Called ‘Feet On The Floor’, the programme gave managers the opportunity to work in an area of the company that they hadn’t necessarily experienced before.
The project came about following a suggestion in Squire’s annual employee survey. Each employee was allocated one of Squire’s 15 garden centres to work at, with the centre manager choosing the job that they should do for the day.
Deputy chairman Sarah Squire worked in the cafe bar at Squire’s in Shepperton, serving customers and clearing tables; managing director Martin Breddy helped with goods-in and stock replenishment at Squire’s in West Horsley, followed by a day in the plant area at Squire’s in Cobham; finance director Mark Wilson was kept busy assembling garden furniture at Squire’s in Reigate; and group marketing manager Karen Smith worked in the plant area at Squire’s in Twickenham.
Sarah commented: “It was a fantastic experience – definitely one that we will repeat again. I worked in the café bar serving customers and clearing tables. It was very refreshing to be out doing something different from my normal day job, and I absolutely loved it.
“I was a Saturday girl at Squire’s in my youth, so I had experienced working in the garden centre shop and plant areas over many years. But in those days we did not have restaurants, so I was very keen to gain a hands-on understanding of some of the challenges my colleagues face in the café bars.”
Karen recalled: “Customers asked a range of gardening questions throughout the day and I was so impressed by the diverse knowledge of our team. What really struck me was how quickly stock moved. You take pride in doing a nice display and then two hours later it needs sorting out again. But our team was great at keeping the plant area topped up on a very busy day.
“It’s quite a physical job, and of course you have the challenge of the weather, that you don’t have in an office role. It was great to gain some more horticultural knowledge and very satisfying to be able to help customers find the best plants for their garden.”
Squire’s Garden Centres is a family-owned horticultural business that operates 15 garden centres across Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Middlesex, North and West London offering plants, garden products, garden furniture, houseplants and gifts.
‘Back to the floor’: Martin Breddy, Sarah Squire and Karen Smith experienced different roles across the business