Why ASDA cutting 4000 managers is a good thing

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.

ASDA restructureSo, 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%’




E-book in a day – Solent Success

On wednesday 26th March Solent university students took on the CIPR challenge of creating an engagement themed e-book in a day. The e-book will consist of different chapters that look into different areas of engagement within PR and evaluate how successful the engagement from the day was. The e-books aim is ‘to put the public back into public relations’. This is the first time that anything like this has been attempted and I am very proud to say that I was able to take part of it as a Solent student and become a co-author of the e-book.

A mixture of 2nd and 3rd year students got together on wednesday 26th March 2014 to work in teams that would be managed by a MA student on a mixture of courses. Each team were set to cover a chapter of the e-book each, which were made up of Networking, Crowdsourcing, Co-creation, Gamification, Curation, Visual Mashup, Face-to-face/Voice-to-voice, and Measurement & Evaluation. P2P PR is a new term created for the e-book that stands for Peer to Peer PR, highlighting the aim of generating engagement through all PR people.

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Solent University: Faculty of the Creative Industries

All of the students got the opportunity to pick which chapter they wanted to work on with consideration of what their key skills are. I chose to join the Visual Mashup chapter as I felt I could contribute my social media and networking skills and experience to the team. The goal of the Visual Mashup team was called ‘Life in a day of a PR person’, which meant that we needed a visual representation of what PR meant to people. The teams aim was to generate engagement with PR professionals, agencies, lecturers, and student through social media platforms, such as Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.



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Steve Waddington (CIPR president) giving an opening speech)

After an opening speech from Catherine Sweet and Stephen Waddington (CIPR president) an ice-breaker session started whilst the groups were joining together. From this we moved onto the delegation of roles within the team. Specific members of the team were assigned to manage certain social media platforms, such as I was delegated to work on the @ebookinaday Twitter account alongside Marta García-Urgelés. After each team member had been assigned a platform to manage we got started with generating engagement. Myself and Marta began tweeting PR professionals and agencies through a database of contacts that had been gathered through networking. To begin with we weren’t seeing anybody responding with a photo that sums up PR for them. We received a lot of new followers to the account as well as retweets and favourites but it wasn’t until about an hour in that we started to see agencies start to respond. Ketchum and MSL_Group responded with excellent contributions of their visual representations of PR to them. After these big-name agencies started to engage with the project we saw many others join in as well.

After we had generated an impressive amount of engagement through each social media platform, the team began to work on writing the content for the chapter of the e-book. We had roughly an hour to compile all of our findings from the day into a short chapter that was focused on Visual Mashup as a means of generating engagement. Here is a photo of team Visual Mashup:

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Visual Mashup team photo

The day was a great experience and I am very proud to have worked on such a unique opportunity for Solent students. Below is a video of Steve Waddingtons (CIPR president) conclusion speech with 3 useful tips for the students. (Please forgive the terrible recording quality due to snapping it on my phone)

After the busy day of creating the e-book, many students then participated in Meet The Professionals networking evening at the university. I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend this event and I managed to gain some useful contacts through networking, some of which will be great contacts for my dissertation research. Overall, the day was long and tiring but definitely a great experience and an opportunity I got because of Solent’s efforts towards integrating the students into the industry.