Free Management Essays - Analysis Of The Key Factors Affecting Motivation Of The Staff At Sainsbury's And The Effect It Has Upon Customer Service
This paper will discus the key factors affecting motivation of the employees at Sainsbury's focusing on a Main Plus Store. It will review the relevant literature on HR, commitment, motivation, reward systems and corporate social responsibility.
The organisation has undergone a change process, which was forced due to a drop in sales and position in the market it is now focusing on customer service as a change catalyst. This has led to a cultural change within the organisation, with a focus on the employees to deliver a better service for their customers.
The paper concludes that the organisations has a high commitment to HR policies which in turn is helping the organisation to move forward, increasing their level of customer service and using this as a tool to increase sales. The recovery of the organisation will benefit all stakeholders, including employees.
People are increasingly viewed as being the most important resource in contributing to an organisation's overall capacity and success in achieving corporate goals. Thus human resource management is a vital component of the strategic decision making process. Managing human resources comprises a range of issues such as recruitment and retention, employee development, reward schemes and promoting good relations with and between employees, which are arguably the basic HRM functions. Recruitment lays the groundwork for obtaining suitably qualified employees in order to contribute to achieving corporate goals in an efficient and cost-effective manner. In addition the importance of ensuring the right people are retained has become increasingly critical. External forces such as demographic trends in the labour market and the internal desires for a multi-skilled flexible workforce are also vital considerations. This has emphasised the relationship between corporate strategy and people management or the notion of strategic recruitment and retention.
Due to the important strategic role of HRM, recruitment is a critical part of corporate strategies towards achieving long-term organisational growth. New challenges require that organisations develop strategies, which allow for the recruitment and retention of quality staff in an ever-intense competitive environment within their industry sector. Therefore organisations have to recruit the correct employees to be able to motivate them in their role.
Human resource practices can be classified as "control" or "commitment" practices. Control approaches aim to increase efficiency and reduce direct labour. The commitment approach aims to increase effectiveness and productivity and rely on conditions that encourage employees to identify with the goals of the organisation. The practices that represent a high commitment strategy include sets of organisation-wide human resource policies and procedures that affect employee commitment and motivation. They include selective staffing, developmental appraisal, competitive and equitable compensation, and comprehensive training and development activities.
Recently it has been discussed that high commitment practices can work well synergistically, reflective of a general commitment strategy. Organisations with high commitment systems experience greater productivity, financial performance, employee retention, motivation and effectiveness than organisations with low commitment or control systems. This opinion is consistent with the general concept that human resource practices interact with perceptions of organisational support to affect employee commitment.
Therefore it can be argued that a well-trained and motivated workforce can have an impact on the level of service that is offered to customers. This paper will look at this theory through proactive HR, focusing on motivational issues that can increase commitment to an organisation. This commitment is then demonstrated through a higher level of customer service. The organisation chosen is Sainsbury's, which has undergone forced change, which is discussed in the next section.
2.1 Aims and Objectives
This research aims to examine and evaluate the key factors that affect the Motivation of employees at Sainsbury's and the effect this has on customer service.
Through a framework of questions, the objective of the research is to identify if there is a relationship between high commitment HRM and employee motivation through the following statements.
To establish whether cashiers and shop floor staff would benefit from HR practices such as job rotation.
Do financial and non-financial rewards motivate employees
Does the management team perceive motivation as an important tool to drive good customer service how do they encourage motivation.
Does a Safe & Healthy working environment for shop floor staff and cashiers help employees to deliver customer service.
J Sainsbury plc comprises of Sainsbury's supermarkets, convenience stores, a home shopping service and Sainsbury's Bank. They stand for great products at fair prices and their objective is to serve customers well. They are continually improving and developing product ranges to give customers an ever-improving shopping experience. An aim is to ensure all colleagues have opportunities to develop their abilities and are well rewarded for their contribution to the business. Sainsbury's Supermarkets is Britain's longest standing major food retailing chain (Annual Report and Financial Statements 2005).
In addition to a wide range of quality food and grocery products, many stores offer delicatessen, meat and fish counters, complementary non-food products such as clothing and home ware, pharmacies, coffee shops, restaurants and petrol stations. Sainsbury's serves over 14 million customers a week and at the end of the financial year they owned 727 stores throughout the UK (Annual Report and Financial Statements 2005).
When Philip Hampton took up the Sainsbury's chairmanship in July last year, he firmly believed that, in spite of its high profile problems, this was a business that was worth fighting for. Sainsbury's is an iconic name in British retailing. It has a strong brand and all of the things that made it great, a passion for food, good value, a history of innovation and a strong ethical approach to business, meant it was a fundamentally attractive challenge. The changes that were made have led to a time of great upheaval for all our colleagues. Everyone who works in Sainsbury's has been stretched and tested. They are using a sales led recovery plan (Philip Hampton cited in Annual Report and Financial Statements 2005).
Sainsbury's currently employ 153,00 people, of which only 32% are full time. They are recruiting a further 3,000 extra employees to help with the recovery plan. This is to increase their customer service and to raise product availability in their stores. By Christmas 2005 they are aimed to have an additional 10,000 colleagues in their stores across the UK, this recruitment drive is aimed exclusively at the over-50s The organisation prides itself on doing all that it can to attract and retain great people, and they believe that over-50s workers offer a diverse range of skills and can help to ensure our customers benefit from a quality, hassle-free shopping experience (www.sainsburys.co.uk)
A clear demonstration of their commitment to improving working conditions and customer service is their tell Justin suggestion scheme. Employees write to the Chief Executive Justin King with their ideas. Since its launch last year over 7,000 employees have written in with suggestions on how to improve the business (www.sainsburys.co.uk).
Sainsbury's are first, major food retailer to achieve corporate Investors in People recognition. The Investors in People Standard is a tried and tested flexible framework that helps companies succeed and compete through improved people performance. With this achievement, Sainsbury's has illustrated its commitment to providing solid frameworks for good communication, for sharing corporate objectives and for strengthening teamwork throughout the company. Sainsbury's has taken a unique approach to gaining Investors in People recognition, from the ground up rather than the top down. This means that almost every unit which makes up Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd has gone through the process individually to become recognised in their own right. The corporate Investors in People recognition brings the individual store recognitions into a cohesive whole, ensuring that throughout the organisation people development procedures are consistent and focussed (www.sainsburys.co.uk).
Sainsbury's run Main Plus Stores, these are large stores offering the consumer a wide product range and non-food items. Over the past five years, considerable success has been made in operating these stores, which began with the Monk's Cross store, York, Hedge End, outside Southampton and Purley Way, Croydon. Through these stores a blueprint has been developed that delivers sales and customer satisfaction. This portfolio of large stores provides a great opportunity for growth and to extend the general merchandise range and clothing. One of these stores was chosen for this study. It is based outside a major city and employees over 300 people. This store has been heavily invested in by the organisation (www.sainsburys.co.uk).
3.0 Literature Review
This chapter is the secondary research for the paper, the information is taken from books and journals. This section of the paper discusses the relevant theory on the topic. It will introduce contemporary opinion and classic thoughts on the issues that relate to employee commitment and motivation. First this section will discuss the current HR theory and then focus on commitment from employees to include motivation and increase customer service.
Academic research conducted in organisations suggests that human resource practices affect organisational outcomes, by shaping employee behaviours and attitudes. Systems of "high commitment" human resource practices increase organisational effectiveness by creating conditions where employees become highly involved in the organisation and consequently work harder to accomplish the organisation's goals (Wood & de Menezes, (1998) cited in Whitener, E 2001:515). Research suggests that employees interpret organisational actions such as human resource practices, as symptomatic of the personified organisation's commitment to them. They reciprocate their perceptions accordingly in their own commitment to the organisation (Whitener, E 2001).
The concept of human resource management has emerged from the 1980s into a core consideration of corporate strategy in the 1990s, (Legge, L 1995). There is no single definition of HRM in the literature, yet the emphasis has been on the strategic role of human resource management in organisations. Some research has identified HRM with strategic aspects of 'best-fit' or aligning people to the needs of the organisation as expressed in corporate strategy and others have examined HRM as a means of gaining enhanced organisational performance, (Golding, N (2004) cited in Beardwell, I. et al 2004).
Human resource practices can be classified as "control" or "commitment" practices. Control approaches aim to increase efficiency and reduce direct labour. The commitment approach aims to increase effectiveness and productivity and rely on conditions that encourage employees to identify with the goals of the organisation. The practices that represent a high commitment strategy include sets of organisation-wide human resource policies and procedures that affect employee commitment and motivation. They include selective staffing, developmental appraisal, competitive and equitable compensation, and comprehensive training and development activities (Dean & Lepak (1996) cited in Whitener, E 2001:516)
Recently it has been discussed that high commitment practices can work well synergistically, reflective of a general commitment strategy. Organisations with high commitment systems experience greater productivity, financial performance, employee retention, motivation and effectiveness than organisations with low commitment or control systems (Whitener, E 2001). This opinion is consistent with the general concept that human resource practices interact with perceptions of organisational support to affect employee commitment.
People are increasingly viewed as being the most important resource in contributing to an organisation's overall capacity and success in achieving corporate goals. Thus human resource management is a vital component of the strategic decision making process. Managing human resources comprises a range of issues such as recruitment and retention, employee development, reward schemes and promoting good relations with and between employees, which are arguably the basic HRM functions. Recruitment lays the groundwork for obtaining suitably qualified employees in order to contribute to achieving corporate goals in an efficient and cost-effective manner, (Foot, M & Hook, C 1999).
However the contribution that human resource may make to an organisation's performance and effectiveness has been linked closely to the changes in different business environments including macro and micro contexts. Therefore any HR strategy must fit with the organisational strategy (Beardwell, I. et al 2004).
For HR to succeed it must take on a proactive role within the organisation. Strategic HR creates value by providing opportunities for organic learning, development of intellectual capital and enhances core competencies. This value is crucial to the organisation's future success (Mullins, L 2005). Employers are increasing extorting the best possible performance from employees. Best practice will increase the skills of the current workforce, and with recruiting it will reinforce the culture of a highly skilled work force (Mullins, L. 2005). Strategic HRM has gained both credibility and popularity over the past decade, specifically with respect to its impact on organisational performance (Paauwe, J & Boselie P. 2003).
3.2 Human Resource Strategy
To fully exploit the wealth of knowledge contained within an organisation, it must be realised that it is in human resource management that the most significant advances will be made. As a result, the human resource department must be made a central figure in an organisation's strategy to establish a knowledge basis for its operations. Without this central position any HR strategy will face the risk of failure (Mullins, L. 2005).
From the literature on HR, there is a greater need for a higher value to be placed on employees, Therefore gaining the best performance from the employees. According to Delany (2001) successful organisations keep people issues at the fore front of their thinking and at the core of their decision making and planning. Delany adds organisations that get the people things right are the organisations likely to be around in the future. The softer aspect of HR will add this value to employees (Delany (2001) cited in Mullins, L. 2005:748).
3.3 Human Resource as a Control System
This area raises contentious issues with people management; some commentators have argued that the role of human resource explicitly views employees as another resource for managers to exploit. In the past, managements had failed to align their human resource systems with business strategy and there fore failed to exploit or utilise their human resources to the full. The force to take on HRM is there fore, based on the business case of a need to respond to an external threat from increasing competition (Guest, D 1999).
This opinion reflects the traditional capitalist view, in which the worker is seen as a commodity. The consequential exploitation may be paternalist and benevolent; but equally, it may operate against the interests of workers. Essentially, workers are simply resources to be squeezed and disposed of as business requirements dictate. More importantly, the interests of workers and their well-being are of no significance in themselves. As John Monks (1998) stated In the wrong hands HRM becomes both a sharp weapon to prise workers apart from their union and a blunt instrument to bully workers (Monks (1998) cited in Guest, D 1999:258). There are conflicting views on the justification behind implementing HR practices; this extreme views the practice as a control mechanism.
This theory was expanded by Arthur (1994), discussing High Control HRM system focuses on reduction of direct labour costs, or improving efficiency by enforcing employee compliance with specified rules and procedures This commitment-oriented HRM should shape desired employee behaviours and attitudes by establishing psychological links between organisational and employee goals (Arthur (1994) cited in Dorenbosch, L et al 2005:132). Therefore the decentralisation of managerial decision making, setting up participation mechanisms and providing the proper training, equitable rewards and openness of information, contribute to a High Commitment HRM system. This system can lead to employees who are more likely to engage in organisational citizenship behaviours (Dorenbosch, L et al 2005:131).
One area that is vital in motivating employees is recruiting the correct ones in the first place; there fore this process must given consideration to their long term value to the organisation. The ability to achieve competitive advantage through people is dependant on the composition of the work force. This process of deciding who is employed and how they are developed, will ultimately lead to who is retained (Beardwell, I et al 2004).
It is vital to select potential employees for organisational and cultural fit, not merely against the technical and skills requirements of any given role. Best practice companies have known this for a long time, and ensure that the selection process allows a full assessment of candidates' abilities, interests, aspirations, and values, and a conscious review of how well these will match their organisational culture (Mullins, L 2005).
All organisations are under increasing pressure to recruit the right people for the right job. The economic cost of getting this wrong can be immense, with all the resources that have been ploughed into the process. Numerous factors are to be considered during this process including the culture of the organisation, legal implications, attracting and employing the correct candidate and the cost in time and resources. There fore it is paramount that the process is fair, reliable and valid (Armstrong, M. 2001).
The employer's requirements relate to the labour process that is the supply side of the labour market. This is simply employing suitable people for the roles that are required. This human capital theory is a sterile and limited interpretation of a variety of personal characteristics and dispositions which employees bring to the workplace (Alcorso, C. 2003).
Beardwell and Holden (1994) emphasised that essential to a good HRM practice is recruitment and selection, which must consider correct fit between personnel and job in order to maximise efficiency in terms of retention and HRM strategic planning The organisation can use the recruitment process to continue, enhance or even change the organisational culture. When a change of strategic direction is required, recruiting the right candidates is an important factor to increase the chance of success (Beardwell, I. & Holden, L. 1994:225).
Training can be defined as a planned process to change attitudes, knowledge or skills and behaviour through a range of activities to achieve effective performance. When this training is in the work situation, it develops the employee to satisfy current or future needs of the organisation. Therefore training can be used as a tool to change the culture of an organisation, through the process of changing attitudes and values (Beardwell, I et al 2004). It is also a tool to improve organisational effectiveness, especially in fiercely competitive markets. All too often organisations that are facing financial problems will cut back the training program, where this should be used to increase overall performance. The training budget is viewed too often as an expendable, and the first to cut or even go in crises (Rogers 2004).
The Human capital theory suggests that some labour is more productive than other labour simply because more resources have been invested into the training of that labour, in the same manner that a machine that has had more resources invested into it is apt to be more productive. The more developed the productive employee is, the greater chance the organisation has in retaining them (Ramlall, S. 2004).
HR and training literatures highlights the organisational benefits to be gained from adopting a systematic approach to HRD, Therefore the ongoing development of employees' skills underpins the wider business objectives (Keep, E 1989). This systematic approach to training includes models that identifying needs, planning, delivery and evaluation. Harrison developed an eight stage model to identify monitor and evaluate training. The evaluation stage is possibly the most problematic part of the training process (Reid, M. & Barrington, H. 1997).
3.6 Team Working and Job Rotation
The move to team working and the accompanying changes in job boundaries and responsibilities have been viewed as exerting a positive impact on levels of employee knowledge and skills, particularly where there is also increased training and regular job rotation. In studies spanning over 30 years, occupational psychologists have stressed the advantages of team working for employees, compared with a Taylorised division of labour (Parker and Wall, (1998) Cited in Bacon, N& Blyton, P 2003:13)
A variant of work structuring is job rotation, which implies a usually systematic change of workplace by transferring employees between various areas of responsibility. Taking over new tasks and exercising functions independently and responsibly, the employees' knowledge and abilities are enhanced and an impression of the diversity of the company's individual tasks is conveyed to them. Thus job rotation not only gives rise to flexibility but also has the function of reducing monotony and raising the employees' productivity (Friedrich, A et al 1998)
Job rotation can be planned in the long term (e.g. trainee programs) but also can be organised at relatively short notice (e.g. emergency cover). The integration of job rotation as an element of human resource development is pursued; this can support the employee's abilities and interests, as well as their prospects for promotion. Following this assumption that job rotation should go along with systematic personnel planning, the establishment of job rotation is possibly accompanied by a variety of other tasks for the human resources department. This involves an expansion of tasks, which can only be justified by corresponding benefits. Simultaneously resistance can arise on the part of employees who might refuse to give up a job in which they feel at home, thanks to the nature of their work, their colleagues, or their superiors, because they are afraid the demands made on them might be too great (Friedrich, A et al 1998)
General theories of work design suggest that groups can humanise work with group tasks designed to create meaningful work. Team working is associated with higher job satisfaction according to job characteristics and participative management theories. The variety of tasks in teams encourages workers to learn and use different skills and rotate between jobs to reduce the boredom of repetitive work. This enables team members to share a sense of collective responsibility for work in their area and to develop the mix of skills necessary for effective work teams who share both identification with a common task and mutual beliefs. Teams also make possible employee participation in goal setting, thereby enhancing intrinsic motivation for team members (Cohen et al, 1996 Cited in Bacon, N & Blyton, P 2003:14).
Several authors have noted that improved organisational performance and customer satisfaction have become important motivators for managers when introducing team working. These motives have replaced humanistic concerns to improve the quality of working life. If the positive effects of team working are limited to those factors that managers explicitly target through the introduction of teams. Then we would expect many current team-working initiatives to emphasise the contribution of employees in delivering organisational goals rather than necessarily empowering team members. Management rationales for introducing teams may reflect economic aims such as reducing staffing levels and increasing productivity, cultural aims including improving worker motivation and commitment to the company, and social aims such as enriching workers' jobs and providing the opportunity to acquire more skills (Mueller, 1994 cited in Cited in Bacon, N& Blyton, P 2003:14).
There are four main categories that the theories of motivation are classified (1) Economic needs of man, money motivates, Taylorism (2) Social concept of motivation, from the Hawthorne studies (3) Self actualisation this took the findings from the Hawthorne studies further, psychological issues were studied (4) the contingency approach, large number of variables that influence a persons motivation. These theories all have factors that relate to the work place (Mullins L. 2005).
Classical writers discussed the organisation in terms of its purpose, with its formal structure; the hierarchy of the organisation. The emphasis placed on planning work, achieving this through managing the technical requirements, and the presumption of logical and rational behaviour from within the organisation. Each individual classical writer puts forward his or her own interpretation of similar theories (Mullins, L. 2005). Baker (1972) discussed these principals as it offered simple principals which claimed general application it also followed architectural and literary styles which emphasised formality, symmetry and rigidity (Baker (1972) cited in Buchanan D and Hucczynski, A 1991)
Taylorism view was that employees are rational and economic in their approach to work, but basically lazy, their sole motivation was monetary. To benefit their morale they were to be given jobs that provided them with the opportunity to maximise their earning potential. There was no thought to their physical or psychological well being. This style of management has been widely criticised, Marchington and Wilkinson (1997) described this theory as equating people with machines The assumption that the need to earn money is the one universal method for motivating people at work, although theorists disagree (M Marchington, M and Wilkinson, A. 1997:295).
However, individuals within an organisation would act accordingly, to the way they are treated. Rose (1978) discussed the concept of rational-economic person would lead to employees that are expected to be indifferent, hostile and only motivated economic incentives, these forms of management practices.are likely to train them to behave like that (Rose, M 1978:62).
Human relations movement developed in the 1920s, this depicted Social man rather than Economic man This theory evolved from the Hawthorne studies, the tiredness of the worker was linked with productivity levels. Workers were studied over a period of time, with alteration to factors such as rest periods, lightening, hours worked and refreshments. When the research was finished the findings did not correlate with production, this was higher than before. It concluded that the attention given to the employees is the main factor the increased production. Schein described this as shift from management to the workerworkers did not always respond to incentive schemes as managers had expected, often they had their own goals (Schein cited in Marchington, M and Wilkinson, A. 1997:296).
Taylorism did not provide answers for all the technical interventions that impinge on the success of organisations. Between the wars in the UK a new movement was commencing, from the National Institute of Industrial Psychology, Charles Myers in 1927 developed the New Psychology This was based on instincts and adjustments from the mental hygiene movement, searching for the roots of minor social troubles and untreated problems that prevent efficiency. This theory had three distinctive features (1) it looked at the relationship between the individual and work, which their life outside of work continued in the work place. They brought with them their needs, motives and fears to the organisation. (2) It studied the relationship they had with their peers, supervisors and subordinates. (3)Interdependence was formed between the employee and the productive machine. The employee's personal life could have a disruptive affect on his work performance (Reader, A. 1998).
Although this attention to an employee's personal life looks like an attempt to increase production, it opened a new way of looking at the employees. The power of the boss and the wage relationship would be replaced with a bond that links employees' home life, work, peer relationships and society as a whole. The individual could not detach themselves from their personal and private life, when at work (Thompson, P. and McHugh, D. 2002).
Originally published in 1943, Maslow developed a theory of individual development and motivation, there are five levels to Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, (1) Physiological needs, and these include the body's automatic efforts to function, i.e. hunger, thirst and the need for oxygen also deep sensory pleasures. (2) Safety needs, security and comfort, freedom from pain, or physical attack, this is the need for order, (3) Love needs or social needs, a sense of belonging, friendship and social activities, this is not just receiving the need it is giving the need to others, (4) Esteem needs, This includes the receiving of respect, confidence and strength, obtaining a prestige status and being given the respect from that position, (5) Self actualisation needs, when and if one has reached their full potential, what we can be given the chance (Maslow (1943) cited in Mullins, L. 1996 :40).
The hygiene factors link closely to Maslow's lower order. Attention to hygiene will prevent dissatisfaction, but will not motivate, where as growth of the satisfiers will motivate employees. A criticism of Herzberg's work, is that employees are more likely to reflect the satisfying events at work, as what they have achieved, their own performance. With the hygiene factors attributed to outside influences, and the efforts of others around them, employees did not take responsibility for them (Mullins, L. 2005).
Mitchell (1982) described motivation as the "psychological process that causes the arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntary actions that is goal oriented (Mitchell (1982) cited in Ramlall, S. 2004:55). Motivation defined by Robbins (1993):55) is the "willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organisational goals, conditioned by the effort's ability to satisfy some individual need." The need in this framework is an internal state that makes certain outcomes appears attractive. An unsatisfied need creates tension that stimulates drives within the individual. These drives then generate search behaviour to find particular goals that, if attained, will satisfy the need and lead to the reduction of tension (Robbins, (1993) cited in Ramlall, S. 2004:55).
Proactive motivation is the employees' 'production ownership', which refers to 'the extent to which employees feel concern for tasks, issues or problems beyond their immediate operational tasks' This places emphasis on the orientation of the employee with their role, feeling responsible for the occurrence of problems concerning the quality of products or services provided, the satisfaction of customers, clients, but also the operational efficiencies, coordination and cohesion within the work unit. Employees are more likely to engage in innovative activities when they feel higher levels of concern and ownership of the problems confronting them in the workplace (Parker S (2000) cited in Dorenbosch, L et al 2005:131).
It is possible to create an environment where employees are motivated to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. When management takes the time to learn what motivates employees to do their best work, and what contributes to a sense of well being and satisfaction. Motivating employees can be complicated, since individuals respond to different conditions. For example, some people are naturally self motivated and come to the workplace already equipped with good self-esteem. However, this can disintegrate if they are not treated as valuable members of the organisation, and rewarded accordingly (Thompson, P. and McHugh, D. 2002).
3.8 Reward Systems
Although the payment received from the employer is not the sole motivator it satisfies the contract of employment. The monitory side of the employment relation satisfied the contract, and is not motivator. Hegewisch (1994) wrote the pay packet is one of the most visible expression of the employment relationship, its main issue is the exchange between employer and employee, expressing a connection between the labour market, the individuals work and the performance of employing the organisation itself(Hegewisch (1994) cited in Beardwell, I & Holden, L. 1994 :500).
Today's issues of motivation are intricate and difficult, the closeness of supervision and in depth of the rules are no longer part of the work place. Employees are becoming self managed, which requires them to be committed and demonstrate innovation and initiative in the work place. Since these new work patterns have emerged, new motivational factors have emerged intrinsic rewards, reward from the work. Satisfaction in the employees' role, pride in the work produced. The work itself fulfils the employees motivation, even with some set backs, they obtain satisfaction from a job well done (Thomas, K. 2000).
Motivation is an individual's perception of their worth, role and work environment within an organisation. There are common motivational factors that employees share, although when satisfied will lead to different levels of motivation. Both Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards add to the motivation level of employees, if managed correctly. Although the perceived equitable reward varies amongst employees, those who receive less than their perceived value will feel undervalued, and not motivated. This will impinge on job satisfaction, with employees feeling dissatisfied with their award (Mullins, L. 2005).
Some employees are motivated by the fear of loss, i.e., if they do not get to the job on time, they will be fired and will lose their means of support. Still others respond to satisfactory monetary compensation, and do best with a program of periodic salary increases based on job performance. Employers can create an environment that motivates employees by providing the tools, resources, information, and emotional support others are motivated by the fear of loss, i.e., if they do not get to the job on time, they will be fired and will lose their means of support. Still others respond to satisfactory monetary compensation, and do best with a program of periodic salary increases based on job performance. Employers can create an environment that motivates employees by providing the tools, resources, information, and emotional support (Beardwell I & L Holden 1994).
The importance of the social dimension of organisations is currently a strong focus of emphasis in the literature. From a managerial perspective, however, it is important that the community spirit within an organisation falls in line with its strategic direction. High quality internal communication is important in encouraging such a supportive attitude towards employees. What is considered 'good' internal communication does not directly engender more support for the organisation's strategic direction. However, evidence from research, suggests that there are two ways to foster support. One is to create a sense of commitment within the organisation; the other is to establish trust in the management. Both approaches appear to have a positive relationship with good internal communication. The quality of task-related communication is important in creating commitment. What is vital in creating trust, however, is the quality of non-task-related communication (Mullins, L 2005).
The principals of best practice within management theory state there are six basic elements that can motivate employees. (1) Training; Skills development is probably more important to all employees, transferable skills replacing a job for life. (2) Recognition; the employees need to know they, reassurance of their role, enforcing corporate norms and values. (3) Financial rewards; Rewarding exceptional performance, this re-enforces the value of the human resource to the organisation. (4) Communication; Weekly meetings, open door polices and regular visits with employees. (5) Alignment; There is a direct relationship between motivation and an individual's ability to contribute, therefore make all employees aware of the contribution they bring to the organisation (6)Leadership; the skills that can combined all above, with strategic out look of the organisation (Redshaw, B 2001).
Communication is important to an employee; feedback affects outcomes such as work satisfaction and job performance. These mediating effects of employee attitudes between the design of a job and relevant employee and work outcomes are originally clustered into three states: experienced meaningfulness of the work experienced responsibility for the work and knowledge of results of work activities. They can reconcile the motivating potential of the job with relevant work outcomes. Although the importance of motivation is widely recognised, Parker (2000) emphasises that it is important to focus on the motivational variables that promote employee pro-activity. Those are likely to be relevant drivers, which may result in other outcomes such as effective problem solving or coping with demands. Parker (2000) then distinguishes between the concepts of proactive motivation from passive motivation (Parker, S (2000) cited in Dorenbosch, L et al 2005:131).
3.10 Employee Commitment
Thirty years ago, employee commitment was discussed as loyalty; this was viewed as an employee's attachment to an organisation. This attachment was connected to more specific behaviours such as supporting an organisation and the individuals within it and practicing good citizenship. Such attachment was thought to be evident when an employee passed on an attractive position with another organisation, or simply remained with one organisation for some length of time. Recently the definitions of loyalty have centred on employees not harming their colleagues or the firm that employs them. This is an implicit promise not to bring harm to the other, and the importance of ethical behaviour and trust in discussions (Coughlan, R. 2005).
Recent measures that have been used to define loyalty have included whether employees show pride in their organisation or defend it against criticism. This pride relates to a willingness to remain with their present company. Pettit (1988) argues that the reason for an individual's action must be universal within a given community; otherwise the rationale will not have the same motivational hold on all members. With thisprinciple individuals would define whether a potential act is morally appropriate (Pettit, P (1988) cited in Coughlan, R. 2005:44).
Loyalty and commitment have a great deal in common; although there are many relevant distinctions. For example, whereas commitment is more likely to have a strong connection to employee turnover, loyalty might be more strongly related to the likelihood of whistle-blowing or organisational citizenship behaviours. The concept of commitment, described as the psychological attachment of workers to their organisations. Kelman (1961) suggested that commitment involved one or more of three distinct processes: compliance, identification and internalisation. The last of these reflects the acceptance of influence by another individual because of a perceived similarity in values (Kelman (1961) cited in Coughlan, R. 2005:46).
Commitment of employees to their organisation is often measured in sickness rates. It is generally accepted that a high rate of absenteeism is an indicator of low morale and commitment. Although there are many other factors that can lead to a high sickness level, all should be considered when assess employee commitment. Within sickness the main indicator is employees who take the odd day off, but builds into a pattern. This can be monitored and controlled through the HR function. Organisations can reward good attendance through bonuses and extrinsic rewards, and interview employees on their return to work, to discover if there is an underlying cause (Beardwell, L et al 2004).
The process of internalisation leads to a particular kind of commitment; this is normative commitment, which represents feelings of obligation to remain with one's organisation Meyer and Allen (1997) discussed that this commitment is often described as "loyalty". Although the case of normative commitment, what gets internalised is a belief about the appropriateness of being loyal to one's organisation This suggests remaining with one's firm, perhaps because of a specific investment that the organisation makes in the employee or because of a perceived psychological contract (Meyer, J & Allen, N 1997:61). Normative commitment includes comments such as I owe a great deal to my organisation or Even if it were to my advantage, I do not feel it would be right to leave my organisation now (Meyer, J & Allen, N 1997:61).
3.11 Health and Safety
Corporate social responsibility is broadly described as corporate behaviours that go beyond short-term and firm specific economic benefit. These concerns include employee health and safety, environmental management and behaviour, community relationships and other actions involving discretion. Corporate environmental responsibilities, practices, procedures and the processes for determining and implementing corporate environmental policy are generally termed environmental management (Netherwood (1996 cited in Berry, G 2004:217).
Organisations that are similar in many ways respond in different ways to regulatory, social and political expectations regarding health and safety. Organisational culture offers a partial explanation for the differences in behaviour. The three levels of culture, level-one assumptions on driving the values and beliefs expressed in level two, which in turn determine the visible artefacts and behaviours of level three. Employees and other stakeholders expect the rules, procedures and processes of environmental management to reflect the espoused values and beliefs of the firm. The organisational culture drives employee actions, including behaviours regarding health, safety. Organisations which are committed to proactive environmental management use employee understanding of organisational culture to achieve quality health, safety and environmental outcomes (Berry, G 2004)
The employee is a multiple role stakeholder, they are both corporate and community members. It is believed that employee expectations reflect broader societal expectations, especially the expectation of having a safe work environment. Organisations that keep employees informed and meet employee's expectations regarding health, safety and environmental standards are proactive in their responsibilities. That by the employer expressing concern for the community it is, by implication, expressing concern for employees and their families. The concern for employee health and safety extends to concern with how employees interpret company actions. Simply, employees carry messages regarding corporate behaviour and attitude back to the community, and the company wants these messages to be positive and consistent with espoused corporate values (Berry, G 2004)
3.12 Customer Loyalty
There are five different levels of relationship marketing that can be practiced. The basic level does not really involve building a relationship. Reactive marketing is the next level of relating. At this level, as the employee has taken on some of the responsibility of managing the customers needs. A higher form of relationship is accountability. Each level requires more cost, so it is important for organisations to determine when it is worth going to the next level. Two dimensions that are particularly critical are the margin that the firm makes on the business and the number of customers making purchases. Training of employees would be appropriate for the proactive level. This can offer the customer a higher level of service, making them feel valued by the organisation. (Kotler, P. 1992:52).
Frequently organisations move from one strategic initiative to another with little consideration of their natural progression. This has been the case for many companies that have moved from an emphasis on quality in the 1980s, to customer satisfaction in the early 1990s, to customer loyalty and retention today. Managers proclaim that they have moved beyond quality and customer satisfaction to focus on what really matters, namely loyalty and profitability. Although it is argued that there is no such thing as moving beyond quality and satisfaction. They are essential building blocks toward building loyalty and a valuable business organisation (Kotler, P. 1992:97).
The service quality perceived by the customer varies across the spectrum. Relationship benefits are perceived advantages that the regular customer receives over and above the core service. These are rewards; the individual has gained over time by being a regular customer. The benefits tie him or her to the company by making it unattractive to switch providers. They may take the form of loyalty programmes, which are offered to all customers, or benefits that can be customised to individual consumers (Kotler, P. 1992:97).
4.0 Primary Research
This paper critically evaluates Human Resource Management policies and what affect they can have when addressing employee commitment and motivation. These policies will be discussed in relation to the employees of one branch of Sainsbury's PLC. The research was focussed on employees who serve in multiple disciplines including cashiers, shop floor, specialist counter staff, customer services, management and back of house staff.
A questionnaire was used to gauge the opinion of employees into the HR practices at branch level. The questionnaires were compiled with a choice of four responses and were coded as follows;
1. Strongly Disagree
4. Strongly agree
It was decided to use four scores to prevent the respondents sticking to the middle line, thereby committing them to an appropriate response. The questions were split into sections that covered leadership and management, communication, learning and development, reward and recognition, culture and values, job satisfaction and performance management Closed questions maintained the anonymity of the participants, but had the disadvantage of limiting the data that could be collected (Cresswell 1994).
After each section of the questionnaire there was an opportunity for respondents' to add comments on that section. This information was harder to analyse, although general trends were identified in areas such as culture, customer service, job satisfaction, and management skills. Theses trends will be analysed in the next section of this paper.
Processing the data from the questionnaires was achieved using a spreadsheet programme; variables were coded and entered into the computer. This information was quantitative and proved easy to evaluate, patterns appeared allowing the analysis stage to be relatively simple.
5.0 Analysis and findings
The section of the paper will compare the findings from the primary research with the literature review, background on the organisation and the information contained in the appendices.
The response from employees was high when filling in and returning the questionnaires, although certain questions were left blank. The maximum sample for this organisation is 362, although this number of employees is seasonal. Just fewer than 75% of employees responded, this was high due to the communication prior to the research explaining the rationale for the study (Appendix one).
All the questions on Leadership and Management evoked a strong response, with all employees agreeing with the statements. The organisation communicates its objectives to the employees. There was a strongly agree responses to My manager encourages honesty within the department, my manager encourages me to work as part of a team and I receive regular coaching i.e. 1-2-1 meetings with my manager on my performance The organisational change is being communicated to employees though their line managers and bulletins from the board (3.1,3.2 & 3.9).
The section on Communication produced strong responses as with the last section. Employees felt they were well informed about the business objectives, priorities, and values. They could communicate easily and effectively with the local senior management team. Although the response was lower with the organisations intranet, those that used it felt it was a good source of information (3.1, 3.7, & 3.9).
The respondents felt that there were many desirable career opportunities for them within the organisation. There was a high response to their immediate managers supporting their development in order to realise full potential, and they have received sufficient training to enable to carry out my job to the best of their ability. Shop floor employees felt they could benefit from changing role. Employees stated that some roles led to boredom after a while. Management level employees experience rotation during their training period and can request transfers once they are trained (3.2, 3.4, 3.4, 36 & Appendix three).
The section of the questionnaire that discussed reward and recognition evoked strong responses to the management. There is recognition for ideas that employees contribute to the organisation. The majority of respondents agreed that they were fairly well paid for the work they do. The organisation offers a good benefit package that includes share saving schemes, pension and staff discount (3.2, 3.7, 3.8 & Appendix Three).
All respondents understood the culture and values of the organisation, with a 100% strongly agree with the statement My business is passionate about providing an excellent service to customers/consumers Employees are proud of the service and products they provide and if they were aware of malpractice or wrongdoing they would feel comfortable to report it. The culture is now focused on delivering a high level of customer service (3.1, 3.10 & Appendix Two).
The corporate social responsibility is very evident with the organisations policies on food safety, good diet and encouraging children to eat healthily. This policy includes health and safety of the employees and the supply chain. The organisation has improved its health and safety record, by decreasing the number of accidents. This corporate social responsibility policy portrays the organisation to employees as a caring employer (3.11 & Appendix Two).
The culture and values of the organisation have been communicated strongly to all levels of employees. They felt that the organisation was now reacting to the needs of the customer. Within the organisation the management were generally sympathetic to the needs of individual employees. The high number of female and part time workers the organisation had help strike a work home balance, treating all requests to change hours fairly (2.2, 3.3, 3.9 & 3.10).
The section on Job Satisfaction evoked the strongest negative reactions to a statement, with employees feeling they did not have leave the organisation to develop their career further. There is plenty of training and development offered to employees at all levels. The organisation has an established reputation as a good employer, where employee morale is generally good. Employees feel appreciated and have a sense of achievement (3.1, 3.4, 3.10 & Appendix Three).
All employees have a current personal job description, which has been reviewed by their manager. All respondents have had an at least one appraisal in the last 12 months, in which their performance was accurately assessed. The respondents reacted positively to their managers' skills in managing their performance (3.1, 3.5, 3.7 & Appendix Three).
Employees feel committed the organisation, this is evident prior to and during the change process. The importance of customer service is part of the employees training programme, it is at he centre of the culture. Employees were fully aware of the tell Justin suggestion scheme. They felt their suggestions were valued by the organisation (3.1, 3.9, 3.10 & Appendix Three).
The organisation demonstrates that it cares for the wider community, and health and safety issues at levels. The respondents felt their customer care skills were good, leading to loyal customers. There is information available to all interested parties on all relevant subjects (2.2, 3.11, & 3.12).
The majority of employees reacted positively to the organisation and the management structure, although there were a few comments that related to the individual style of some of the managers. This was only in a minority of responses; therefore it did not reflect the feelings of the majority of employees.
Through the changes that have occurred the employees in this organisation are highly motivated. This proactive level of motivation, the employees feel responsible for the occurrence of problems concerning the quality of products or services provided. The employees feel a higher level of concern and ownership of the problems confronting them in the workplace.
This organisation has adopted the high commitment HR practices, which have established psychological links between organisational and employee goals This agrees with the basis of the theory on decentralisation of managerial decision making, providing the good training, equitable rewards and openness of information.
The employees interpret actions within the organisational context, as signals of the embodied organisation's commitment to them. The employees have reciprocated their perceptions accordingly in their own commitment and behaviour to the organisation.
Motivation of employees is a fluid topic, what motivates employees can differ immensely between individuals. The employee is no longer regarded as some one who is only motivated by money; there are social aspects that the work environment introduces that act as satisfiers.
The move towards HR empowering employees was viewed as a motivational and rewarding, placing value on the human resource. However this field of management is being widely criticised for the control it introduces to the work place.
Today's motivational issues are as complicated as they were over a hundred years ago, when they were first discussed as a management tool. Where motivation is individual, there is no cure all, therefore all theories have their merits and their failings. Attention to an employee's need and treating them with respect are the most valuable contributions to an employees motivation.
The shop floor employees would benefit from job rotation; this would increase their skill levels and reduce boredom. This at present is only offered to employees on the management-training programme. The organisations employees a high proportion of female employees, these are mainly in part time positions, and this should give flexibility in hours and roles. Therefore they would benefit from job rotation.
The commitment that employees have to the organisation is demonstrated through their understanding of the need for change. The employees and ex employees are the majority shareholders in the organisation; therefore they feel a valued part of it.
Sainsbury's take their corporate social responsibility seriously; this not only includes the information they give to the wider community, it includes their policies on health and safety with an action plan to reduce accidents. All employees are involved with these policies; therefore they take ownership of problems. They depict themselves both inwardly and outwardly as a caring organisation.
This paper has focused on aspects of HR management and corporate social responsibility that the organisation has used to increase their level of customer service. These areas are only a small part of the wider strategy. Therefore it should be concluded that it is all aspects of their current strategy that is moving the organisation forward.
Armstrong, M. (2001) (8th Edition) The Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, Kogan Page Limited London,
Beardwell I and Holden L, (1994) Human Resource Management
Pitman Publishing, London
Beardwell, I. et al. (2004) (4th Edition) Human Resource Management a Contemporary Approach, Prentice Hall, Harlow
Buchanan D, and Hucczynski A, (1991) Organisational Behaviour,
Prentice Hall, Padstow
Cresswell, J (1994) Research Design (Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches)
Sage publications, London
Dorenbosch, L et al (2005) On-the-job Innovation: The Impact of Job Design and Human Resource Management through Production Ownership
Blackwell Publishing Ltd, UK
Foot, M. & Hook, C. (1999) (2nd edition) Introducing Human Resource Management Pearson Education Limited, UK
Keep, E. (1989) Corporate training: the vital component?
New Perspectives on Human Resource Management, Routledge Press London
Marchington M and Wilkinson A, (1997) Core Personnel and Development
IPD publishing, London
Meyer, J (1997) Commitment in the workplace theory, research, and application
Sage Publications, California
Mullins, L (2005) (7th Edition) Management and Organisational Behaviour
Prentice Hall, Pearson Education, Edinburgh
Reader A, (1998) Strategic Human Resource Management
Sage Publications, Pitman, London
Reid, M& Barrington, H. (1997)(5th edition) Training Interventions: Managing Employee Development IPD Publishing, London
Rose M (1978) Industrial Behaviour
Thomas, K (2000) Intrinsic motivation at work building energy & commitment Berrett-Koehler Publishers San Francisco
Thompson, P. and McHugh, D. (2002) (3rd edition) Work Organisations
Alcorso, C. (2003) Immigrant employees in hotels (August 2003)
Labour & Industry, v14
Bacon, N& Blyton, P (2003) The impact of teamwork on skills: Employee perceptions of who gains and who loses Human Resource Management Journal London: 2003.Vol.13, Iss. 2
Berry, G (2004) Environmental Management: The Selling of Corporate Culture
The Journal of Corporate Citizenship Sheffield: Winter 2004. Iss. 16
Coughlan, R (2005) Employee Loyalty as Adherence to Shared Moral Values
Journal of Managerial Issues Pittsburg: Spring 2005 Vol.17, Iss. 1
Friedrich, A et al (1998) Functional flexibility: merely reacting or acting strategically? Employee Relations Bradford: 1998.Vol.20, Iss. 5
Guest, D (1999) Human Resource Management, the Workers' Verdict
Human Resource Management Journal, London, 1999Vol.9, Iss. 3;
Kotler, P. (1992) Marketing's New Paradigm: What's Really Happening Out There?. Planning Review. Dayton: Sep/Oct 1992Vol.20, Iss. 5;
Ramlall, S. (2004) A Review of Employee Motivation Theories and their Implications for Employee Retention Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge Sep 2004.Vol.5, Iss. 1
Redshaw B (2001) Evaluating organisational effectiveness Measuring Business Excellence, Bradford: 2001. Vol. 5
Rogers, S. (2004) Power to the People Managers
People Management, London: Sep 2004 Vol. 10
Whitener, E (2001) Do High Commitment Human Resource Practices Affect Employee Commitment? Journal of Management, Sept-Oct 2001 v27
7.3 Internet Sites
J Sainsbury plc Annual Report and Financial Statements 2005 accessed through www.sainsburys.co.uk
This is the questionnaire that was given to all employees, there was a section for gender, role and to add any other information.
Section One Leadership and Management
- I have confidence in how Sainsbury operates
- I am well informed about Sainsbury business objectives, priorities, values and progress
- Sainsbury 's senior management team encourage me to come up with ideas
- I feel the local senior management team is effective in leading the business
- I am well informed about my department/team business objectives, priorities, values and progress
- My manager encourages me to work as part of a team
Section Two Communication
- I am well informed about the business objectives, priorities, values and progress of Sainsbury as a whole
- I can communicate easily with the local senior management team
- I would describe the communication with my manger as effective
- I would describe communication between different departments I work with as effective
- I would describe communication within my department as effective
- We have regular reviews on the Health and Safety aspect of our work place
Section Three Learning and Development
- There are desirable career opportunities for me within Sainsbury as a whole
- My immediate manager supports my development in order to realise my full potential
- I have received sufficient training to enable me to carry out my job to the best of my ability
- I am able to vary my work
- I regularly swoop roles with colleagues
Section Four Reward and Recognition
- I am paid fairly for the work I do and the responsibilities I have
- Sainsbury communicate their benefits well.
- I think Sainsbury provides a good benefits package
4. Sainsbury does a good job of providing information on my pension and benefits arrangements
Section Five Culture and Values
- My business responds quickly to changing trends in the market
- My business is passionate about providing an excellent service to customers/consumers
- I am proud of the service and products we provide
- I feel a sense of responsibility in helping to build the businesses new reputation
- Sainsbury helps me to achieve a balance between home and work life
- I feel confident that my manger would fairly treat a request to work flexibly
- The organisations care for its employees
- The employee grievance procedure is accessible to all employees
Section Six Job Satisfaction
1. I would like to spend a large part of my career with Sainsbury's
2. Sainsbury has an established reputation as a good employer
3. Morale is generally good in my business
4. I have a sense of achievement in my job
5. I feel appreciated
6. I am trained on health and safety at work
7. I have a current personal job description
8. Customers respond positively to me
9. I feel that there is a sense of fun in my team
10. My manager understands my job i.e. tasks, workload
11. My manager listens to suggestions and ideas I put forward
Section Seven Corporate Values
- The organisation cares for the wider community
- Health and Safety is important at all levels
- The organisation values employees
- The organisation values the customers
- We are encouraged to work safely
- The organisation provides information to all interested parties
The information in this appendix was accessed through www.sainsburys.co.uk
Health and Safety
The reportable accident rate for the Group as a whole has fallen by 16%.
During 2005/06 we will be reviewing all of our health & safety performance-related targets and developing a long-term goal as well as short-term targets. As part of this review we are looking not just at the actual output in terms of lost time or reportability but also at how serious the accident could have been.
We are also developing systems to enable us to report and learn lessons from 'near miss' events and we are looking at improving reporting of these areas.
A new Incident Management system has been introduced across the business. This internet-based system will enable both wider access to information and also the ability to manage incidents through the actions arising.
New safety initiatives
In 2004/05 we embarked on a major training programme to update and equip all our senior management and store management with the right level of health & safety awareness and understanding. We offer a portfolio of courses, some of which are mandatory. For example, all Operating Board Directors attend a half-day Safety for Senior Executives course and our Senior Management Team attend a full-day version. The course is recognised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Store Managers are all attending a two-day IOSH-accredited course
The Health & Safety teams from across the business have been consolidated into one group under the leadership of an externally appointed Head of Health & Safety. This new team reports directly to the Operating Board HR Director.
Musculoskeletal problems continue to be the main Occupational Health issues across the business. The Health & Safety team work closely with the operational areas to reduce the incidence of problems, and re-engineer activities where possible. Stress issues are also a cause for concern and a new stress policy has recently been issued building on the existing flexible working and fair treatment policies within the business.
We are now into our third year of health surveillance to detect occupationally related asthma in bakers, working closely with the Royal Brompton Hospital. This programme identifies individuals who have become sensitised to flour dust or flour improvers. We redeploy people who have been affected.
Health & Safety Awards
During 2005/06 we will also be introducing an H&S Award system, initially in the Supply Chain area and extending into Retail later in the year. This award will look at overall team performance on H&S issues, not just focusing on accident rates
Sainsbury's has regular audits, conducted by independent external contractors, reviewing its health and safety activities. Reports, including legal compliance status are made to a Main Board Director. In addition, internal audits monitor both legal compliance and actual practice and are reported to line Directors.
Training, to enable us to discharge our legal health and safety responsibilities, is offered to all colleagues, and is part of a rigorous risk assessment process. Training needs are identified from the risks faced, and appropriate training is arranged using a combination of internal and external training providers. Most external courses are validated by The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, Europe's foremost health and safety body. Our risk assessment system is based on its methodology, and assessors are trained and accredited by IOSH's training providers.
Health and Safety Committees exist at all levels and all locations within the Company. Colleagues from all levels sit on these committees and help to actively promote safety amongst their Divisions / Departments. Meetings are held three or four times a year. The UK Health and Safety Committee is chaired by a Main Board Director, and amongst its responsibilities is to sign-off new or amended safety policies and to report to the Company Boards annually on health and safety matters. Where trades union recognition is in place, consultation with the relevant trades unions takes place on a regular basis
The information in this appendix was accessed through www.sainsburys.co.uk
The Company remains committed to achieving its business objectives through the motivation and development of its people. In the belief that 'how we manage is how we serve', there is continued commitment to provide all colleagues with:
- The information they need in order to perform effectively
- A regular opportunity to review performance with their manager;
- A personal training and development plan
This year Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd won the National Training Award in conjunction with Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association, Tameside College (Manchester) and Brooklands College (Weybridge) for the Bakery Manager
Full roll-out has begun of the Sainsbury's GUILD programme which will progressively equip store colleagues with the skills to offer outstanding customer service through improved product knowledge and other skills.
The Company is committed to providing fair and equal treatment for all employees and recognises the importance of diversity within the organisation. As part of that commitment to equality and diversity, the Company believes that, given the chance, people with a disability have at least as much to offer as anyone else. During 1998, Sainsbury's Supermarkets won two 'Ease' awards from the Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People as the Best Employer of People with Disabilities and the Best Supermarket for Customers with Disabilities. These awards reflect our continuing work to ensure the social inclusion of people with disabilities.
The Company continues to place great emphasis on the value of open communication both through an ever more effective network of local and central staff councils and through the annual attitude surveys which are demonstrating increasing levels of satisfaction and commitment.
Staff are offered a full range of employee share schemes and about one third of all shareholders are employees or former employees.