Now the company is committed to a nationwide rollout of the initiative across more than 800 stores.

The Platinum Employer scheme was designed by employee engagement specialist Korn Ferry Hay Group to support the recruitment and retention of high-calibre employees. Stores are assessed in five key people management areas, including recruitment and induction, performance management and reward, and learning and development.

Dawn McIntyre, HR Director for UK/ROI Specsavers says: ‘The primary focus is to deliver an exceptional employee experience, consistently for all of Specsavers 18,000 people. Platinum Employer is intended to give each Specsavers store owner guidelines and support them in achieving best practice and making Specsavers a truly great place to work.’

Optometrist Director, Stephen Jones in Swansea, Wales is the Specsavers business owner to achieve accreditation and is the 350th store to become a Platinum Employer.

Stephen said: "For us in Swansea, the Platinum Employer process has delivered noticeable differences in teamwork and collaboration, communication and engagement. Everybody has realised that their career is taken seriously here and that they are important to the workings of the store. We're a close team but this really made us even closer too, as everyone began having similar conversations about their own personal development meetings with their colleagues.

Specifically, having conversations about our future roles has focused our minds on training, with two optical assistants expressing an interest to do Cert 3 or Cert 4 optical dispensing training and team leaders going on to start the ILM learning and management pathway. 

It was good to hear what people think too - you've got to hear the feedback good and bad, to be able to put change improvements into practice. 

It was quite a process with over 50 people in our store, but well worth it. I take my hat off to my manager Tracy who lead the team through the project and will continue to make sure we stay at Platinum' level’. 

Debra Fitzsimmons, retail director at another Platinum Employer accredited store, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, was delighted to hear that her Staffordshire store was accredited. She says: ‘The Platinum Employer scheme streamlined our recruitment systems, and helped ongoing training , which makes us more professional. It also gives you reassurance that you’re doing things right as a store director. When we do recruit, people are looking for employers who will look after them and develop them professionally. The Platinum Employer badging gives people confidence that they will have a satisfying career experience with us.’

She says the team was helped to make small incremental changes to gain accreditation. ‘In some cases it was just a question of formalising processes – for example, we now have a structured event log in every staff file, instead of a scribble on a piece of paper! Our newest recruit, whilst experienced in the industry, got a pack from us before her first day with everything she needed for the first two weeks. That’s been great. She received team profiles, a buddy list, and a two-week calendar for training in different areas of the store. The overall benefit of the Platinum Employer scheme is that the staff feel more valued and motivated. For example, they know the new starter is going to be guided through their department and they love showing off their roles! They feel really empowered. The team know we’ve worked hard to get Platinum Employer status and they’re proud that it’s something Newcastle-under-Lyme is really good at. They’re proud to work for Specsavers, and that comes across to the customers.’

Pictured from left are: Sharon Barriball - Optical Assistant, Rebecca Waters - Dispensing Consultant, Louise Ficke - Dispensing Optician, Tracy Hill - Store Manager, Elyse Gwynn - Dispensing Assistant, Shaunna Evans - Frame Consultant, Geraint Rees - Senior Manager and Craig Seaman - Dispensing Optician