Sainsbury’s has launched a major overhaul of staff training to underpin a £10m branding change labelled “the most significant in the company’s 136-year history”.
The campaign, based on the phrase ‘Try something new today’, is being complemented by intensive programmes covering areas such as staff communication, leadership training and new ways of working for head office staff.
Gwyn Burr, customer director at Sainsbury’s, said the company had realised staff buy-in was vital.
“We delayed the launch of the new brand until all our managers had seen it,” she told Personnel Today. “We want to drive cultural change that faces both ways – to the customer and to staff.”
More than 1,000 managers from stores and central teams, including the board, will complete a two-day training course. All store employees will also receive customer service training by the end of October.
In addition, ideas and tips being promoted by TV chef Jamie Oliver in the company’s adverts over the coming weeks are being sampled by all 153,000 Sainsbury’s staff so they can share their experiences with customers.
“Staff will get 30 minutes training on the ‘TRY’ concept, which stands for ‘taste’, ‘recommend’ and ‘your customer’,” said Burr. “By getting free samples, staff will have the authority to recommend things to customers.”
To improve communications, all staff will be required to attend a monthly 30-minute briefing, where line managers will detail key business initiatives.
Staff based at the Holborn head office are being reminded that they work for a store chain. Internal e-mails have been banned on Wednesdays and all internal meetings on Fridays will be scrapped, to allow senior managers more time to visit stores. And like their shop-based colleagues, all head office staff must now wear a name badge.
“This is a radical step and I can’t emphasise our focus on people enough,” said Burr. “We have forgotten that in the past, and that’s where problems arose.”