Arab Open University
Faculty of Business Studies
Business Functions in Context II
B203B – Second semester 2018-19
Tutor Marked Assessment (TMA)
Recruitment and Selection at Tesco
Tesco is the biggest private sector employer in the UK. The company has more than 360,000 employees worldwide. In the UK, Tesco stores range from small local Tesco Express sites to large Tesco Extras and superstores. Around 86% of all sales are from the UK. Tesco also operates in 12 countries outside the UK, including China, Japan and Turkey. The company has recently opened stores in the United States. This international expansion is part of Tesco’s strategy to diversify and grow the business. In its non-UK operations Tesco builds on the strengths it has developed as market leader in the UK supermarket sector. However, it also caters for local needs. In Thailand, for example, customers are used to shopping in ‘wet markets’ where the produce is not packaged. Tesco uses this approach in its Bangkok store rather than offering pre-packaged goods as it would in UK stores. Tesco needs people across a wide range of both store-based and non-store jobs:
• In stores, it needs checkout staff, stock handlers, supervisors as well as many specialists, such as pharmacists and bakers.
• Its distribution depots require people skilled in stock management and logistics.
• Head office provides the infrastructure to run Tesco efficiently. Roles here include human resources, legal services, property management, marketing, accounting and information technology.
Tesco aims to ensure all roles work together to drive its business objectives. It needs to ensure it has the right number of people in the right jobs at the right time. To do this, it has a structured process for recruitment and selection to attract applicants for both managerial and operational roles.
Workforce planning is the process of analyzing an organisation’s likely future needs for people in terms of numbers, skills and locations. It allows the organization to plan how those needs can be met through recruitment and training. It is vital for a company like Tesco to plan ahead. Because the company is growing, Tesco needs to recruit on a regular basis for both the food and non-food parts of the business. Positions become available because:
• jobs are created as the company opens new stores in the UK and expands internationally
• vacancies arise as employees leave the company – when they retire or resign – or get promotion to other positions within Tesco
• new types of jobs can be created as the company changes its processes and technology.
Tesco uses a workforce planning table to establish the likely demand for new staff. This considers both managerial and non-managerial positions. In 2008/09, for example, Tesco calculates that to support its business growth there will be a demand for around 4,000 new managers. This planning process runs each year from the last week in February. There are quarterly reviews in May, August and November, so Tesco can adjust staffing levels and recruit where necessary. This allows Tesco sufficient time and flexibility to meet its demands for staff and allows the company to meet its strategic objectives, for example, to open new stores and maintain customer service standards.
Tesco seeks to fill many vacancies from within the company. It recognizes the importance of motivating its staff to progress their careers with the company. Tesco practices what it calls ‘talent planning’. This encourages people to work their way through and up the organization. Through an annual appraisal scheme, individuals can apply for ‘bigger’ jobs. Employees identify roles in which they would like to develop their careers with Tesco. Their manager sets out the technical skills, competencies and behaviors necessary for these roles, what training this will require and how long it will take the person to be ready to do the job. This helps Tesco to achieve its business objectives and employees to achieve their personal and career objectives. An important element in workforce planning is to have clear job descriptions and person specifications. A job description sets out:
• the title of the job
• to whom the job holder is responsible
• for whom the job holder is responsible
• a simple description of roles and responsibilities.
A person specification sets out the skills, characteristics and attributes that a person needs to do a particular job. Together, job descriptions and person specifications provide the basis for job advertisements. They help job applicants and post-holders to know what is expected of them. As they are sent to anyone applying for jobs, they should:
• contain enough information to attract suitable people
• act as a checking device to make sure that applicants with the right skills are chosen for interview
• set the targets and standards for job performance.
At Tesco these documents are combined:
Job descriptions and person specifications show how a job-holder fits into the Tesco business. They help Tesco to recruit the right people. They also provide a benchmark for each job in terms of responsibilities and skills. These help managers to assess if staff is carrying out jobs to the appropriate standards.
Skills and behaviors
Tesco’s purpose is to serve its customers. Its organisational structure has the customer at the top. Tesco needs people with the right skills at each level of this structure. There are six work levels within the organization. This gives a clear structure for managing and controlling the organization. Each level requires particular skills and behaviors.
• Work level 1 – frontline jobs working directly with customers. Various in-store tasks, such as filling shelves with stock. Requires the ability to work accurately and with enthusiasm and to interact well with others.
• Work level 2 – leading a team of employees who deal directly with customers. Requires the ability to manage resources, to set targets, to manage and motivate others.
• Work level 3 – running an operating unit. Requires management skills, including
planning, target setting and reporting.
• Work level 4 – supporting operating units and recommending strategic change. Requires good knowledge of the business, the skills to analyze information and to make decisions, and the ability to lead others.
• Work level 5 – responsible for the performance of Tesco as a whole. Requires the ability to lead and direct others, and to make major decisions.
• Work level 6 – creating the purpose, values and goals for Tesco plc. Responsibility for Tesco’s performance. Requires a good overview of retailing, and the ability to build a vision for the future and lead the whole organization.
Tesco has a seven-part framework that describes the key skills and behaviors for each job at every level in the company. This helps employees understand whether they have the right knowledge, skills or resources to carry out their roles.
Attracting and recruiting
Recruitment involves attracting the right standard of applicants to apply for vacancies. Tesco advertises jobs in different ways. The process varies depending on the job available. Tesco first looks at its internal Talent Plan to fill a vacancy. This is a process that lists current employees looking for a move, either at the same level or on promotion. If there are no suitable people in this Talent Plan or developing on the internal management development program, Options, Tesco advertises the post internally on its intranet for two weeks. For external recruitment, Tesco advertises vacancies via the Tesco website www.tesco-careers.com or through vacancy boards in stores. Applications are made online for managerial positions.
The chosen applicants have an interview followed by attendance at an assessment center for the final stage of the selection process. People interested in store-based jobs with Tesco can approach stores with their CV or register though Jobcentre Plus. The store prepares a waiting list of people applying in this way and calls them in as jobs become available.
For harder-to-fill or more specialist jobs, such as bakers and pharmacists, Tesco advertises externally:
• through its website and offline media
• through television and radio
• by placing advertisements on Google or in magazines such as The Appointment Journal.
Tesco will seek the most cost-effective way of attracting the right applicants. It is expensive to advertise on television and radio, and in some magazines, but sometimes this is necessary to ensure the right type of people get to learn about the vacancies. Tesco makes it easy for applicants to find out about available jobs and has a simple application process. By accessing the Tesco website, an applicant can find out about local jobs, management posts and head office positions. The website has an online application form for people to submit directly.
Selection involves choosing the most suitable people from those that apply for a vacancy, whilst keeping to employment laws and regulations. Screening candidates is a very important part of the selection process. This ensures that those selected for interview have the best fit with the job requirements.
In the first stages of screening, Tesco selectors will look carefully at each applicant’s curriculum vitae (CV). The CV summarizes the candidate’s education and job history to date. A well-written and positive CV helps Tesco to assess whether an applicant matches the person specification for the job. The company also provides a ‘job type match’ tool on its careers web page. People interested in working for Tesco can see where they might fit in before applying. The process Tesco uses to select external management candidates has several stages. A candidate who passes screening attends an assessment centre. The assessment centers take place in store and are run by managers. They help to provide consistency in the selection process. Applicants are given various exercises, including team-working activities or problem-solving exercises. These involve examples of problems they might have to deal with at work. Candidates approved by the internal assessment centers then have an interview. Line managers for the job on offer take part in the interview to make sure that the candidate fits the job requirements.
Workforce planning is vital if a business is to meet its future demands for staff. It allows a business time to train existing staff to take on new responsibilities and to recruit new staff to fill vacancies or to meet skill shortages. Tesco is a major international company with many job opportunities, including management, graduate, school leaver and apprentice posts. Tesco needs to have people with the right skills and behaviors to support its growth and development. Tesco has clear organisational structures, detailed job descriptions and person specifications. It provides user-friendly ways of applying for jobs and a consistent approach to recruitment and selection. This means it can manage its changing demand for staff.
(Adopted from www.businesscasestudies.co.uk)
Question 1 (500 words, 50 marks)
Analyze Tesco’s methods of attracting and recruiting candidates. Outline what you consider to be the main strengths and weaknesses of one of these methods.
Question 2 (500 words, 50 marks)
Evaluate the benefits for organizations like Tesco of using both interviews and assessment centers in the selection process.