The inside view from group HR director Anthony Lawrence

What makes your ideal employee?

Someone with passion, energy and enthusiasm who will take personal accountability and deliver what they say they will, while keeping the customer at the heart of everything they do. What sets apart working at WHSmith from your competitors?

We are committed to providing all our employees with learning opportunities to help them develop their careers. We are already bucking the trend, showing consistently strong financial results across the business despite the current economic climate.

How do you strive to retain your staff?

Everyone is respected, treated fairly, listened to and involved.

How do you ensure your employees have a good work/life balance?

We offer many opportunities for flexible working across both our stores and head offices.

Founded 1792

Based High Street Retail and Whsmith.co.uk are based in Swindon. Travel Retail is based in London

Number of staff About 16,000

Number of stores More than 1,000 (516 are travel shops and 573 are high street stores)

Number of days’ leave Dependent on role and length of service

Employee benefits Standard benefits include a pension scheme, a sharesave scheme, childcare vouchers and staff discount

Work ethos Customer focus, accountability, drive for resultsand valuing staff