Asda’s retention problem forces new rota system

Supermarket giant Asda is introducing a new rota system designed to boost
the retention of new staff.

An analysis shows the supermarket’s average ‘leaver’ is female, aged 26-40,
and has worked for Asda less than 12 weeks, worked on checkouts 20 hours a
week, and worked on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, usually on afternoon or
evening shifts.

Asda’s resourcing manager Philip Horn said newer staff were leaving because
they are usually given the unpopular shifts – late in the week, and late in the
day.

In response, a new IT system, People Planner, is being piloted in the
company’s west division. It will link staff rosters to the busiest shopping
times, break up the older staff members’ stranglehold on the best shifts, and
enable staff to share the unpopular hours.

Horn said the need for change is being explained to staff, and most of the
employees are receptive as they understand the need to share weekend and late
shifts.

"It is about sharing the load," he said. "It will see
checkout staff work one in four Saturdays, for example."

The company has also surveyed leaving staff to find out why they quit. The
main reasons given were the inability to change hours to suit their
requirements, and needing more time for family and personal commitments. Pay
ranked seventh.

Horn said problems surrounding flexibility are something they can do
something about. A ‘no quit’ initiative was introduced in the middle of last
year to counter these problems. Staff are now asked why they wish to leave, and
Asda then tries to change their hours or do what is needed to remedy the
problem.

Another issue being examined is how to make jobs more interesting and vary
the roles. At the new Walthamstow store in London, staff are trained to be
multi-skilled and move to different areas.

By Quentin Reade

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