We're investing in our colleagues who serve our customers every day
Hayley Tatum, Senior Vice President People at Asda, writes about how we’re investing in our people as part of our mission to be the most trusted retailer.
Last month we hosted our annual Year Beginning Meeting. It was an amazing event, made even more special this year because as well as all our Store Managers, the event was attended by colleagues from our shop floor.
It was the first time we’d hosted store colleagues at our Year Beginning Meeting and it was a really conscious decision to remind everyone attending that when it comes to delivering our mission to be ‘the most trusted retailer’, it’s those colleagues who serve our customers everyday who make the real difference.
The theme of the day was ‘being a customer-centric business’ and for me, there was a moment that really summed up the role our colleagues play in being customer-centric. In one session, a quote from Maya Angelou was shown. It said that, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
As a supermarket, however great we make our prices and products, it’s our colleagues who can have the biggest impact on how our customers feel when they shop with us. So whilst we’re investing in our products and prices, the vital third pillar of that trinity is investing in our people.
Our decision to offer a new contract to our colleagues has been long in the planning. We’ve known for a long while that we were behind the curve in our ways of working and that the various different contract types in operation in our stores were restrictive to ensuring our stores could have the right colleagues in the right place at the right time to serve our customers – as well as creating an uneven playing field for our colleagues.
Asking our colleagues to be more flexible in the way they work – being willing to work in different parts of their store, or working on a different day of the week – is the right thing to do for our customers. Imagine how it would make our customers feel about shopping with us to see colleagues appear at the checkouts on an unexpectedly busy afternoon, or to see more colleagues than usual in our produce and meat aisles on a sunny afternoon, replenishing the shelves to meet the demand for impromptu barbecues. That’s the difference our colleagues can make to a customers’ experience in our store. That’s what being customer-centric is about.
But the ask isn’t one way. This new contract will offer our colleagues a significant increase in their base rate of pay and is a genuine investment in rewarding and recognising the fantastic job they do serving our customers every day.
Every day I’m proud to work at Asda – but today is a really special day. We want our customers to know that they can trust Asda to have really special products and really amazing prices. Today is the day we show that they can also trust us to have really amazing service. And in my mind, that is a truly winning combination.