ASDA recently revealed that they are planning on rolling out a new business structure, which would ultimately lose 4000 manager roles. There’s always a massive fuss when a large organisation decides to ‘lose’ a bunch of employees and this time has been no exception. The only difference is that this time it’s managers that are getting the sack, so an even larger uproar was expected. There’s two ways to look at a business restructure that eliminates job roles.. The first is to realise that jobs will be lost and conclude that the organisation (in this case ASDA) is making a bad move. The second is to look into the reasons why they are making the changes and realise that the new customer-facing responsibilities that are being created are much more beneficial to a range of their stakeholders.
Whilst studying PR at university I have had the importance of corporate engagement drilled into every aspect of my studies, so when looking at this ASDA restructure I must say that it would seem ASDA has made a smart move. Yes, 4000 managerial roles have become obsolete, however new responsibilities have been given to shift leaders that will enhance the engagement and interaction with consumers on the shop floor. This minimises office roles and maximises stakeholder engagement.
So, what are the actual changes that ASDA are making? In short, 4100 department manager roles will be discarded, whilst 1500 new managerial roles will be created. This leaves 2600 managers with no job role left in the new structure who will be offered the role of section leader; a role that is typically a pay grade down from their current department role. As part of the plans an additional 3,500 new section leader jobs will be created, which Asda said would result in an additional 900 staff on the shop floor.
Chief executive Andy Clarke said: “These 20 [hotspot trial] stores are performing ahead of expectations. With these changes we’re putting more colleagues in front of customers.”
The whole aim of this new restructure is to generate more of a focus on the ‘click & collect’ service, which the section leaders will be responsible for. This is an attempt from ASDA to channel a better online shopping experience and expand further into online retailing.
From a PR perspective, this move could potentially lose faith from their employees but will benefit the rest of their stakeholders. Expanding into a digital approach is a great way to keep up with the consumers preferences as ‘IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is predicting that this year total online sales will rise by 17%’