Battle of store brands starts on the shopfloor

If you ever needed an example of how HR drives competitive edge, then
supermarkets are it. Companies like Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s are among the
UK’s biggest employers – in fact Tesco is the biggest employer in the private
sector. The boards and HR teams at supermarkets understand that winning
customers from rivals and keeping them loyal depends not so much on what is on
the shelves, but on customer service and brand. In other words, this is a
sector where it is crystal clear that you can only win through your people.

This fact has led the top players in the sector to develop innovative
approaches in every area of HR – from recruitment and retention to training and
performance management (Sector Watch, p27). They have also looked critically at
how they structure their HR function and launched an impressive range of
initiatives to develop talent, exploit flexible work arrangements and motivate

HR people in other sectors could learn a lot from benchmarking themselves
against supermarkets – so get reading.

Tupe u-turn bad news for public services

Why has the Government apparently changed its mind about including pensions
in Tupe regulations? (News, p1) Ministers are already under fire from unions
and public sector managers over the so-called two-tier workforce, brought about
by unscrupulous private contractors who take on new staff on inferior pay and
conditions to those who have transferred from the public sector.

This week local government HR group Socpo condemned the u-turn, and for good
reason. Anything which threatens to undermine the morale of public sector staff
is bad news for public services and will weaken the HR reforms the Government
is trying to drive through. We can only hope the review, if and when it
arrives, has a credible solution.

By Noel O’Reilly

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