Asda to pay record staff bonus and increase training spend

Retail giant Asda is to pay out its largest bonus ever to staff on Friday, 13 February, and will invest more money in worker training, Personnel Today has learned.

The company’s new people director, Caroline Massingham, said it was important for Asda to keep its HR plan, which focuses on recruitment, training, motivation and retention, firmly in place throughout the downturn.

Massingham told Personnel Today: “We are committed to keeping our HR plan in place, we hire the best, invest in training and then motivate and retain staff with good incentives.

“We’ve had to hold our nerve [during the recession], we could have cut our training budget but we have decided to invest more this year.”

Details of the retailer’s largest bonus, which is to be sent out company-wide, are to be disclosed this week, though Massingham added that the pay-out was to recognise the commitment of staff. It is evidence that the firm is bucking the trend of cutting back on offering big benefits packages when conditions are tough.

Massingham said: “This is a bonus that is going out across the business, it is a big ‘thank-you’ to all employees.”

The retailer, which has more than 125,000 employees nationwide, also has a plan to recruit an extra 7,000 new employees across the country.

As part of its expansion project, Asda has a 2009 plan to open new stores in Bury St Edmonds and Chelmsley Wood, as well as build extensions in Falmouth and Bedminster.

Massingham has replaced former HR director David Smith on an interim basis. She has worked at ASDA for 16 years in a variety of roles, most recently at clothing brand George as retail people director.

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