Woolworths is an aspirational and modern retail brand with a strong value based culture that permeates employee relations and assists to drive high performance; therefore we are able to deliver sustainable and profitable growth through our People.
Our integrated people strategy, which is built on the philosophy of creating an inspiring workplace, is the foundation of the company strategic plan and is critical to motivating and rewarding the right employee actions and behaviour in order to effectively execute business plans.
The objectives of the People Strategy are:
In 2009/10 we made significant strides towards establishing a leading employment value proposition through the implementation of an integrated people and reward strategy. The key achievements for 2009/10 were:
Prospective and current employees are attracted and retained by the value-based culture which forms the bedrock of the business. From the financial year 2008/2009 to 2009/2010 staff turnover in corporate stores decreased by 8% as a result of the improvements made in strengthening the staff employment value proposition, which included:
Short term incentives including the corporate short term incentive scheme, the regional manager and corporate stores gain share scheme and the supply chain gain share scheme performed as planned rewarding participants for successful performance.
Woolworths employee relations strategy remains focused on developing and maintaining sound one-on-one relationships with all staff, which we firmly believe is in the best interests of our people. Industry norms are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that Woolworths remuneration remains competitive and market-related.
Lets Talk is an engagement tool that provides employees with the platform to ‘be heard’ and to track daily actions relative to the operating and trading plan. As at year end 80% of head office and over 50% of stores have implemented the methodology which has translated into improved performance.
The employee opinion survey known as ‘Lets Ask’ was deployed in stores to measure engagement, the effectiveness of our people strategies and leadership. Overall there was 2.1% improvement in performance. Notable shifts included
Over the past year a solid platform has been established from which we can build our position as the preferred employer within retail. A full review of recruitment and selection policy, process and metrics has been completed and there has been a focus on building recruitment and selection competence in HR and Line Managers. The development of alternative sourcing channels has also contributed to a significant decrease in recruitment costs across the business.
In order to position the business to effectively deliver the strategy going forward, an organisation-wide structure alignment process was completed at head office. The key outcomes of this process were simpler leaner structures, with clear accountability aligned to the delivery of the business strategy. The intent was also to structure to build succession and increased capability. Key focus areas through the structure alignment process were the retention of key skills and commitment to employment equity.
Employment equity has continued to be a key business focus in 2009/10 with a specific focus on establishing an EE talent pipeline in line with our strategy of developing and progressing EE talent through the business. The launch of our graduate programme, Growth Academy, in collaboration with the W&RS Seta and the University of Stellenbosch Business School in February 2010 was groundbreaking within the retail sector, and is a significant step towards enabling this strategy. In order to build a culture that enables transformation, a new Diversity workshop was piloted, and will be rolled out across the business in the new financial year.
Development of the requisite skills to deliver our strategy both in the short and longer term remained a key focus area for the business and the numbers of learners participating in formalised Learnerships, Skills programmes and Trainee programmes has increased steadily. The launch of the Growth Academy as well as a Corporate Stores and Real Estate Development Certificate in Business Practice funded by the W& R Seta and run in partnership with the Triple L Learning Academy were highlights for the year. Retail Academy, which focuses on the development of middle to senior management, continued to run in partnership with UCT Graduate School of Business. In addition, there was also a continued focus on general upskilling and building of retail merchant skills. The learning centres at Adderley Street in Cape Town, Rosebank in Johannesburg, and Westville in KZN have all come on stream to accelerate the development of retail skills by providing focused and accredited courses required for modern retail.