Sir John Timpson’s work in the field of attachment tells you everything you need to know about how the business is run today.
The entrepreneur who fostered 90 children at the same time as bringing his signature brand to high streets across Britain believes there are a lot of parallels to be drawn between childcare and the workplace.
His firm now uses an “upside down management” model throughout the business, trusting each colleague to do their job their own way.
They have also replaced the HR department with “people support” whose main role is to help colleagues sort out personal problems including bereavement, addiction, debt and relationship issues.
But more recently it has been his son, James Timpson, who has grabbed the headlines for continuing the corporate responsibility legacy.
A tenth of employees are ex-offenders and it runs training schemes in prisons to help people when they get out.
So it should come as no surprise that when the coronavirus crisis hit, Timpson was one of the companies which responded with their employee’s interests in mind.
Rather than laying off staff – always called “colleagues” – they announced they would put them on furlough and top up their salary to ensure they received their pay in full.
The endeavour has cost them £500,000 a week, but as James said in a tweet:
“It’s worth every penny to help our colleagues and their families through some tough weeks.”
He also announced that outlets next to hospitals would open their car parks to NHS workers free of charge, noting that “they need it more than we do at the moment”.
As his father pointed out today, there will be challenging times to come for the high street. But when things get back to normal we should remember that a pound in the pocket of an ethical retailer is a pound towards safeguarding the businesses that are out to make a difference, not just a profit.