Woolworth’s Human Resource Practices And Recruitment Guide

Human Resource Practices Of Woolworth

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Woolworths’ HR and Recruitment guide


Introduction:

Woolworths is the largest supermarket retail chain in Australia known for its massive presence and monopolistic influence in the Australian retail industry. The supermarket brand started its journey in 1924 and since then it has scaled colossal heights to redefine Australia’s retail industry and emerge as a market leader having immense monopolistic power and control. As per its official website, the Woolworths Group has 995 stories across Australia and serves around 29 million customers on average per week. Speaking of its human capital that is the backbone of its extensive presence in Australia, Woolworths has 115,000 employees that are employed across its supermarket stores, convenience stores, customer service departments, and distribution centers. With the inclusion of the stores of BigW, Endeavor Drinks, New Zealand Food, and the hotels held by the group, Woolworths has 3357 outlets in total. The aforementioned brands are subsidiaries of the group in addition to Australia Food that has 1052 stores. Across all these stores and partner brands, the Woolworths group has 215,000 employees. To shed light on the economic performance of Woolworths, as per its annual report for the year 2020, Woolworths reported revenue of 63675 million (2021).

Article Summary

This article is about Woolworths Group, which is the largest retail organization in Australia. In this article, the main focus is to define the human resource practices of Woolworths. Along with this, the roles and duties of human resources are also discussed in this article. The article provides the recruitment guide for Woolworths and some useful recommendations are also given in the context of HR practices.

The group has a strong organizational structure that is headed by Brad Banducci, the incumbent Chief Executive Officer of the group. The organization is committed to adding continuous value to its teams and communities and represents the same objectives in its core values. Besides that, integrity and care are also among the core values of the company. At present, the HR Department is led by Caryn Katsikogianis who is the Chief People Officer of Woolworths Group since 2016 holding more than 20 years of experience in HR roles.

Woolworths’ employees

As stated above, Woolworths has 115,000 team members working across stores at different locations in Australia. Moreover, in addition to the present extensive network of stores it has, Woolworths is also setting up micro-fulfillment centers in the proximity of its stores. For these centers, it will hire personal shoppers who will be responsible for picking online orders from supermarket shelves (Woolworths to gain at expense of Coles, says JPMorgan, 2021). Hence, it will generate far more employment under this plan and will further elaborate its employee base.

However, it is worth noting that in June 2020, the Woolworths Group became a victim to a wage scandal leading to underpayments worth $390 million because of which the group decided to lay off 1350 employees because of underpayments (Woolworths underpayments blow out to $390 million; 1350 jobs to go, 2021). On the other hand, Woolworths announced in March 2020 that it plans to hire 20000 new employees to meet the surge in the demand for essential goods and products during the times of the COVID-19 peak (Woolworths hiring 20,000 workers to cope with coronavirus buying demand, 2021).

Interestingly, Woolworths did well on financial parameters even in the times of the COVID-19 due to a high surge in the demand and purchase of essential items that people stocked for lockdowns and unprecedented situations. Also, Woolworths enhanced its digital presence and introduced click and collect services in alignment with COVID-19 protocols to retain and attract consumers with safe and contactless shopping experiences. Unlike other big firms, hence Woolworths did not face a situation where it had to lay off employees because of the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, it faced a certain shortage of staff amid hiked demands and hence formulated plans to hire more team members. It is also to be noted that in 2020, during COVID-19 shutdowns across Australia, the top executives at Woolworths took pay cuts for around 3 months to support employees and ensure that they get their salaries in such unprecedented and challenging times.

Woolworths human resource practices

Woolworths is a supermarket giant with a vast network of stores and millions of employees hence requiring centralized and streamlined human resource practices to get the best out of its human capital and drive high employee engagement. Human resource practices play a key role in influencing the successful running of such humongous business organizations. Woolworths has effectively maintained its HRM practices to keep its employees motivated in the organization. Also, there is a separate HR department in Woolworths that helps in regulating training programs at Woolworths and also aids in the promotion to its staff members. Following are some of the HRM policies and strategies of Woolworths:

  • Recruitment and selection:

    Woolworths recruits the best talent in the organization to ensure that each operational activity is performed in the best manner. Also, Woolworths ensures that fairness is maintained in each recruitment process. The company hires employees on the basis of their skills and competencies rather than their looks or personality. Further, Woolworths also provides online advertisements for its job vacancies to provide equal job opportunities to each candidate. Thus, it has been identified that Woolworths follows anti-discrimination laws and various equal employment opportunity laws to recruit the best and skilled staff at the workplace.

  • Merit-based recruitment:

    Woolworths also recruits its staff members on a merit basis i.e. on the basis of performance ability and skill base of a number of candidates. The minimum age for applying to various job roles at Woolworths is 15 years and the applicants can apply for multiple roles based on relevance. However, the recruitment is entirely based on merit.

  • Equal opportunities

    The top management of Woolworths strongly believes in equality and extending equal opportunities to all hence creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. Women constitute 54 percent of the workforce at Woolworths presently. To add, 42 percent of managers at Woolworths are women hence validating Woolworths’ commitment to giving an equal representation to women in leadership roles (Promoting gender equality - Woolworths Group, 2021).

  • Record keeping and confidentiality:

    Woolworths also maintains records of its staff members for future use. The company also ensures that all the records of employees are kept confidential. Thus, it has been identified that Woolworths maintains the privacy of its employee’s data.

  • Job management and employee selection:

    Woolworths provides all details of its employee selection under the “Job management” section. Also, most of the communication in Woolworths takes place through online communication channels. This helps in maintaining the frequent flow of information in an organization (Our recruitment process, 2019). Adding on, the company also keeps a close look at the organisational behaviour, which includes both the group and employee's performance. This is done to ensure that there is no communication gap left between the two.

  • Induction and Training:

    Woolworths also provides training to its staff members at frequent intervals to increase their skill base and to increase their working efficiency. Induction is also provided by Woolworths to its new employees to provide them information about the working processes of the organization and to increase their knowledge on the ways of working (Adams, Nyuur, Ellis & Debrah, 2017).

    In February 2021, Woolworths announced that it will be investing $ 50 million in the training and development of its employees to reskill them in relevance to the latest working trends. This investment has been allocated for the training and reskilling of employees over the next three years. The core focus of these training modules will be on automation, robotics and in-store theater given how technology is reshaping workplaces and supermarkets.

  • Managing performance of staff members:

    Woolworths has adopted various initiatives to manage the performance of its staff members. Regular performance analysis of employees helps in reducing gaps in employee performance. Also, compensation to employees is provided on the basis of their performance in an organization which helps Woolworths to enhance the performance outcomes of its staff members. Further, the talent management systems of Woolworths help in improving the performance of employees in the organization.

  • Employee benefits:

    Woolworths also provides a number of benefits to its staff members such as paid sick leaves, pension plans, life insurance, disability insurance, flexible working schedules, paid holidays, etc. to its staff members (Woolworths Benefits & Perks, 2019). To Add, as stated on the list of purposes and priorities by Woolworths for 2021, the company is determined to provide a better tomorrow for its team members and customers. Under this initiative, in the 2020 financial year, the group launched the Better Together Recognition Share Award under which more than 100,000 team members across Australia and New Zealand have ownership stakes in the company. Each full-time worker of Woolworths eligible for the award is likely to receive company shares up to $750 for their work performance, extraordinary efforts in the unprecedented times of COVID-19 and undying commitment. This is a progressive and highly effective system of rewards and recognition initiated by Woolworths.

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Woolworths’ HR roles and duties:

The human resource managers of Woolworths help in recruiting and staffing the best talent in the organization. The main role of the HR department of Woolworths is to maintain discipline and positive work culture in the organization. For this, it has adopted positive elements of culture to ensure the maintenance of a disciplined work environment. Moreover, it also ensures safe working environments for its team members. In fact, in times of the pandemic, Woolworths and its HR professionals exhibited great determination to provide a safe and disinfected working environment to its team members such that they are not at the additional risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection while working at the stores.

The HR department is also responsible to improve employee relations in the organization through the provision of best compensation packages and also through the provision of various training programs to employees. Following is the list of various roles and responsibilities of the HR department of Woolworths:

  • Management functions:

    Each departmental head is responsible to perform various management functions in order to improve the functioning of their department. The head of the HR department is also responsible to undertake various management functions such as planning, directing, organizing, and controlling. The Planning function of the HR manager includes the planning of various actions such as compensation packages, training, and career development programs, employee empowerment policies, induction and resignation policies of employees. The organizing function of the HR manager of Woolworths includes the development of various facilities to be provided to employees such as organizing training or safety programs for employees. HR manager is also responsible to direct its staff members about various policies and practices in the organization. HR manager at Woolworths is also responsible to direct the staff members about various tasks and roles in the organization. The main focus of HR managers is to increase the performance of their staff members. Further, all the facilities and functionalities developed for employees are controlled by the HR manager.

  • Recruitment, selection and orientation:

    HR manager plays a key role in recruiting, selecting, inducting staff members into the organization. The HR manager is also responsible to induce new staff members about the working fundamentals and policies of the organization. Woolworths HR manager is also responsible to provide detail on the job description and job roles of staff members hired in the organization.

  • Maintaining good working conditions:

    HR manager at Woolworths ensures that employees are provided with good working conditions. Woolworths ensures the safety of employees and the community by providing injury-free work operations and by maintaining sustainability in the organization. Along with this, the health and safety policies of Woolworths helps in preventing employees from various injuries and illnesses (Woolworths, 2019). The safety of employees became a top priority for the HR Department in COVID-19 times to which the company responded well and ensured that all COVID-19 protocols were in place at all times.

  • Employee relations:

    Woolworths also aims at maintaining effective relations with employees in the organization through the provision of various work facilities and through effective training programs to employees. This helps in developing strong relations with employees in the organization which further helps in strengthening employee motivation and satisfaction with various work policies (Bhattacharyya, 2017).

  • Performance and talent management practices:

    Woolworths helps in improving the performance of employees at the company through various performance management practices. Further, the HR manager at this retail company is also responsible for various talent management practices. Employees’ skills and talent are strengthened through regular training programs and through various career development opportunities.

  • Development of human resource policies:

    The HR manager of Woolworths is also responsible to develop various HR policies to improve the working of employees in the organization. Woolworths also develop various teamwork policies for employees. Along with this, the HR manager is also responsible to develop a code of conduct for the organization. The code of conduct for Woolworths includes provisions to avoid harassment and unlawful discrimination in the organization. The HR department of the company also ensures that conflicts or violence do not take place in the organization ("Code of Conduct", 2019).

  • Rewards and incentives:

    Developing rewards and incentives policies for employees is also one of the important duties of HR managers in the organization. Woolworths ensures that fair rewards are provided to employees in the organization to motivate the employees to provide effective services to customers in the organization.

Woolworths’ recruitment guide:

Woolworths provides an online recruitment facility to a number of candidates looking for employment. The online recruitment facility by Woolworths helps in complying with equal employment opportunity laws in the organization. Woolworths also ensures that employees are not discriminated against on any basis during the recruitment process. Further, Woolworths recruits its employees on the basis of merit and ensures that the best employees are selected in the organization. Also, Woolworths protects all the employee’s data gathered during the recruitment processes by maintaining the confidentiality of data.

Woolworths is an Australian organization and had been crucial to the Australian GDP as it counts for the major portion of the retail revenue and Due to its mammoth presence it is chosen by universities and students for their assignments in Australia. Thus whenever you are in need of Assignment Help Australia, Simply put an order and our assignment help experts will cater to your assignment's needs and will assure an HD grade. 

Woolworths employee engagement:

Employee engagement is paramount to every business organization as it determines the level of commitment, satisfaction, diligence and dedication that employees have for a company. In fact, as per Gallup, businesses with highly engaged teams prove to be 21 percent more profitable while low engagement can lead to major losses for businesses. Woolworths also engages its employees in various decision-making activities. Woolworths aims at creating motivation among its staff members by engaging them in various decision-making activities. The main aim of Woolworth in engaging employees in various decision-making activities is to retain the talented staff members in the organization. Employee engagement activities of Woolworths also help in improving knowledge sharing in an organization which further helps in effective decision making at the workplace. The various benefits extended by Woolworths to its employees play a vital role in sustaining high motivation and engagement levels in its employees. These benefits are illustrated in the subsequent section.

Employee benefits that Woolworths provides

As mentioned above, one of the latest employee benefits is that of the Better Together Recognition Share award under the system of rewards and recognition. Under this reward scheme, team members are awarded shares of the company as a reward for extraordinary and exemplary performances. Besides that too, Woolworths has a structured framework of team benefits that are extended to its valuable employees. A COVID-19 Support Hub has been set up for employees in COVID-19 times that offers immediate support to workers in case they contract the infection and also ensures overall safe working conditions to every team member.

Moving forward, Woolworths has a Wellness initiative in collaboration with I Am Here for its team members that offers assistance and guidance on Mental Wellbeing, Financial Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, Community Wellbeing. This portal also provides recognition ideas to the HR department of companies associated with it including Woolworths. In addition to these benefits there are valued benefits offered to team members that are inclusive of share purchase plans, flexible working options, purchase additional leaves, 25 year club membership and other fundamentals of service recognition. Also, Woolworths offers exclusive benefits to team members on the Everyday Rewards Plus program launched by the company. Hence, there are a host of effective benefits that the employees of Woolworths have access to hence inspiring greater motivation and zeal among them.

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Recommendations:

Despite the effective recruitment processes, Woolworths should take various measures to improve the employee motivation and satisfaction in organization. Following are some of the recommendations devised for HR activities at Woolworths:

  • Woolworths should regularly review the performance of employees and must develop differential reward systems for high and low performing employees in organization. 360-degree performance management feedback system should also be adopted at Woolworths. Along with this, Woolworths should regularly highlight the high performing employees to motivate other staff as well.
  • Open discussion and communication session should also be organized in organization to gain feedback of employees regarding various work practices and to develop measures to improve lagging areas.
  • Performance objectives and expected performance outcomes for employees should also be set up to provide employees with the detail on their expected performance level.
  • Woolworths should also regularly monitor the HR metrics i.e. cost per hiring and turnover rates of employees to analyze the employment trends at workplace.

Further readings

References

  • Woolworthsgroup.com.au. 2021. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 July 2021].
  • Australian Financial Review. 2021. Woolworths to gain at expense of Coles, says JPMorgan. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 July 2021].
  • Smh.com.au. 2021. Woolworths underpayments blow out to $390 million; 1350 jobs to go. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 July 2021].
  • SBS News. 2021. Woolworths hiring 20,000 workers to cope with coronavirus buying demand. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 July 2021].
  • Woolworthsgroup.com.au. 2021. Promoting gender equality - Woolworths Group. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 July 2021].
  • Adams, K., Nyuur, R., Ellis, F., & Debrah, Y. (2017). South African MNCs' HRM Systems and Practices at the Subsidiary Level: Insights From Subsidiaries in Ghana. Journal Of International Management, 23(2), 180-193. doi: 10.1016/j.intman.2016.07.001
  • Bhattacharyya, B. (2017). 5 Major Functions of Human Resource Management - Keka. Retrieved 28 December 2019, from https://www.keka.com/5-major-functions-human-resource-management
  • Code of Conduct. (2019). Retrieved 28 December 2019, from https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/icms_docs/183764_Code_of_Conduct.pdf
  • Our recruitment process. (2019). Our recruitment process - WOW Careers. Retrieved 28 December 2019, from https://www.wowcareers.com.au/page/Careers/Come_and_work_for_us/Our_recruitment_process/
  • Woolworths. (2019). Safety and Health Policy. Retrieved 28 December 2019, from https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/content/Document/Woolworths%20Group%20Safety%20and%20Health%20Policy%20v4%20-%20June%202016.pdf
  • Woolworths Benefits & Perks. (2019). Woolworths Benefits & Perks in South Africa | PayScale. Retrieved 28 December 2019, from https://www.payscale.com/research/ZA/Employer=Woolworths/Benefits
Article By:

John Jues

Holds a management degree from the University of California and has even served the university as a faculty for 5 years. Additionally, he disseminates his knowledge among students by ensuring the appropriate drafting process of their


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FAQ

What is human resource practices in the workplace?

The human resource practices in the workplace are practices adopted by the organization to lead and manage the organization staff. The main HR practices in the workplace include training of staff, recruitment and selection, motivation, recognition of employee benefits, employee incentives, etc.

What are HR principles and practices?

HRM is driven by various principles and practices which include processes to treat employees with justice, rewarding employees on basis of their handwork, ensuring worker health and safety, promoting job security, Team Spirit, Principle of an Incentive, fair remuneration, etc.

What are the steps to identifying human resources?

The steps that can be followed to identify Human resources include assessing the human resource capacity, forecasting HR requirements, supply forecasting, identifying HR gaps and integrating HR practices with the overall strategy.