Monday, 31 March 2008

Every Little Helps?

A friend of mine yesterday challenged me to find something good about Tesco's employee engagement policy. She (Lea, of the Unchained Guide) is fiercly anti-monopolies and as such not a fan of Tesco, however she wondered what someone who hadn't already formed strong opinions on the subject might think. Find Lea's original blog on the subject here. And my reply below.

I've never worked for Tesco, so like any relationship, I can only look at the one Tesco has with its employees from the outside and make guesses as to what it feels like to be in it...

I think its harsh to judge David Richardson for taking the opportunity to justify employee engagement spend when he sees it reflected in the bottom line. The quantative results of employee engagement can be hard to measure and if you have a direct correlation with sales performance that's going to leverage more cash from Mr CFO, I say go for it.

It seems to me on the plus side that Tesco have an exceptional commitment to Training & Development, available to anyone who wants it. If there ever was a glass ceiling there, they did away with it long ago. They also look to have excellent in-house comms and the structure in place to listen to their staff (and customers) as well as talk at them.

That said, its astonishing how much the Tesco recruitment site reads as if it was written for consumers, instead of prospective employees. Pretty much every sentance about employee welfare finishes with; 'because then you'll look after our customers'. Which isn't awful, its just very upfront about where Tesco's focus lies. In fact they even have a list of Stakeholders on their site and customers, not employees, are at the top of it.

The other thing that makes fascinating reading is the "Meet our People" section. All the employees biogs show them to be energised and motivated, but not one of them made any reference, even an obtuse one, to Every Little Helps. Almost without exception these people talk about fast promotions, professional achievements and the scope for them to go as far as their ambition will take them as fast as their ability can keep up. And there's nothing wrong with that at all. (In fact given the nature of Tesco's own expansion it makes perfect sense). Its just it makes me wonder if a single one of them actually buys into the brand.

Every little helps? What if I told you the slogan was: Tesco - MORE. FASTER. FOR EVERYONE.

Would you buy it?

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