Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was widely accepted that workplaces were crucial for efficiency, traditions, and productive output. Organizations competed fiercely for prime commercial space in metropolises worldwide, and many concentrated on collaborative solutions. Yet, for the majority of 2020 and 2021, human resources (HR) departments were in desperation mode, struggling to figure out how to enable workers to focus from home, attempting to provide additional psychosomatic assistance. As a result, they focused more than ever on C-level techniques for retaining their entities afloat (Zhiqiang et al., 2021). As the dust settles and businesses adapt to a changing normal, the function of human resources has shifted dramatically. This paper provides a case study of Tesco PLC Company’s human resource strategies amid the post-COVID-19 pandemic.
Corporations are constantly considering implementing novel working conditions, such as problem-solving groups, improved relationships with personnel, job protection, and training employees for various tasks. COVID-19’s present crisis has shifted organizations’ focus to re-engineering methodologies for high-risk surroundings (Zhiqiang et al., 2021). Enterprise has been mandated to develop and implement HR policies that facilitate staff to achieve their responsibilities effectively in an adverse work environment (Ahammad, 2017). Successful programs that encompass the total utilization of resources, particularly human resources, improve performance, outstanding quality, and organizational effectiveness.
How TESCO PLC Changed Its HR Practices
Strategic HR management is frequently associated with change, enhancing company effectiveness. It aims to illustrate that the human parts of a corporate strategy are as critical as the financial, advertising, and asset management aspects (Cooke, 2018). HR development principles highlight, among other things, how HR managers might attempt to create quality for their employees and their enterprises (Cooke, 2018). Additionally, these concepts stipulate how supervisors can acquire, improve, and sustain the talents their entities require presently and in the future (Cooke, 2018). As a result, Tesco discovered, motivated, and retained their staff who could operate in cross-cultural situations and aid companies in adjusting to changing corporate, social, economic, and political circumstances. Tesco used cross-cultural instruction (CCT) in this perspective, which was particularly significant. Good cultural awareness can improve acculturation to new contexts (Cooke, 2018). CCT can also strengthen supervisors’ talents and expertise and increase their aptitude to cope with transformations.
Tesco has influenced its laborers’ careers through their human resource management activities. Their hiring, selecting, retraining, promoting, appraising, maintaining, and terminating an employee all impact the worker’s career (Cooke, 2018). Tesco’s professional growth has three primary aims from the firm’s perspective: to satisfy the institution’s current and future human resource requirements in a routine fashion (Scott, 2018). Additionally, appraising the employees about possible career trajectories within the entity and incorporating with and fully utilizing other human resource initiatives make up the company’s career development goals.
Lastly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tesco saw most of its employees work from home, and others sent home due to the distraction of business operation by the pandemic. As a result, Tesco developed an internal personnel strategy that placed a higher premium on building an adequate internal taxonomy of value that replicated conventional career progression patterns than comparing against job markets (Scott, 2018). Thus, Tesco’s compensation plan was formed from both the organization’s business and human resource strategies. In addition, it considered the organization’s culture and significant environmental restrictions. Establishing a compensation methodology required Tesco’s awareness of the rewards alternatives available thus, they selected those that were internally coherent and helpful to other organizational initiatives.
Impact of Environmental Factors on Culture and HR Pan of the Firm
The human resource management function plays numerous functions in an institution, including serving as a strategist who incorporates business and human resource strategies, developing and strengthening business systems, and creating critical human resource services. Moreover, HR satisfies workforce requirements and increases company productivity and efficiency through change initiatives. Therefore, some external environmental elements that affect an organization’s culture and human resource plan are discussed below.
Modifications in Technology
Any advancement in science, and thus in technology, would enable establishing a more appropriate institutional culture. With this characteristic of improvements, entrepreneurial companies’ incomes will increase, likely increasing worker earnings (Singh et al., 2020). The proliferation of technological capabilities or innovative thinking in Tesco’s functions has helped the firm develop a more favorable image, increasing its revenue (Scott, 2018). Additionally, technological advancements have increased Tesco’s HR tasks such as shortlisting, hiring, education, training, observation, and wage and salary determination.
Activities of Unions
Union initiatives also shape corporations’ human resource administration strategies. Therefore, business entities should permit unions to operate within the bounds of union law. Unions also affect other industries by tying them together regarding employee compensation levels, working conditions, and wages (Verma, 2017). For instance, the 2018 labor dispute in the UK led to increased workdays lost among British firms, including Tesco, thus lowering their production rates and reducing annual profits for the year 2019 (Verma, 2017). In conjunction with this, unionized organizations utilize more formalized performance reviews and the findings of these assessments to determine training objectives.
Industry and Sector Features
Sectoral attributes can have a variety of effects on human resource strategy implementation. For example, production, commerce, advertising, construction, food, education, and health industries develop their human resource management systems. Additionally, these businesses rely on their human capital’s qualities, competencies, and competencies (Ibrahim et al., 2017). Therefore, businesses should act competitively, requiring them to examine their rivals’ human resource management strategies and policies while developing principles that govern practice. For instance, TESCO offers high wages and salaries; thus, it hires workers with higher talents and competencies. As a result, the company has created a culture of producing a high-quality food product, thus, giving a competitive edge among its competitors.
The Standard Causal Model of HRM and Value Creation at Tesco
The model depicts a causal chain beginning with the corporate strategy and concluding with better financial performance via human resource activities. Thus, the model demonstrates how aligning human resource activities with the company’s strategy increases business success. TESCO’s HR will have been productive because its approach is aligned with the organizational plan following the best-fit hypothesis (Gigliotti et al., 2019). Thus, the company’s human resource strategy follows the overall plan at Tesco. Tesco demonstrates this technique by introducing self-service workstations, banking operations, targeted direct sales, and discounts. Another clever technique adopted by the corporation was the development of an intelligent realm of store layouts and types focused on increasing client attractiveness.
These human resource management outcomes ultimately increase its internal effectiveness. Furthermore, these results improve financial performance in earnings, financial turnover, margin expansion, and return on investment (ROI) (Alshehhi et al., 2018). As a result, Tesco enjoys a strong position as a market leader in the online and offline divisions of food shopping (Scott, 2018). Two noteworthy links are the undifferentiated human resource management impact, demonstrating that specific human resource management methods directly resulted in Tesco’s increased internal performance. Tesco Plc conducts a human resource management assessment by examining numerous human personnel management aspects, including quality management, motivating, coaching, recruitment, and selection.
The model’s reversal of causation demonstrates that solid financial success can occasionally result in increased investment in human resource practices and improved human resource outcomes. Tesco Plc’s effective human resource management enables it to reduce competitive pressure, depending on its collaborative group’s capabilities, dedication, and enthusiasm. Nonetheless, in principle, this human resources framework illustrates how the human resource schedule is implemented and the influence of human resource management on internal company operations and financial results (Alshehhi et al., 2018). To put Tesco’s value chain analysis into context, it is critical to remember that Tesco has effectively produced a higher level of value than its main rivals. Additionally, the team can meet its cost-cutting objectives by assessing recruiting and allocating expenses to their corresponding gains. Finally, Tesco’s enormous faith in its employees’ knowledge will bolster the importance of this value chain support operation.
Storey’s 27 Point Difference between HRM and Personnel Management at Tesco
There are significant disparities in how human resource management is approached. Storey (2019) referred to these as hard and soft human resource management forms. The complex model focuses little attention on worker concerns; hence, any judgments about the success of human resource management would be made solely based on company performance metrics. Whereas soft HRM prioritizes organizational effectiveness, it is more likely to push for a complementary focus on worker welfare (Lee et al., 2018). Tesco has actively included human resources into its overall business objectives. Managers have been instructed to incorporate parts of human resources into their decision-making. Thus, this demonstrates a solid commitment to human resources by seeking approval from all staff and giving basic and prolonged training to all personnel.
Tesco’s strategic vision is addressed at a high level with all workers. Therefore, this enables each employee to comprehend its function and significance. Instruction has been increased throughout the company; all staff receives more training than previously. Thus, this is the outcome of the human resources department assuming a more tactical role. HR is not an executive process inside Tesco; they are aggressive and operate at its strategic layer (Employee Benefits, 2018). An enhancement in personnel management has characterized the increased emphasis on training. This approach demonstrates that sustained prosperity can only be achieved in the long run by training the laborers with the necessary abilities to perform their jobs.
Over the last decade, strategic human resource management has acquired legitimacy and appeal, particularly in its effects on company effectiveness. Each employee is viewed as a component of the broader strategy, and as such, they are educated on the significance of their position (Employee Benefits, 2018). This program is presented to incorporate all forms of knowledge and accommodate cultural diversity. According to Storey (2019), established organizations prioritize people’s concerns and incorporate them into their decision-making and management phases. Storey emphasizes that enterprises that get individuals’ perspectives right are more likely to survive in the future. Tesco takes this obligation significantly as the leading private company in the UK, as seen by their instruction and development activities (Employee Benefits, 2018). As a result, this has surpassed the country’s expectations for employee training and the transition to a knowledgeable society.
Tesco’s Job Design Strategies
Tesco’s job design methodologies incorporate job rotation techniques among its personnel. Job rotation is a term that refers to the process of reallocating workers between jobs to provide variety and relieve boredom by permitting them to carry out various tasks (Shujahat et al., 2020). When an operation ceases to be difficult, the personnel is transferred to another position at the same level that requires comparable skill sets. It alleviates tiredness and demotivation among employees by broadening their activities (Shujahat et al., 2020). Staff with a broader array of abilities enable the organization to be more adaptable when planning work, responding to alterations and recruitment.
Tesco’s management realizes the importance of having a job rotation, which is why they implement a variety of strategies to foster significant employee interactions and a high degree of employee participation. The firm has recognized the importance of using workforce diversity techniques to manage its employees, as the organization employs individuals of varying ages, genders, religions, backgrounds, and ethnicities. One of the ways the grocery behemoth motivates its staff is by recognizing and appreciating, and making them feel valued. Workers are treated as peers and with dignity and loyalty. In addition, the organization values teamwork and ensures that each individual is included in and appreciated during the decision-making exercise.
Workforce diversity has some disadvantages that center on higher training costs. Work is interrupted while reshuffled personnel adapt to the new organizational structure, demoralizing insightful and optimistic trainees seeking specific duties in their chosen domain (Shujahat et al., 2020). Tesco’s human resources professionals must face several obstacles that must be overcome to emerge as victors. As a result, human resource professionals must exhibit ethical and responsible conduct toward the company and coworkers. Human resource professionals have always maintained objectivity when dealing with such events and problems if an incident occurs. To reduce workforce frustrations due to job rotation techniques employed by the firm, human resource personnel listen to personnel issues to make more informed decisions about how to resolve the issues. Liaison and negotiation are two critical functions of human resource professionals at Tesco, and they must conduct themselves professionally at all times.
Hiring and Firing Strategies by Tesco during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Employers examine cost, assets, and the advantages of utilizing diverse resources while developing efficient hiring methods. Human resource departments devote numerous hours to establishing comprehensive onboarding mechanisms that effectively groom new workers (Jha et al., 2021). However, respectful termination techniques are critical in the recruiting process. Excellent hiring policies and the subsequent interaction take years to create and perfect but may be undone in a matter of seconds if the organization also follows effective dismissal practices.
Tesco has had vacancies due to the business expanding, employees resigning or retiring, or employees being promoted within the corporation. During the crisis, Tesco’s hiring strategies involved screening new candidates’ CVs, after which they were forwarded to an evaluation center for the second round (Jha et al., 2021). Therefore, this guarantees that the interviewee’s expertise level and company criteria are satisfied. Promoting and recruiting from within the organization is always desirable (Jha et al., 2021). It is accomplished through a yearly evaluation procedure that enables individuals to train and expand their technical prowess to progress up the ranks. Job descriptions articulate an employee’s requirements in a particular job role.
Consequently, Tesco’s firing strategies amid the pandemic were carried out as stipulated in their organizational policies and procedures. Lockdown created an unemployment problem, and logistics interruptions ultimately caused supply-side disruption in Tesco’s food supply chain. Additionally, it resulted in an abrupt increase in the demand-side of its food distribution network due to individuals’ panic buying and hoarding tendencies (Singh et al., 2021). Tesco used temporary laying off strategies amid the pandemic to cut off the cost of operations since most of its businesses were non-functional due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tesco began dismissing off the first wave of the 45,000 temporary employees it hired at the COVID-19 pandemic’s height (Singh et al., 2021, p.8). In one of its branches, 80 percent of freshly hired employees were given seven days’ notification over a week, and hundreds of other recently founded positions face redundancy as well. In the near term, lockdown represents a necessary option to halt the transmission of infection and focus on local dissemination rather than societal spread.
Corporate Examples of Firms using good HR Practices
FedEx Corporation is a firm that has a proven track record of achievement. FedEx thinks that its prosperity is contingent upon its personnel’s efficiency. The business learned that well-treated personnel is high performers, resulting in excellent organizational success. As a result, FedEx established and continues to apply its ‘People-Service-Profit’ concept in 1973, emphasizing adequate employee welfare (Rao, 2017, p.6). Worker effectiveness is determined annually through the business’s Survey-Feedback-Action, or SFA paradigm (Rao, 2017). Following the assessment, administration and employees convene to review the results, tackle issues, and determine how to remedy them.
Moreover, the Integer Group’s central emphasis is promotion and branding, and as such, the organization expects its employees to be very creative. According to Boudlaie et al. (2020), Integer’s human resources professional, satisfied staff keep customers happy. The organization aims to maintain a peaceful and efficient work environment by giving adequate vacation time, exciting resort vacations, sports events, and recognition (Boudlaie et al., 2020). Employee participation is appreciated, and regular meetings and breakout sessions enable idea exchange. One evident factor from the two companies discussed above is that they place premium focus on the satisfaction and welfare of employees for their success. Therefore, effective and successful human resource practices focus on meeting workers’ job requirements while at the same time engaging them in the institution’s necessary process.
Recommendations for Employers regarding HR Practices for Higher Organizational Performance
In this era of technology developments and continuous effective growth of innovations, the human worker is regarded as one of the most valuable company resources. Although robotics and innovation are displacing many labor-intensive occupations, human resources are a necessary component of growth and accountable for progress and its commercial ramifications. The following recommendations for human resource strategies will assist managers in increasing organizational performance and efficiency. First, connecting business strategies with the corporation’s domestic and foreign elements is critical to their efficiency. Evaluating how their existing approach matches with economic developments, such as external variables, and anticipating a good ROI, such as internal elements, in the case of training and growth expenses.
Second, by being aggressive, they can gain a competitive edge. Leaders that employ the best personnel management methods are best prepared and able to make the most of available chances to assist in operating their organizations (Expert Panel, 2020). In this way, taking a constructive rather than a directive approach demonstrates the consequences of tactical talent administration on business activities that underpin organizational capability growth. Thirdly, managers achieve results in their undertakings by determining what training is necessary and carrying it out effectively (Expert Panel, 2020). Career development must be carried out because of the influence on transformation management’s engagement in business operations.
Finally, they should implement numerous technologies to measure their workforce’s competencies. For example, annual evaluations and appraisals can be highly effective for analyzing the workforce’s competencies when completed continuously and appropriately (Al Mamun and Hasan, 2017). As a result, administrators should implement a pay-for-performance philosophy to increase worker efficiency. As a result, this may incentivize people to work harder, increasing their potential to respond to changes and advancements. Moreover, a well-designed human resource management strategy is critical for administering appropriate labor needed for effective technology installation and implementation. Managers should utilize analytics and research methods to decipher patterns and uncover unprecedented changes deviating from generalizations or intuitive forecasts.
The current COVID-19 situation has redirected corporations’ attention to re-designing approaches for high-risk environments. Organizations have been tasked with developing and implementing human resource policies that enable employees to carry out their obligations effectively in a hostile workplace. Strategic human resource management is frequently related to transformation, which improves an organization’s effectiveness. Its purpose is to demonstrate that the human component of a company strategy is just as vital as the monetary, promotional, and portfolio management components. Tesco’s HR operations have shaped the careers of its personnel. Tesco’s tactical strategy is communicated to all employees to a greater extent. As a result, each employee understands their role and relevance.
The individual worker is considered one of the most precious firm resources in the current era of technological advancements and the constant successful growth of technologies. Leaders who practice effective human management are better prepared and capitalize on available opportunities to assist in operating their organizations. By employing a proactive rather than an authoritarian mechanism, the repercussions of tactical talent management on commercial activities that support organizational ability building are demonstrated. As a result, managers must implement unique human resource methods that prioritize employees if they wish for their institution’s progress and growth.
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