Asda, the second largest UK supermarket chain and subsidiary of global giant Walmart, is set on an ambitious expansion plan creating more than 7,500 new jobs in 2011 through a combination of opening new stores, the continued expansion of its home shopping service, and its acquisition and conversion of Netto stores it acquired in 2010.
At the start of 2011 they partnered with Cirrus, a provider of leadership and strategic employee engagement programs, to co-create the Asda Leadership Event, a major leadership development program which is engaging 10,000 leaders and managers across the UK. The program is closely aligned to Asda’s strategy and core purpose and is developing future leadership skills.
Amanda Cox, Asda’s head of learning and development explains that "We are developing our leaders to really think ahead, to spot business opportunities and to act on them. In a retail environment, it’s important that we also focus on the everyday, practical implications of leadership. We are broadening skills, introducing thought leadership, and giving people really useful tools and materials to support them.
Future leadership at Asda is about keeping people at the heart of the business, helping us to challenge ourselves to lead every day in every situation, and having the vision to lead people to win. We have introduced a new leadership framework, and the Asda Leadership Event is closely linked to that."
The Asda Leadership Event will allow their leaders to learn how to use different leadership styles in different situations. "A lot of learning is done on the job at Asda so we are really building the coaching skills of our leaders so they can coach every day to help embed that learning and make it more effective” says Cox.
Following a series of launch events, the program will be rolled out across the organisation throughout 2011. The launch process uses a range of innovative techniques including specially designed activities and role-play to engage leaders and managers with Asda’s vision, purpose and values. Cirrus has also created a toolkit of activities to enable Asda leaders to deliver the leadership framework internally and embed learning across the organisation.
Cirrus managing partner Simon Hayward, comments: “Asda is a forward-thinking and people-focused organisation. They wanted a program which would become ingrained in the Asda culture, ensuring that everyday leadership behaviours make a big difference to performance.