Our colleagues making the difference


Our colleagues making the difference

Great customer service differentiates us from our competitors. We aim to make customers’ lives easier by helping them to access the products and services that are right for them, whenever, wherever, and however they choose to shop with us.

Delivering great customer service

From being predominantly supermarket-based, more than one in twelve of our colleagues now works in our online operation and more than one in nine in our convenience stores. Our colleagues have demonstrated their ability to adapt to meet our customers’ changing shopping needs and we work hard to support them.

Since we opened our new training college in Brixton last March, we have run 360 courses in management skills, coaching and operations attended by over 3,600 colleagues. To support the growth of our general merchandise and clothing businesses, over 2,500 colleagues have been trained in visual merchandising techniques. Since opening our seven Food Colleges, over 33,000 colleagues working on our fresh food counters and in our bakeries and cafes have received City & Guilds-accredited training. This equips them with the skills and product knowledge to serve our customers better. We also launched two new apprenticeship programmes designed to upskill colleagues working on our fish counters and in our in-store bakeries. We won the Training Initiative of the Year Award at the Retail Industry Awards for a programme designed to improve operational outcomes and customer experience.

We restructured the way we work at our store support centres ensuring we have the right talent in the right locations to serve our customers well into the future. Making these efficiencies reduced the number of roles at our store support centres by 500 and those colleagues were either re-deployed or left the business by the end of the financial year. We also announced a restructure of our stores in April 2015 to improve efficiency and customer service, which we expect to result in around 800 fewer roles. In addition we also created 480 specialist roles in London and Coventry, strengthening our in-house digital and technology capabilities. 

We have invested in the right tools for the job to help colleagues work effectively together wherever they are located in our business. We recently introduced Yammer which allows colleagues to share best practice, get questions answered in real time and, importantly, to communicate and celebrate success. Future investments in technology include a new Colleague Portal launching in the summer that will make communicating more efficient, and we are trialling tablets for store managers, allowing them to spend more time with customers and colleagues on the sales floor. 

We monitor the progress we are making in enabling our colleagues to be the best they can be in delivering great customer service. Our Mystery Shopper programme measures service levels in each store every fortnight and our stores continue to perform strongly year-on-year. We also measure product availability and in this financial year, 17 of our stores have won the Grocer 33 award for service and availability.

Our values

Our values guide us in everything we do - from key decisions to day-today activities.

Farmer with Combine Harvester

Our Sustainability plan

Our Sustainability Plan shows our journey addressing the challenges and opportunities not only relevant to our business but also to the world.

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