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Title: Case Study

Overview of the General Human Resource Practices

Woolworths has done much in its attempt to develop human resource in the organisation. Such initiatives have led to the development of a competent workforce ready to face day to day challenges as far as performance is concerned. Employee development assists in sustenance and retention of an effective workforce. This therefore implies that, appropriate employee development programmes facilitate employee loyalty and commitment in the workplace hence increased productivity.

One of the key employee development practice employed by Woolworths, is internal employee promotion. This in effect, has served to significantly boost employee performance by enhancing their loyalty and commitment. Promoting from within also assists in motivating employees to do better. Because promotion enhances individual career growth, Woolworths is able to retain employees who hold high expectations as far as promotion is concerned. This also assures employees of permanent engagement with Woolworths because of the numerous existing pathways that facilitate career growth. Woolworths achieves effective internal promotion through development of new skills in individual employees regarding various fields in the workplace hence opening up opportunities for sustainable career development.

Another aspect of human resource development in Woolworths is its commitment in facilitating performance development. Woolworths ensures that each employee performance is reviewed in order to establish their potential and commitment to improve productivity. Salaried employees go through an effective performance evaluation program which involves setting periodic goals and objectives for each employee which needs to be achieved at the end of the period. This initiative enables the employees to stay focussed in the work place. Moreover, Woolworths has a short term incentive plan in place for employees who post exemplary performance as a motivator. Employees are therefore empowered to work harder in order to improve their skills and develop their careers in Woolworths.

Training and development is also an impetus as far as empowerment of employees is concerned at Woolworths. The employees go through thorough learning activities which are aimed at increasing their capacities to handle more challenging tasks in the face of changing economic conditions. Training programs are carried out for new employees in order to enable them carry on with their responsibilities efficiently and effectively. Moreover, leadership training programs for managers are conducted in order to equip them with new management skills that will enable them to handle challenges occasioned by the diversity of the workforce and the changing business environment in terms of economy and technology.

Woolworths has in place compliance training programmes for employees. This program enables the employees to adhere to safety and ethical requirements in their service delivery. Graduate training programs are also available for employees to widen the scope of their skills and ultimately take up positions of responsibility at Woolworths. This therefore, explains why Woolworths has invested a lot of money in the training and development of employees. Mentoring and networking are some of the initiatives taken by Woolworths in order to facilitate development of competent, objective and proactive employees in their workforce. This is also one of the effective succession plans out in place by Woolworths.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Human Resource Management Practices

One of the human resource strategy employed by Woolworths, is its ongoing commitment to diversity and equal opportunity for all. This aims at creating a work environment where each employee is treated with respect and dignity. Woolworths therefore, prioritises actions that are geared towards sustaining diversity and equal opportunity. Managing diversity therefore is a responsibility that is owned by Woolworths. It is worth noting that indeed, Woolworths has gone an extra mile in realizing diversity and equal opportunity for all people in the society. Woolworths has indigenous Australians, people with disability and mature-aged people in its workforce. To crown it all, Woolworths has demonstrated this commitment by having in place a diversity manager. Gender balance is a factor considered by Woolworths since its workforce comprises of 55% women. This commitment to embrace diversity and equal opportunity creates a competitive advantage for Woolworths in terms of positive public image and goodwill hence sustainable growth.

Freedom of association and union engagement is also a human resource practice associated with Woolworths. The management has fostered positive working relationships with unions. Collective bargaining agreements cover over 86% of Woolworth’s workforce. This has enabled Woolworths to attract adequate and competent workforce as a result of favourable human resource practices existing in the organization. Effective and communications with unions form the core objective of such partnerships.

Health and wellbeing of employees is also a crucial aspect in Woolworths’ human resource management objectives. Helpful programs have been initiated in order to ensure that the health and wellbeing of the employees is prioritized. Weight watchers have been installed for purposes of enabling employees to establish their state of health. A flu vaccination for employees has also been done to ensure continuous productivity of workers. Wellness rooms have been established in Woolworths’ stores in order to enhance the health and fitness of the employees with lunch hour programs in place.

Proper remuneration is also an important aspect that is effectively handled by Woolworths’ human resource management. The remuneration program is attractive as it comprises of a basic salary and a variable remuneration based on performance. Short term incentive plans are available for managers. Long term incentive plans are also available for managers who play a critical role in the long term growth of the organization. Accesses to Woolworths Employee Credit Union, staff discount card and discounted private health insurance are some of the benefits employees get. This helps to attract and retain employees while at the same time supporting a culture of performance.

Safety and health of employees is also a major concern of Woolworths. The safety and health of employees, customers, contractors and the community is effectively addressed. Woolworths has taken employee safety personal and that environmental safety remains a priority. Moreover, the injury frequency rate has significantly reduced at Woolworths.

However, some of the human resource practices at Woolworths have led to high labour turnover. Such practices include the recruitment of part-time students who eventually leave the organization upon graduation. Recruitment of mature-aged workers means that costs associated with ageing illnesses will be incurred by Woolworths hence leading to unnecessary costs. Ageing workers also have low productivity levels in the workplace as compared to vibrant and energetic youth. The high rate of labour turnover will ultimately have negative implications on the performance of the organization. This is because a lot of time and resources are used in the development of the employees who eventually leave the organization. This therefore implies that, unnecessary costs will be incurred in developing new employees that consequently join Woolworths.

Recommendations for Woolworths

In order to step up its human resource management practices, Woolworths should endeavour to forecast the supply of labour so as to harness the most appropriate workforce. Stock taking of employees should always be taken in order to compare the overall performance of the firm to the size of the workforce maintained. This will ensure that Woolworths strikes a favourable balance between performance and the workforce size hence cutting on overheads. Human resource practices should be reviewed regularly upon implementation in order to evaluate their effectiveness. I due course, the human resource management of Woolworths will be able to effectively accommodate the diversities in the workforce as far as employees with disabilities are concerned.


Sims, R. (2006). Human Resource Development: Today and Tomorrow. Charlotte: IAP.

Woolworths Limited, Corporate Responsibility Report, 2009.