Why does it matter?

The professional and personal development of associates is crucial for the growth and prosperity of any business. Capable, qualified and supported associates help build a company’s competitive advantage.

What we are doing

We have always aimed to be a great place to work, fostering curiosity and initiative, for all our associates – who now number 370,000 around the world. To ensure Associate Development continues to receive the attention it deserves, we have made it a separate HR focus area. How will this help? For two reasons:

Our customers’ experience while shopping with us is directly related to how our people feel. Simply put, engaged, inspired and fulfilled associates enable a more positive customer experience. At the same time, offering a culture of learning and personal development will make us top of mind with young potentials.

We want associates to love what they do. To achieve that goal, we are making a major shift in how we measure performance, with more conversation and less administration.

More than ever, we will start from each person’s own aspirations: what is important to them, how can they develop and grow, and what career paths can they take.

Three key catalysts will help us get there:

  • A new leadership model that inspires and supports managers of all levels to lead by example, emphasizing five qualities:
    • Purpose
    • People
    • Performance
    • Change
    • Growth
  • Enhanced capabilities in, for example, IT, innovation, digital and sourcing negotiation skills
  • New associate learning programs that will focus more on future growth, and less on past performance.

In view of the merger, 2016 was a transition year for us. Rather than setting specific targets, we made great headway in shaping a new company culture where there will be more conversation and less administration. We are confident this will impact our survey’s engagement score.

For more details please see our reporting page.

Our focus

We are rethinking our performance management programs across the organization, and are prioritizing a learning matrix that empowers associates to direct and manage their own learning. We are creating a five-year matrix, which will roll out during 2017.

A maturity study revealed that we have many best practices throughout our brands that we can build on, to avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’. Dedicated learning managers will identify existing best practices, and inspire people across brands to build on them.

What did we do in 2016?

Read below how our brands are helping associates develop a clear sense of purpose, so they can love what they do and contribute to our long-term company success.