Human Resources in the Retail Sector

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One of the fastest growing sectors of the economy of our time is the retail industry. The retail industry alone is a multi-billion pound and growing enterprise. It is exciting, never boring and offer unlimited opportunities. The retail industry is diverse enough for people to work in different areas of interest and still be employed within the retail industry. This trend is not just in UK, but also globally.

Modern retail provides refined services to their customers. The customers are always right. This principle necessitated application of management principles in the retail industry and the retail professionals realized the instrumentality of marketing principles in managing the retail industry.

The recruitment and training programmers are required to be developed in the face of technological sophistication. The leading companies have been found promoting an ongoing training programmed so that the personnel come to know about the use of sophisticated communication technologies.


Tesco is the largest British retailer and is also the world's third largest grocery retailer with outlets across Europe, USA and Asia. The business began in 1919 with one man, Jack Cohen, selling groceries from a stall in the East End of London. Jack bought surplus stocks of tea from a company called T.E. Stockwell. T.E. Stock well and Cohen combined their names to brand the tea Cohen originally sold - TESCO tea. In 1929, the first Tesco store opened in north London.

Tesco has expanded since then by a combination of acquisition of new stores, retail services and by adapting to the needs of consumers. Tesco has net profits (before tax) of around £3 billion. Tesco's primary aim is 'to serve the customer. Keeping existing customers happy is important, as they are more likely to return. This is more cost effective for the business than acquiring new ones.

In the UK Tesco now has over 2,200 stores ranging from the large Extra hypermarket style stores to small Tesco Express high street outlets. Tesco's original product range of grocery and general merchandise has diversified to include banking, insurance services, electrical goods as well as telephone equipment and airtime. This move towards 'one stop shopping' means customers can meet all their purchasing needs from one place. Tesco has also expanded its customer base through its website which attracts one million regular users.

Tesco operates in a very competitive market; the consumer has a choice where to shop for their groceries. They have expanded their portfolio to include CD's, DVD's, electrical goods and clothing. Recently they have expanded into the financial services offering customers products from Credit cards to insurance. All their products are available on the Internet 24 hours a day. Their slogan every little helps is used to show their commitment to customers, this has been used to reduce prices and to increase the level of customer service.

The organisation has a diversified product portfolio, which includes telecommunications, finance, insurance, which provides cross and up sell opportunities to customers.  Profits have been invested to support research and development, and its aggressive international expansion plans


Tesco's profits have soared 20% in the last year, taking them to a record 2 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 260,000 staff (Poulter, S. 2005).

Task 1


Human Resources Management:

Human resources are one of the most important features of many businesses, especially in an economy where there is an increasing shift towards service-based industries. Human resources account for a large proportion of many businesses' costs and it is the people that invariably drive a business. Management of these resources therefore is an integral part of business success.

William R. Tracey, in The Human Resources Glossary defines Human Resources as:

"The people that staff and operate an organization … as contrasted with the financial and material resources of an organization. The organizational function that deals with the people..."

Long a term used sarcastically by individuals in the line organization, because:

It relegates humans to the same category as financial and material resources; human resources will be replaced by more customer-friendly terms in the future.

 The human resource department presented with opportunity to become significant player on the management team occurring because HR function is being transformed into significant management function. Environmental changes are confronting organizations with people issues of great importance and uncertainty. People issues are thus becoming formulated as significant business issues. One result is that line managers are reaching out to take control and ownership over the HR function. This is being facilitated by many HR departments that remain focused on issues involving functional expertise rather than business-relatedness. Examples exist, however, of companies in which the HR departments are seizing the opportunity to become vital members of the management team and working with line managers to tackle the people related business issues. Doing so, however, appears to require virtual repositioning of the HR department.

Human resource development served the needs of organizations to provide employees with updated expertise. Advances in HRD models and processes have kept pace with the increasingly sophisticated information and production technologies that continue to diffuse throughout our nation's most vital industries (1994). During development, the HRD function could be relied upon to support broad range of business initiatives that required a competent workforce. Critical business issues, from new marketing strategies to innovations in production technology, were based on, among other factors, the performance capabilities of those expected to use these new work systems. As a factor integral to business success, employee expertise itself has been expanded through effective programs of employee development. The primary means of sustaining an organization's competitive edge, HRD serves a strategic role by assuring the competence of employees to meet the organization's present performance demands. Along with meeting present organizational needs, HR


serve vital role in shaping strategy and enabling organizations to take full advantage of emergent business strategies. Both the strategy supporting and strategy shaping roles of HRD have distinctive features that are evident in the business practices of successful companies.

The HRD function has long been relied upon to support broad range of business objectives that require competent employees. Business objectives themselves are almost as diverse in nature as the wide range of organizations that articulate them. Business objectives can span long and short-term time frames, and focus on broad business issues and more specific issues. The rationale for using HRD interventions to support business objectives is quite straightforward: Enhancing employee expertise through HRD increases the likelihood that business objectives will be achieved (1995; 1994).  Research will use explorative method and case analysis describing why human resource management decisions are likely to have an important and unique influence on organizational performance research forum will help advance research on the link between HRM and organizational performance. There identify key unresolved questions in need of future study and make several suggestions intended to help researchers studying these questions build cumulative body of knowledge that will have key implications for both theory and practice.

B. The Human Resource Department sets the smart objective to achive the organization objective and goals.

The human resources department of Tesco focuses on planning for the customers as well as for the whole company or organization. HR plans involve the global market place and the future.  Planning begins with the assurance that the right number of individuals is properly placed at the proper position.

For Tesco's ensuring that the right people is in the right job. Quality of work life is somewhat general concept. These include such factors as management and supervisory style, freedom and autonomy to make decision on the job, satisfactory physical surrounding job safety, satisfactory working hours, and objective needs to be achievable and linked to organizational objectives

The real jump in effectiveness will come when the focus is first on doing the right things by giving the employees the right tools to perform the task to achieve the objective. The SMART objective serves as a guide to achieve such a goal. Tesco believes that giving the opportunities to its employee enable them to do the right things at the right time.

Tesco's also recognises the strategic role of the HR people and key to Tesco's success. They are given the responsibility to develop, implement and ensure that HRM strategies achieve the business goals and delivers commercial objectives. The priority of the HR people is to successfully provide a high quality HR service to the business. People-related issues are dealt with in systematic way through the implementing group HR strategy at various levels across England as well. With all the works and responsibilities that are vested on the HR people, it would only be plausible to determine how their performance is being measured.

At the right time encompasses three processes that include strategic plan-based forecasting of personnel requirements, skills inventory to analyse personnel supply and buddy system to match personnel requirements with the supply.




One of Tesco's main aim businesses needs to monitor and evaluate the costs and benefits of its training and development activities for financial and non-financial reasons. The business needs to know if the investment in time and money is producing improvements. Employees need positive, structured feedback on their progress in order to find direction and gain confidence. This will reflect in their behavior with customers and inspire higher customer confidence in Tesco.

The main function of the Human resource:

The main function of the human resources is to recruit, select, train and develop staff. This means finding the right people, training and developing them so they achieve their maximum potential and creating systems that achieve high levels of morale and motivation. The three main planning and development methods of Tesco are the following.


Recruitment and selection is about appointing the best person to do the job. For this purpose Tesco advertises jobs in different ways. The process varies depending on the job available. Tesco first looks at its internal talent plan to fill a vacancy. This is a process that lists current employees looking for a move, either at the same level or on promotion. If there are no suitable people in this Talent Plan or developing on the internal management development programmed, Options, 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. Their website covers a lot of information about what Tesco is and their vision on what they expect of the Tesco applicants. To apply for a job at Tesco's the applicants are required to use the search tool for jobs.

There they can fill in what kind of job they are looking for, where and how much they want to earn. The search tool will say if there are any vacancies matching their preference.

If the applicant thinks he is the right person for the job he or she may click on the apply button and will be ask to register on the site. This is necessary so that Tesco already has information about her education, work history etc. After registering they can send in their application form to the recruitment center, here the forms are collected and compared.

2. Selection:

Involves choosing the most suitable people from those that apply for a vacancy, whilst keeping to employment laws and regulations. Screening candidates is a very important part of the selection process. This ensures that those selected for interview have the best fit with the job requirements.


In the first stages of screening, Tesco selectors look carefully at each applicant's curriculum vitae (CV). The CV summarizes the candidate's education and job history to date. A well-written and positive CV helps Tesco to assess whether an applicant matches the person specification for the job.

Finally the chosen applicants have an interview followed by attendance at an assessment center for the final stage of the selection process.

3.Training and development:

The Human Resource department at Tesco during the past decade has introduced a high commitment model, which offers training and development to all employees. They have developed their culture through extending their logo every little helps to prove their commitment to employees as well as to customers. This has proved a world class model and very successful for the organisation. The role of HR within the organisation has increased in importance. Through their introduction of strategic HR policies, which has led to an increase in business.

Tainting is the acquisition of knowledge and skills in order for a person to carry out a specific task or job. This has demonstrated they are a first class provider of training to their employees, and has given scope for the organisation to expand into new markets. Training benefits employees in several ways:

It increases their sense of ownership in the business.

They become more organized, productive and flexible and are better able to meet the needs of internal and external customers.

New skills and abilities in areas such as decision-making can empower staff, which makes them more effective.

Tesco's business image also benefits, as customers are more confident in the competence and knowledge of staff. This in turn helps Tesco grow.

Tesco has a flexible and structured approach to training and development, which adapts to individual employee needs. This allows people identified as having the potential and desire to do a bigger or different role to take part in training to develop.

For the employee, on-the-job training is directly relevant to their work, they get to know the people in their area and feel part of the team faster. On-the-job training also has several advantages for the company:

It is cheaper than off-the-job training.

Managers see progress and can help when problems arise to resolve them quickly.

The employee is still working during training so is more productive.

The employee puts learning into practice.



Tesco's profits have soared 20% in the last year, taking them to a record 2 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 260,000 staff (Poulter, S. 2005).

Future concentrates on providing a clear way of defining roles, responsibilities and activities. The system guarantees that all employees are responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. A group of 13 key management techniques is used to improve the core skills of the workforce. The techniques include root cause analysis, problem solving, plan-do-review, situational leadership and coaching for high performance (Anonymous 2003).

For the first time, people have been made a core element of strategy. Putting a senior director in charge has recognized the importance of this strand of the project. Quarterly board meetings always review human resource issues. Tesco now tracks human-resource information as closely as financial results (Anonymous 2003).

Looking ahead, Tesco intends to continue its emphasis on increasing the skills of its workforce. The firm aims to make learning into a truly integrated part of its culture, as an important way of developing organisational flexibility and remaining one step ahead of its rivals (Anonymous 2003).


A. Human Resource indicates and monitored the performance

A business needs to monitor and evaluate the costs benefits of its training and developing trinities for financial and non-financial reasons. The business needs to know if the investment in time and money is producing improvements. Employees need positive, structured feedback on their progress in order to find direction and gain confidence. This will reflect in their behavior with customers and inspire higher customer confidence in Tesco - one of Tesco's main aims.

Tesco provides tools for highly structured monitoring and evaluation of training and development. This includes scheduled tasks, timetables, measures and checklists. Employees assess themselves by setting objectives in Activity Plans, Person Development Plans and recording outcomes in Learning Logs. These continue to measure their improvement in performance after training. Activity Plans need to have SMART objectives:

Specific - describes exactly what needs doing

Measurable - has a target that can be measured against

Achievable - is possible within the trainee's current role, skills and experience

Realistic - is achievable within the time and resources available

Time-framed - has a clear deadline.

Tesco also uses a method known as 360-degree appraisal. This means all stakeholders who have contact with the employee assess the person's performance and give feedback. For example, a store


department manager may get feedback from their manager, their 'buddy', other department managers, the HR department and their team. This helps to identify areas that may require further development.

Tesco also uses a more informal approach to development by asking employees to write down three things they believe they are good at and three things they believe they could do better. The employee identifies actions to continue to do more of the good things and improve areas they could do better.


Virtually all organisations are allotting at least 30% of their total revenue for employee compensation. While compensation expenditures are evaluate to determine there effectiveness, performance that is the basis of compensation should be also assessed. HR performance is not an exemption and also that of Tesco's. Basically, Tesco's is using a market leader strategy when it comes to compensating workers. Such a strategy enables the organisation to attract and retain workers with the required capabilities as well as to acquire the opportunity to increase the productivity of the workers (Mathis and Jackson, 2007, p. 366)

A major Tesco challenge is to ensure that all of its employees, wherever they work, are aware of the role they play and that they can clearly see how their actions affect the "big picture" of the overall business. The training creates a graphical journey through the history of Tesco, its core purpose, values, business goals, financial aims, operations and marketing strategy and its commitment to customers. All employees are receiving more training than before (Whitelock, N. 2003).

The human-resource strategy at Tesco's revolves 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 programmed 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).


Efficient and effective training and development of employees is an essential element for Tesco's continuing growth in an increasingly commercial world. Tesco requires employees who are committed and flexible in order to aid its expansion of the business. The expansion of Tesco relies on retaining existing customers and acquiring new ones. All customers need to be confident and happy in Tesco. This relies on committed and flexible employees delivering the highest standards of service to meet Tesco's objectives. Tesco's structured approach to training and developing its existing and new employees provides a strong foundation for its continuing growth.