What does people strategy look like at high-performing firms?


We explore three firms excelling in delivering exceptional HR to the masses...

Words by Kieran Howells|Design by Jonathan Balallo

 
 

ASDA


Despite a failed takeover by Sainsbury’s, ASDA still increased its profit by over nine per cent during 2019. This business growth is underpinned by an adaptive people strategy. Hayley Tatum, Senior Vice President of people and Stores, stated numerous times that the company’s people team is constantly assessing and adjusting its policies to remain an effective service for ASDA’s employees.

She adds that one of the key tasks that HR has tackled is measuring its employee to consumer ratio, to ensure that all staff are able to invest in their role without being bombarded with demands. This, Tatum explains, aides in employee retention, which is also something the team focuses on heavily.

She also celebrates diversity, recently telling the CIPD: “At ASDA we’ve got more than five generations under one roof. We were celebrating a gentleman’s 90th birthday the other day; he works for us 12 hours a week. The best part of the whole story is he has 10 years’ service, so he was 80 when he joined us. What he might need and his needs as a colleague versus someone on our graduate scheme might be quite different, so it is very important to me that I’m engaging with the colleague on an individual basis and not broad brushing. On some things we might all be the same, but on others we might not be.”

 

Coca-Cola


Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) company is as broad as it is prolific. The drink that made its fame is still one of the most popular sodas on the planet, yet the brand owns far more than just Coke. In fact, it has a 42.8% share of the global carbonated beverage market. Unsurprisingly, it takes 62,600 employees worldwide to keep it in operation. And, a global team requires a global HR strategy. The success of this strategy, according to ex-CEO Muhtar Kent, is due to the combination of HR analytics and in-depth business data.

It was under Kent in 2010 that Coca-Cola started consciously investing in HR analytics with the production of a new team spanning eight different countries. They started slow, by concentrating on rooting the analytics at the heart of the company and imparting credibility on its systems, and built up the power of automating burocratic processes to alleviate pressure on its people-focussed HR practitioners. The brand states that this sped up the time taken to run these processes by 70%.

 
 
 

Enterprise Rent-A-Car


A car engine must utilise all of its parts to achieve its goal. This is also the case for HR – specifically the people-centric practices of Enterprise, led in Europe by HR Director Donna Miller. In the case of Enterprise gathering and interpreting workforce data translates not just to influencing HR policies, but also to its talent management strategy. The brand utilises the data to aide it in the operation of its internal talent system, which has resulted in the vast majority of operational prometons coming from within.

Miller tells HR Grapevine that the effectiveness of these HR policies are due to their alignment with the overall business strategy. She says: “Enterprise’s HR policies are closely aligned to business strategy and supported throughout the boardroom. For example, our 'promote from within' policy sends a strong message of commitment to employees that they can grow, develop and have multiple careers with the company. It also makes good business sense as it enables Enterprise to retain the employees who have already been carefully assessed and trained, and who know our business, customers and values. This, in turn, builds a culture where employees are actively thinking about their next role and building the skills they need to succeed.”


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