The Times' Business Case Studies - Harrods

LEVEL: UPPER INTERMEDIATE+

This exercise is designed to improve your Business English knowledge.

1) Read the article (check any difficult words/phrases)

2) Then complete the vocabulary exercise below

The Times

How does Harrods maintain its unique reputation?

harrods.png

Harrods of London is a British institution.  lt is
 probably the most well-known and respected
 retail store in the world. For 162 years, Harrods 
has built its unique reputation supported by its 
key brand values: British; Luxury; Innovation;
 Sensation; Service. Harrods employs 
approximately 5,000 people from 86 different 
nationalities who deal with up to 100,000
 customers a day at peak times.  Harrods needs 
employees who can face the challenges that its
 reputation and standards bring. It needs people
 who are looking for an exciting and rewarding 
long-term career with responsibility and prospects. Its challenge is to find (and retain) employees with the right mix of skills and abilities, who can be developed to become the managers of the future.

Employee retention is important for businesses. A low employee turnover can keep
 recruitment costs down. It also ensures a skilled and experienced workforce. Employee development is beneficial for both the employee and the business. However, sometimes employees think that their new-found skills will enable them to gain a better job elsewhere. Harrods, therefore, has put in place strategies to keep its talented retail managers. It has found that employees who develop within the company tend to stay. Those brought in from outside are more likely to leave. Another vital part of retention for Harrods involves identifying the DNA (key factors) of great sales people. It then matches applicants to these factors. To reduce employee turnover Harrods has developed a better management structure, improved benefits and created initiatives which make Harrods a great place to work. Harrods has put in place a system of rewards and incentives. These include:


·      an excellent package of employee benefits including good pay, employee discounts and a good working environment
.

·      commission and sales bonuses for individuals and teams
.

·      improved work schedules which help to give a better work-life balance.

Harrods stands out from its competitors by providing a wide variety of development opportunities for all employees. This means the business can recruit and retain good
 managers and maintain improvements in sales and business performance. Individuals self-esteem and motivation is raised. Once a year, managers talk to employees about their progress and ambitions during appraisals. Employees then identify their personal development targets. High Potential programmes are concerned with succession planning. They are aimed at ensuring there is a strong pipeline of potential senior managers. The Harrods Management Programme develops ambitious and career-focused employees into a management role. Jessica joined the company after graduating with a degree in Art History. After just 3 years she is now a Harrods Retail Manager. She runs the Designer Collection sales floor, managing 26 employees and controlling a substantial budget.

Harrods also has systems to improve employee communications so that it can listen to feedback and address any issues. There is an lnternal Communications department, regular performance assessment meetings and SMART targets for employees to reach. These initiatives have seen employee turnover fall from 51 A% in 2006 to 25% in November 2011.

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