Strategic Human Resource Management Essay Example

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Strategic Human Resource Management

  • Overview of Context and Industry

Supermarkets operate in the retail and grocery industry. The supermarket industry offers numerous products including beverages, fresh vegetables and fruits, meat products, dry and packaged products, bread and bakery products, milk and dairy products, health, and toiletries. These products are similar meaning competition or diversification of products is a challenge.

IBIS World (2017) estimates that the supermarkets and grocery stores in Australia revenue are estimated at $105 billion. The expected rate of growth between 2012 and 2017 is 4.2% while the number of employed individuals is more than 332,000.

The business is competitive and there are numerous players in the industry. Some of these players include Coles, IGA, Aldi and other smaller supermarkets. IBIS World (2017) points to the fierce completion forcing the industry operators to reduce the prices and accept lower margins to stay profitable. Furthermore, these supermarkets have continuously embraced private lable products while the price deflation would continue to eat the revenue.

The key external stakeholders include the government, the consumers, and the suppliers. The government formulates and implements legislations and policies that affect the integrity and continuity of the business. The consumers are required to acquire the products while the suppliers ensure quality products are supplied to the supermarkets.

Due to the extensive competition and reduction of revenues, the industry continues to introduce practices to address the dynamism (Biddle, 2016). Some of the strategies that supermarkets have incorporated into business operations include employing experienced workforce, attractive product presentation, and the ability to control stock. Furthermore, establishments are introducing discount private label products to obtain that competitive advantage.

  • Overview of the Organisation

Woolworths Supermarket is an Australian company that operates in the retail industry. Woolworths Limited was established in 1924 and it employs more than 111,000 employees (Woolworths, 2017). Woolworths operates more than 1,000 stores across Australia whereby 19 are convenience stores while 968 are supermarkets.

Woolworths Supermarkets collects products from the suppliers and wholesalers and repackages or breaks down to suit the requirements of consumers (Haskelberg et al. 2016). Therefore, Woolworths offers an array of products and services to the customers.

Woolworths Supermarkets offers products such as milk and dairy products, bread and bakery products, toiletries and other household related goods and products (Haskelberg et al. 2016). In addition, Woolworths Supermarket offers loyalty schemes such as subsidising petrol prices when an individual acquires from the store. In addition, the company offers rewards and credit card facilities.

Woolworth’s strategies to expand in the retail industry and to improve their respective position include building customer relationships and creating a “cultured” team targeting satisfaction of the customers. Woolworths also targets the food and drinks since they are the basis of most customers visiting the establishment (Woolworths, 2017). Further strategies targeting delivering shareholder value and employing a lean retailer strategy, which ensures the cost of production and management, are reduced (Haskelberg et al. 2016). Therefore, the focus is improving the quality of services, ensuring customers are satisfied and ensuring the cost of operation is manageable.

Organisational performance involves the actual output measured against the inputs. The organisational performance is categorised into financial performance, customer service, employee satisfaction, social responsibility, and performance improvement (Haskelberg et al. 2016). Woolworths has continuously created strategies, implemented the strategies resulting in an improvement in revenues (Haskelberg et al. 2016). However, all these processes relies on gathering data and using the data to inform on any strategies that may be implemented.

The following are some of the key problems facing the practice of SHRM in the Woolworths:

  1. High employee turnover – the increased employee turnover translates in training and development difficulties, time consumption during recruiting and employing new employees (Nestle, 2016).

  2. Workplace diversity to complete the different demographic backgrounds of the employees and customers resulting in advancing cohesiveness (Biddle, 2016).

  3. Address some common misconceptions such as no growth opportunities, low pay, non-full time jobs or benefits and long hours (Haskelberg et al. 2016). Therefore, the supermarkets should provide competitive benefits with other industries to ensure the supermarket based opportunities are suitable and encouraging.

  4. Incorporating seasonal demand such as the holiday seasons meaning aligning employees to meet the dynamism of the retail industry. It means that the supermarkets would be required to balance the amount of stock with the number of employees, and ensuring the employees are motivated to fulfil their respective roles and responsibilities.

  5. Lack of effective and responsive motivational avenues – the employees should have opportunities and modalities to ensure they get better benefits depending on the position and work expectations including promotions and other social benefits.


Biddle, I., 2016. The Wesfarmers/Woolworths duopoly war: The Bunnings vs. Masters battle. Busidate, 24(3), p.3.

Haskelberg, H., Neal, B., Dunford, E., Flood, V., Rangan, A., Thomas, B., Cleanthous, X., Trevena, H., Zheng, J.M., Louie, J.C.Y. and Gill, T., 2016. High variation in manufacturer-declared serving size of packaged discretionary foods in Australia. British Journal of Nutrition, 115(10), pp.1810-1818.

IBISWorld. (January, 2017). Supermarkets and Grocery Stores in Australia. Retrieved from

Nestle, M., 2016. Energy drink marketing, Australia style. Energy.

Woolworths. (2017). Homepage. Retrieved from