Sainsbury’s supermarket is attempting to reduce turnover of new staff by
giving applicants a clearer picture of job roles.
HR director at Sainbury’s, Imelda Walsh, told delegates at a conference in
London last week that the company recognised its staff turnover was rising, and
that the problem was particularly acute among those with less than six months
"People were leaving because the jobs didn’t meet the
expectations," she said. "We needed to overhaul recruitment."
Sainsbury’s’ application packs now tell people what it is like to work for
the company. It shows the day-to-day realities, and uses existing staff to talk
about their roles. The pack also includes a questionnaire that people can use
to check if a job is right for them.
"It acts as a filter, and the number of suitable applicants has
increased," Walsh said.
She said early signs indicate the new system is working, especially at
lowering the staff turnover rate.
But, Walsh noted, retail has many recruitment problems to tackle, especially
as the sector grows and requires more staff.
"The resourcing challenge in retail is second to none," she said
at the IGD Race for Talent, adding that by 2005, an estimated 5.4 million
people will be working in the industry.
In London, one person in every 100 already works for Sainsbury’s, and
employment in the sector accounts for 17 per cent of all jobs in the UK.
Sainsbury’s is also trying to lower its graduate turnover rate by introducing
a fast-track programme where the top 10 per cent enter a specialised management