Belfast Telegraph

Asda means business with its staff development ethos

Staff at one of Asda’s retail academies
Staff at one of Asda’s retail academies
Jennifer Cruickshank and Ian Henryof Henry Brothers being presented with last year’s Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility award by ASDA NI corporate affairs manager Joe McDonald

By Staff Reporter

With 17 busy superstores and a workforce of around 4,000, Asda is widely recognised as an established part of Northern Ireland's economic and community framework.

Joe McDonald, corporate affairs manager at Asda NI, said: "As one of the largest employers in Northern Ireland, Asda continues to support and encourage colleagues through career development, award-winning apprenticeship schemes, and bespoke management training."

Joe is delighted the company is sponsoring the Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership category at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank.

The award winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony in Belfast's Crowne Plaza Hotel tomorrow night.

With the advent of online shopping and ongoing changes to customer needs, Asda operates in an increasingly dynamic retail world.

Joe said: "Our core people values, which include respect for the individual and striving for excellence, remain the same, but our business must adapt rapidly to keep pace in one of the most competitive sectors in the business world, and we will continue to develop our colleagues to bring them along with us.

"The process begins with great recruitment and Asda uniquely adopts an approach which we term: 'hire for attitude, train for skill'.

"This reflects our view that, when opportunities arise, we seek to hire great colleagues and invest heavily to support their development, and this operates at all levels across the business."

Retail academies have always been at the heart of Asda's commitment to people development, with the academy at Antrim's store the flagship operation. Experts deliver training to colleagues across a wide range of retail skills. Each store also has a people manager who steers and guides colleagues towards further progression in their career.

"Building on the retail academy structure our approach to people development continues to evolve. Going forward, our academies and online resources will power our talent across the business, sharing ideas and learning so we can all be at our best every day," Joe added.

"An online learning map has been built to make it simple to understand what learning is available and this will be supported by an extensive online learning management system."

This will enable Asda colleagues to access training at any time and control their own learning at their own pace, enabling them to use it every day to build a bespoke and robust personal development plan.

"We are determined to give people a chance to prove their potential, develop their understanding and show their capabilities, regardless of background or work experience," he said.

Asda also partners with The Prince's Trust for its 'Get into Retail' scheme, which has meant permanent job opportunities for the previously unemployed.

Congratulating the shortlisted companies on reaching the final stage of the awards, Joe added: "These organisations recognise the importance of people development - nurturing employees and creating valuable opportunities for progression, which will ultimately deliver overall business improvement."