Carrefour Kuwait is a retail subsidiary of the Carrefour International Group founded in France. Carrefour international is the largest retail business in Europe and the second largest in the world after Walmart with sales of 108.629 billion Euros. It has businesses in 30 countries mainly in Europe, Asia, North Africa and South America. The retail chain was founded in 1959 by two partners Marcel Fournier and Dennis Defforey with the first outlet located in the Rhone-Alpes region in south eastern France. In 1963, they opened the first hypermarket in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois near France and over the years they have become the pioneers of the concept of hypermarkets. The retail chain has also extended its interests to other countries of the world with first international business in Brazil, Argentina and then to Asia in Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait in 2007 with the All avenues store thereby increasing customer base (Carrefourgroup.com 2007).
The company operates four formats of stores, that is, the hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and hard discount stores through acquisition of new stores, retail services and partnerships. In 2007, it operated 14,991 store worldwide and 3 billion checkout operations per year. The group is also committed to providing high quality products and safety to its customers as well as developing a sustainable and responsible business.
In order to retain their customers’ loyalty and gain new ones, the company understands that they need a professional workforce. This will be done by developing the right skills and offering advancement opportunities to all its employees. By the end of 2007, the company had 490,000 employees worldwide and more than 500 in Kuwait, engaged in 120 professional activities, 90% of which are in direct contact with the customers. Also many of the employees enter the company at their first time job. The company has developed a dynamic human resources policy with four major strategies one of them being a policy for training and development of its employees. Training and development policy at Carrefour Group is formulated at the headquarters by a board of trustees who sets priorities, allocates resources and support and is geared towards company goals and strategic plans. This board is comprised of top corporate managers. There are also regional trustee boards that evaluate their performance and provide information on the training needs of their geographical areas in order for the company to provide highest quality and value in employee training and development products.
Training policy of Carrefour Kuwait is the similar to that of the group though each subsidiary is supposed to implement the policy in its subsidiary. The group dedicates 3.8 million hours and 30 million euros to train employees worldwide. (Carrefourgroup.com 2007).
Methods of training
Today, companies have a wide variety of training methods, materials and media to use in crafting and delivering training initiatives to employees depending on objectives and cost. Training is the regular gaining of skills, rules, concepts or attitudes geared towards improving performance in one work environment or as new one. The success of the methods used depends on whether the method chosen is best suited for that purpose. A particular method or combination of methods may serve the purpose better than another.
Multiple methods and training aids are employed at Carrefour Group including on-the-job training, off-the-job training, apprentice programs, online training or (e- learning) as outlined in Carrefourgroup.com (2009) & Bhlander & Snell (2009).
This is the oldest method of training used and involves one-on-one instruction of a trainee by a supervisor or any other experienced staff. The supervisor explains and demonstrates various aspects of the job and then allows the trainee to practice and corrects him/her when he makes a mistake. This used in training of new employees and also in teaching new procedures or work methods to existing employees.
The group uses two methods of on-the-job training method: shadowing for its fresh recruits with no experience. In this the fresh recruit is attached to an experienced staff in the position being trained for and learns from him/her. Another method is the job rotation or secondment where the trainee assumes the roles of his job on a temporary basis. These are mainly organized at the subsidiary level though employees can be placed in locations outside the country.
In this method an employee attends external courses outside the company or work station. These are mainly in form of short courses organized by the company or outsiders, seminars, workshops or further learning modules.
In Carrefour these methods are mainly organized centrally at the headquarters. It has three learning centers in Belgium; Italy; and Columbia. The cashiers in Kuwait have already attended courses on how to deal with customers at the check-out counter. The Group has also established the Finance Management University with partners to train its employees in executive positions. The group as a whole has implemented a policy requiring a training module for its workforce, where two-thirds of the employees complete it each year. The company also offered the new programs for top managers each year in such as in leadership, development and running of a franchise network, customer orientation and strategy.
This is a method of training which combines both on-the-job training and relevant classroom instructions. This is given under the supervision of a professional in that trade. Trainee learns both the theoretical and practical features of a skilled occupation.
This is implemented at the headquarters in France, where 1500 apprentices are recruited on a two year apprenticeship of fresh graduates so as a contribution to a skilled and experienced labor force in countries where they conduct business. This is according to an agreement between the government of France and Carrefour Group which has been extended to the rest of the subsidiaries. The apprentices work for that duration alongside experienced employees so as to learn the procedures and particulars of these jobs. This is implemented in each country by partnering with the best schools and collages for recruitment of students to the apprentice program. This helps the company to identify and tap the best talent.
Online training (e-learning)
This is a computer based training method where learning software is installed at the work station computers. In this form of training employees apply what they learning from the program to their jobs as demand allows.
The company has developed a training site for shelf arrangement in Brazil, which was later introduced to other countries. Another online module is the one for making baguettes to help employees handle fresh products professionally. The company also developed an on demand e-learning project for the bakery and partnered with IBM to formalize it. All these programs are then introduce to the subsidiaries Carrefour Kuwait included.
Identification of training needs
This is done through a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) tool in Carrefour. TNA is a tool that identifies the gap between skills and knowledge the employees have and the ones the business needs. With the help of the TNA, the human resources department simply gathers information on areas the employees need in order to improve performance so as to meet the goals of the company. Carrefour gathers this information through customer feedback, observations made by the management, company meetings and inspections and surveys. Through surveys, employees identify the skills they have and the ones they need in order to improve their performance and develop in their careers with the aid of employee development plans. The training and development managers then discuss with the employees on how they will achieve the needs identified (Smith & Mazin 2004 & Carrefourgroup.com 2009).
Benefits of training and development to the company and to its employees
Training and development programs benefit both the employees and Carrefour Kuwait.
It builds technical skills and competencies of Carrefour Kuwait employees. This way they are empowered to tackle tasks confidently which makes them more effective.
Employee motivation as a result of training and development programs
Workers need to be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge in order to tackle tasks and therefore feel confident in what they do.
Employees are also able to realize personal goals in their career development
This is through promotions done after taking training programs such as “cap career” tool. 75 % of directors in Carrefour have been recruited through internal promotions by 2007 and 60% of managers recruited through internal promotions.
Customer satisfaction and loyalty
Training and development increases efficiency and professionalism of employees, which keeps the customers happy and loyal. When employees are trained and enough knowledge in their tasks and the technologies they are using provided, they are confident in serving customers well, fast and efficiently.
Good company image
Efficiency in services and professionalism of employees creates a good name and image of the company which in return gives Carrefour a competitive advantage over its competitors in Kuwait.
Adoption of new technologies
Carrefour is able to adopt new technologies and tools for improving products and services. Carrefour is for example make special products that are unique to it such as loaves which require special knowledge provided through the on demand online baking training to its new recruits.
Reduced employee turnover
This is as a result of increased job satisfaction and morale in employees. They are able to identify with the company and feel loyal towards it and therefore are not compelled to leave.
Training and development is a strategy for risk management
Employees are trained on issues such as sexual harassment, diversity and customer oriented services. This enables the employees to deal better with risks (Bhlander & Snell 2009, Smith & Mazin 2004 & Carrefourgroup.com 2007).
Similarities and differences in training and development practice and policy in Carrefour Kuwait and Tesco
Both Carrefour and Tesco use in-the-job and off-the-job training methods. Carrefour uses shandowing for new recruits and those considered for promotion or moving from one position to another. They also use secondments. Tesco on the other hand employs coaching of trainees by managers or colleague and mentoring of trainees by advisers in addition to the ones used by Carrefour.
They also employ off-the-job training for its employees but Carrefour group have already established training modules and training centers with partners in different countries where employees from the group are trained while in Tesco they attend courses in professional training organizations or taken through these courses by training staff at Tesco.
Both companies also recruit a big chunk of their top management form internal promotions. Last year alone Tesco appointed 2900 manager 85% of which were internal promotions. In 2007, 75% of appointments of top management in Carrefour were internal.
Carrefour, unlike Tesco have developed apprentice programs with partners for training of fresh graduates for two years in order to equip them with skills and experience before they are released to the labor market. E-learning is another practice that Carrefour uses in training its employees which Tesco is yet to implement.
Carrefour has a policy that requires all its employees to undertake training module each year and top managers to undergo training programs designed by the group each year. Tesco’s policy is different in that it gives one in every ten employees a chance to take part in training and development programs each year and the rest are put into the options program or the specialized program.
The process of recruitment for new managers outside Tesco is more organized and specified than in Carrefour. The training schedule for externally sourced managers is clearly organized from day one up to one year when he/she undergoes the process of induction and orientation while learning about Tesco and new skills. In Carrefour there is no formal process of inducting new recruits sourced from outside Carrefour.
Tesco’s leadership framework practice in identifying training and development needs of employees is also more detailed and formal than in Carrefour Kuwait, where the framework identifies the gap in skills and seeks to meet them. In Tesco however, the framework identifies employees with the potential to grow to leadership positions and orients the training accordingly something that lacks in the Carrefour policy (Carrefourgroup.com 2009 & Tesco.com).
Carrefour Kuwait is a retail subsidiary of the Carrefour International Group founded in France. The group is the second largest retailer in the world with 14,991 stores in 30 countries and about 490,000 employees engaged in 120 professional activities, 90% of which are in direct contact with the customers. The group operates four formats of stores, that is, the hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and hard discount stores developed through acquisition of new stores, retail services and partnerships. The Kuwait subsidiary at the All avenues was opened in 2007 with more than 500 employees who were highly trained. All this means a large customer base, which the group aims to make loyal by providing high quality products and safety to its customers as well as developing a sustainable and responsible business.
In order to do this the company has established a dynamic human resources policy with one of its four strategies in training and development of employees. They use methods such as shadowing, secondment and e-learning among others in training of their staff. The group benefits from this strategy by motivation of employees, good company name and image and efficiency and professionalism of workforce among others. The training and development is similar to that of Tesco in that most of their appointments are through internal promotions, they use of both in-the-job and of-the-job training methods and their requirement that employees enroll one of their training programs each year. The difference in practice and policy of training in Carrefour and Tesco are in framework of identifying training needs, methods of in-the-job training and the off-the-job training policy.
- Who is Carrefour Kuwait?
- How many employees does Carrefour Kuwait have? How are they recruited?
- What do you think about training and development of human resources?
- Does Carrefour Kuwait have a training and development of human resources policy? Explain the policy briefly
- What methods does Carrefour Kuwait use in training and development of employees? How are they implemented?
- How are the training needs identified?
- What benefits do the following have as a result of training and development of employees?
- Carrefour Kuwait
- Carrefour Kuwait customers
Bhlander, G.. W. & Snell, S 2009, Managing Human Resources, Cengage Learning. Carrefour.com 2009, The group and its employees. Web.
Carrefourgroup.com 2007, Sustainability report: Carrefour group building responsible relationships. Web.
Smith, S & Mazin, R 2004, The HR Guide: An indispensable Guide for managers and human resources professionals, New York, AMACOM Books.
Tesco.com, How Training and development support business growth. Web.