Poundworld to invest £500,000 in staff on back of C4 show

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L to r: Birks and Edwards, investing in staff

L to r: Birks and Edwards, investing in staff

Poundworld reports it is investing almost £500,000 in employee benefits after the discount retailer appeared on Channel 4’s Undercover Boss series in order to get genuine feedback from employees about working for the company.

Managing Director Chris Edwards and marketing director Martyn Birks took part in the show, which aired last Tuesday (9 August 2011), and sees executives go undercover in their own businesses. 

Poundworld has 2,800 employees across 129 stores and is planning to open a further 120 new stores over the next three years which will create approximately 3,000 new jobs.

Issues that arose during the show included employees being unhappy about staff facilities, till discrepancies being taken out of wages and staff being deducted 15 minutes pay for clocking in late.

Chris Edwards, managing director of Poundworld, said: “Our employees are our most important asset but we’ve been expanding so quickly recently, creating more than 1000 new jobs over the last two years, while we have focused on recruiting people we haven’t always listened to what’s important to them. Although we regularly ask for suggestions some people are guarded in their responses which is why we decided to participate in Undercover Boss.  The show gave us completely honest comments and as a result it has been invaluable. 

“We’ve immediately started acting on the feedback that we received. During the show we announced we would invest £250,000 to make sure every store offers great break and lunch areas and we’ve already put a facilities management team in place to oversee this work and we’re now planning to increase our investment in this area further. 

“In addition, we’ve changed our clocking in system so people are always paid for the time they work and we’re investing in new technology to identify where till discrepancies occur, which means employees are no longer penalised for being late or making genuine mistakes.

“Although we are renowned for offering fantastic value for money, providing great customer service is also a key priority for us and hopefully making these improvements for our employees will in turn enable them to further enhance the experience for our customers.”

Edwards founded Poundworld on a Wakefield market stall 37 years ago. The company recently relocated its headquarters to a 215,000sq ft warehouse in Normanton, West Yorkshire, following record growth and a national expansion drive, which has seen the budget retailer open 28 new stores in the last 12 months.