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The people or the workforce in an organisation represents the most valuable resource of that organisation. In corporate scenario, the most important department that an organisation has is undoubtedly Human Resource management. Human Resource Management in the organization deals not only with issues relating to people such as training, hiring, performance management, development, health and safety, benefits, motivation, communication, administration, and training but also plays an important role in the maximizing these resources to a more strategic level. ( In simple terms HRM is all about putting the right people to the right task and vice-versa to achieve maximum output for an organization. Strategic Perspective, develop Human Resource plans and strategies aligned to the organization's strategic direction and business strategy. HRM provides tools for the accomplishment of these strategies and manage the interaction between processes and systems. Both knowledge and capability to successfully implement change and execute strategies make Human Resource management exceptionally valued. Knowing how to interlink change to the strategic needs of the organization will minimize employee dissatisfaction and resistance to change. In this context the way the organisations approach to the management of human resources can lead to the improvement of the corporate performance both in the short and the long term.


The link between the organisation's corporate and business strategy and human resources strategy is not something new. Well known 7-S framework of McKinsey's emphasising the need for the alignment of seven organisational variables (super ordinate goals, strategy, structure, systems, staff, skills, and style) for organisational effectiveness is more than twenty years old. During this period the link between the organisational success with the people has only increased as during this period the businesses and organisations have become more and more knowledge driven and people oriented. As a result of this industry experts now agree with concept of "individualised corporation" (Sumantra Ghoshal and Christopher Bartlett).

We will discuss and see how Tesco, one of the biggest retailers in UK, have fared in their attempt to align their corporate strategy and human resource strategy. Tesco as an organisation has been very successful they are one of the biggest in UK and are vastly expanding abroad in foreign markets. Tesco's profits soared 10.1% in the last year to a record £3.4 billion and setting a new milestone for UK business. The company takes almost one of every three pounds spent in a supermarket, and more than one of every eight pounds spent on the High Street. The supermarket chain is Britain's biggest private employer with nearly 283,000 staff (Tesco facts and figures, guardian April 2009). Tesco's human resource strategy is centred around work simplification, challenging unwritten rules, rolling out core skills to all head-office employees and performance management linked to achieving steering-wheel targets. This highlights the way in which Tesco's business measures are closely linked to performance management (Anonymous 2003).

Tesco ensures that each and every employee has the opportunity to understand his or her individual role in contributing to the Tesco core purpose and values. This requires an innovative induction programme that caters for different cultures, styles of learning and varying commitments to the job. The frontline employees are considered the ultimate reflection of Tesco to its customers, but all employees have a very important role to play in turning core values and customer commitment into reality on a daily basis (Whitelock, N. 2003).

Tesco's slogan of every little helps indicating how committed they are towards customers this same slogan is now used in their staff development and training indicating that any intervention will increase the knowledge of the work force. This human resource centred business strategy has helped Tesco to take the lead over its rivals in the fiercely-competitive UK supermarket sector. The strategic policy (Future) started in the company's supermarkets, where its aim was to free up stores employees so they could do more and improve customer service (Anonymous 2003).

Thus Tesco has made its approach towards its employees or we can say human resources core element of its strategy. Tesco has strategically integrated Human Resources into their overall plans. Managers have been to utilise aspects of HR in their decision making. This has shown high commitment to HR, attempting to gain acceptance from all employees, and offering to all employees basic and extended training (Beardwell I 2004). The Tesco's strategic direction is discussed with all employees which helps each individual employee in understanding their importance in the organisation. There has been an tremendous increase in training within the organisation which indicates that HR department playing an strategic role. HR is no longer just an administrative department in Tesco, they are proactive and major player on the strategic level of the organisation. This practice emphasises that increased growth can only be maintained in the long run; by equipping the work force with the skills they need to complete their tasks (Mullins, L. 2005).

For corporate, business and HR strategies to be integrated well it is extremely important that the top management and HR department needs to interact closely with each other, which Tesco's has successfully implemented been able to do. Tesco is very successful organisation. They have risen to first place in the UK's supermarket sector. This has been possible through successful integration and alignment between their corporate strategy and human resource strategy.

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An organisation is only as good as its people. Organisations seek competitive edge over their rivals. In customer oriented industries like supermarkets the best tool they have is their workforce. The better the level of service they offer the more loyal the customers which in turn will have a positive effect on the overall running of the business. Tesco is number 1 in the UK market recruiting more than 40,000 individuals from various walks of life. It needs people for both store based and non store based job. Tesco has a structured process for recruitment and selection to attract applicants for all types of roles. Tesco main aim in its recruitment drive is to find right number of people in the right jobs at the right time. Tesco advertises jobs in different ways depending on vacancies. Tesco first relies on its internal talent plan, wherein employees looking for a move either at the same level or promotion are considered. Tesco advertises the post internally on its intranet for two weeks. For external recruitment, Tesco advertises vacancies via the Tesco website or through vacancy boards in stores. Applications are made online for managerial positions. The chosen applicants have an interview followed by attendance at an assessment centre for the final stage of the selection process. People interested in store-based jobs with Tesco can approach stores with their CV or register though Jobcentre Plus. The store prepares a waiting list of people applying in this way and calls them in as jobs become available. For harder-to-fill or more specialist jobs, such as bakers and pharmacists, Tesco advertises externally ( Tesco always tries to to attract right people in most cost-effective method. Tesco also makes it easy for the people to find out jobs available and has a very simple process.


Although no specific figures are available turnover rate in Tesco is below the industry standard of 35%. Tesco prides itself on people staying with the company, Sir Terry Leahy himself joined Tesco straight from university in 1979. Classification according to age spectrum indicates that one in five staff are over 50, employs more than 30,000 students and it was one of the first businesses to set targets for recruitment of disabled people. Tesco offers a wide range of flexible working options, maternity and paternity leave, career breaks, job shares and shift-swaps. It has a company pension, plus a share ownership scheme, which, in March, shared out £220m (Nic paton, PersonnelToday, 05 july 2005)


Tesco about a decade ago had put themselves in the forefront of training by becoming investors in people. 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 (Delany (2001) cited in Mullins, L. 2005:748). Tesco as the largest Private employer in the UK has taken this responsibility seriously, which is demonstrated through their training and development policy. Most of which is in-house or in-store by managers. Training programmes are designed and co-ordinated by "Tesco Academy". In store training is split into three levels. Bronze is basic training based on developing core skills, such as health and safety or hygiene, alongside specific departmental skills. Silver is about developing product knowledge or stock processes, and gold is aimed at encouraging people to become experts in their field. For management, there is a scheme called Options, which is designed to give shop staff the skills and experience to develop into managers. On average, its retail staff receive more than 4.5 million hours of training each year, Tesco estimates. (Nic paton, PersonnelToday, 05 july 2005).