Supermarket giant Tesco has undertaken an accelerated leadership training
scheme in a bid to plug skills gaps.
Judith Nelson, Tesco’s UK stores HR director, told delegates that in the
early part of 2002 10 per cent of the chain’s shops were without a store
In response, Tesco decided to put 50 people through leadership training –
which normally takes a year – in just 12 weeks.
"We needed a radical approach because of our vacancies," she said.
"We had to find 50 people to start the course in six weeks, and needed a
robust assessment process to get the right people.
"We wanted people who would make great store managers and potentially
move up to become directors."
Tesco, supported by DDI, assessed 200 candidates at a half-day assessment
centre, and then put 47 successful applicants through a 12-week residential
programme at a cost of £1.5m.
The company is tracking the progress of the fast-tracked managers to see
whether the investment was worth it.
From an idea first presented at Easter 2002, Tesco managed to have the
managers in place by September, and reduced store-manager vacancies to single
However, Nelson said, they did made one mistake – not asking them to be
mobile. Some locations now have more trained managers than stores.
The danger of this, she said, is that those without stores may become bored
and move to the competition.