Sainsbury’s rethinks people strategy in bid to turn business around

Sainsbury’s is implementing a series of new HR initiatives in an attempt to improve staff morale, as part of a £950m rescue plan.

The supermarket chain, unveiling the results of a three-month strategic review, admitted that low staff morale has been a major factor in its financial struggles of recent years.

“Sainsbury’s has highly committed [staff], but morale is low,” the review said.

The company announced a new bonus scheme, which “rewards all colleagues on store standards and availability” to help create a culture focused on support and customers. Staff suggestions and reward and recognition schemes have also been introduced.

The review confirmed weekend reports that Sainsbury’s would take on 3,000 extra store staff, with working hours “optimised to match customers’ requirements”.

Citing head office costs that were “significantly above” those of its rivals, Sainsbury’s revealed that 750 non-store jobs would be axed, in addition to the 750 cuts announced earlier this year.

Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, criticised the Business Transformation Programme, initiated by former chairman Peter Davis, for distracting the company from investing in and delivering what the customers wanted.

“In particular, the challenges this has presented have made it more difficult for our store [workers] to deliver an acceptable level of service to customers,” he said.

The shake-up, unveiled as Sainsbury admitted a 1.1 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in the 16 weeks to 9 October, is designed to boost sales by £2.5bn over the next three years.

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