Carrefour is an international chain of hypermarkets with its head office in Levallois-Perret, France; it is the world largest hypermarket in sales volume. The company’s first branch was opened on June 3, 1957 in Annecy, France by Lars Olofsson and Amaury de Sèze. The Company has diversified its operation to the United Arabs Emirates through a joint venture with Majid Al Futtaim (MAF Group).
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In the UAE, the company is located at various strategic points with some of its management services like human resources offered centrally in the regional office in Dubai. Currently, the company has 11 hypermarkets and 2 supermarkets in the United Arabs Emirates. The company offers more than 3,000 non-food items; some of these items include cosmetics, furniture, electronics, office equipments, and kitchenware’s (Carrefour Official Website).
To effectively manage the multibillion stores, the company requires an orchestrate team. For an effective operation, Carrefour requires an optimal combination of physical and human resources. Well-trained and experienced work force is the greatest asset that an organization can have; it is through human resources that an organisation exists.
Great leaders or managers are credited for their ability to combine available strengths and weakness in their organisation to develop an orchestrate team. In Carrefour, the human resource department has the mandate of ensuring the company has, at all times, the right number and quality of personnel necessary to attain its corporate goals and objectives.
To have a winning team, the department with the assistance of other line and top managers has put on elaborate programs for hiring, training, retaining and redeployment of staffs. This paper discusses how Carrefour manages its human resources.
Carrefour overall HR strategies and practices
The retail industry is competitive and labour intensive, the industry requires people with different experiences, some semi-skilled and others experts in different areas. To remain competitive in the changing business environment, a company need to have an efficient working team that can meet the expectations at group level, which in turn translate for the wellbeing of the company.
The management has to define the destination of the organization and it is the employee to drive the entire firm to that destination. Carrefour being a French hypermarket requires to have an effective team so as it can outdo its competitors; it wide range of products need to be managed in an effective manner to ensure that there is plenty at any one-time.
Some of the company’s competitors are Wal-Mart and Tesco. Although the human resource department are given the mandate of managing human resources; there is close collaboration among different teams leaders in the company, the human resources mostly deals with factors that emanate from people on the ground devising of strategies that are responsive to the people needs.
The department is seen as the link between top management and people of the ground with the head of human resources sitting in the committee of executives and top managers.
To have the right number of people at any one time, the human resources department engages in a continuous planning process. Planning involves putting on measures to realize the needs of employees at a certain particular in time: this process is only effective with the assistance of departmental managers who feed the departments with the number and the experience they they have and what they need.
The main aim of human resources planning is to ensure that there is the right number of employees, at the right time, at the right place, and at the right cost. Human resources planning are a continuous process as long an organization is operating.
A number of human resource policies exist that the company has endeavoured to keep and respect; for instance, the human resources department has the role of ensuring that national and international laws have been respected when managing the human resources. On the other hand, the department makes sure that it has internal rules and regulations governing the operation of people in the organisation.
Internal rules define the relationship between the company and the employees and aims at developing healthy human resources relations that lead to general well being of the company. Carrefour understands that for an effective work to be done by teams, and then the employer and the employee must retain healthy contracts that are seen to be mutually beneficial.
Employees and employer have goals to meet thus there must be close coordination in this effect.. This gives the need for understanding expectations. In an ideal situation, the employer must understand what his employees expect from him or her and the employees must understand what their employer expects from them.
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The contract that exists is an exchange contract that an employer exchanges money (pay), benefits and employment security for employees’ loyalty, commitment and productivity.
To ensure that there is good operation in the company, the company has embarked on fulfilment of employees’ psychological contracts. In the fulfilment of these contracts, the company has focused on two psychological contracts they are transactional: they are based on economic terms with a close-minded approach. Each party of a contact in a transitional contact aims to fulfil his or her own financial gain.
Carrefour offers good salaries and rewards performance; it also expects the same form employees and thus it pegs its salaries on the performance of an employee. The next psychological contract that the Carrefour aims at fulfilling is the relational psychological contract; the focus of this approach is on socio-emotionally (non-economic returns).
It is a dynamic approach and nothing is seen as static but open-minded. In this approach, it is a complex one where the interests of both parties are put into consideration. The employee works to satisfy his employer and the employer understands the employee as a business partner who needs to be well compensated and satisfied with his job.
Here the employees work hard to meet targets set by the employer and the employer compensates them appropriately. Both parties look into the present and the future. The employee demands for employee’s loyalty and employees demand for a continued improvement of their status.
Carrefour not only offers a job to its employees but a career, it exposes its employees to challenges and rewards performers. In current business world, being innovative is a virtue that is going a long way in ensuring there is competitiveness in an industry; for employees to be innovative and invent better ways of handing situation as well of doing things, the company offers a conducive environment.
The environment encourages that employees should use their intellectual property for the benefit of the company; when they do so, they are rewarded accordingly.
The company’s human resources management frameworks are supported by it freelance organisational culture where employees can talk directly to management on certain issues of concern.
Human Resources Practices at Carrefour
An effective human resource management process starts with analysing of current employee’s capacity, the near future needs and the future needs of employees; with the figures in mind, an analysis of what the market can offer is conducted.
Carrefour HR department has the role of understanding labour market dynamics to ensure that it has made plans to guarantee every department that it will be having required human force. To ensure that it has attained this goal, the company engages in the following practices:
After realizing that there is human resource gap that need to be fulfilled, Carrefour human resources department gets into the market to fetch for the required talents and qualifications. There are different ways that the organization uses to get the attention of the public in general, or a specific group in the society that they need some employees.
The internal human resources recruit junior employees however, for top managers and executives; the company outsources recruiting companies to conduct the task on their behalf.
Recruitment may from external or internal sources: internally the company advertises for posts through intranet and notice boards; there are also some positions that recruits are deployed directly. In recruitments adverts, the company give clear guidelines on the kind of a person that the organization is looking for; their qualifications and the responsibilities are also well defined.
After applications have been received, the nest stage is for the company to sit down and shortlist candidates for interview. During this stage, integrity is highly observed to ensure that those people who do not meet minimum qualification are not short-listed.
Since the company is regarded as a good employer, in many instance posts are over-subscribed; human resource clerks have the role of sorting the applications with the supervision of head of human resources.
The day of interview is sent with the notification of successful short listing: the company has a panel-interviewing model where a candidate is scrutinized for talents, intellectualism, professionalism, integrity and creativity.
- Training and development
After the interview, human resources department has the mandate of informing the participants of their fate at the interview whether negative or positive. Successful candidate/candidate has to be integrated into the new environment. This integration is meant to ensure that the employee understands the organizational structure and culture.
This goes far from the most common inauguration stage to introducing the new entrants to departments they have been posted into personally. Human resources make sure that employee is comfortable in the new environment before serious business is started.
After the employee has started performing his duties, the management should have a good way to appraise the employee and realize the areas of his/her weakness and adequate measures taken. The management should ensure that the employee is well motivated; highly motivated employees are more productive.
After joining the organisation, an employee is kept under probation period for a period of six months; it is in this period that intensive training on the area of future specialization takes place. When working alongside other employees, the employee is given more attention by supervisors to ensure that his practical capabilities and weakness are understood for better blending in the company.
In some circumstances, the company may feel that the capabilities of the new employee does not fit the requirement of the company and thus recommend for dismissal; Carrefour human resource management only dismisses a person after report from immediate supervisor on the performance of the employee. The employee on the other gets a chance to gauge his potential and make decision whether to terminate the contract or not.
Motivation is the drive an individual has; it makes him persevere to attain set goals either in life or in an organization. People have different personalities and so different things motivate them. One motivator is not static but changes with among others age, economic status and social status; Carrefour understands the need to have a motivated work force, it thus has enacted internal rules and legislations that motivate employees. Ability is facilitated through learning and experience; motivation is attained after putting into consideration all factors that can make employees enthusiastic and vigil in their works.
One of the major world motivator is money, the company has good packages for their employees; they ensure that their wage rate is above the market rate so as they can motivate existing staffs and become competitive in the industry. Other than financial packages, the company has other staff benefits like medical schemes, education schemes, retirement benefit schemes and leadership succession strategies.
The company has also embarked on improvement of its operating environment; staffs are offered some basic needs like breakfast and afternoon snacks. It has also allowed the organisation to have an internal employee’s organisation and a Sacco.
- Promotions and compensation
One of the ways that the company uses to motivate employees is the use of promotion as a tool of motivation; employees are expected to fulfil some obligations; with the attainment of these objectives, an employee is rewarded differently.
Those employees who work excellently and have the capability are given a direct promotion to higher positions. Another way that the company promotes is while an employee has added his expertise; they consider additional education and give promotions where it is due.
Carrefour wage rate is higher than the market rate; the wage rate includes monthly packages, annual leave payments, maternity leave payments, per-de-elms, holiday packages among other. Other than, the wage rate being higher, the company pay on time and in any case, if the pay date falls on a weekend or holiday, the company pays the previous weekday.
During festive season, the company pays some days later to ensure that employees enjoy their pay in the festive season. Another practice associated by compensation and motivation is the operation of a check-off system with some financial lenders to offer their employees unsecured loans at a fair rate of interest. It also has car and mortgage loans at subscribed rate to their employees.
After the employee has started meeting Carrefour expectations, the organization realizes that the employee also has his targets that he want met. To retain the employee, who at this point is an asset to the organization, the human resource department has developed measures to retain the employees; the policies set range from good packages to maintaining of good human relations. Another ways to retain the employees adopted by the company is to make the working environment as comfortable as possible.
Many are the times that human resources management hold meetings with their staffs to explain to them the expectations of the company and getting their views on the expectations.
Performance appraisal strategies in the organization
Employee’s performance need to be appraised regularly to ensure that they are on track with the organisational expectations and in case they have an area of deficit, the areas can be recognised for further training. Carrefour performance appraisal strategies consists of competitive moves and business approaches aimed at producing guiding reports to facilitate and improve performance; when appraising the employee is the main consideration; how well he or she has been able to contribute to the entire organisation.
The potential of employees that the organisation had seen when employing the particular employee need to be evaluated alongside the performance recorded. The employee is given a chance to evaluate the working condition that the employer has provided. It seeks to understand how an employee is able to meet all the above organisational expectations and if he does not it seeks to establish the reason why.
The company has a four-stage evaluation strategy; they are:
- Conventional Appraisals
After certain period, an employee is appraised by the immediate supervisor; the supervisor has a guidance sheet that he is supposed to fill some guiding questions about the employees and finally has to write his recommendations. The supervisors are supposed to comment on the performance of an employee and allocate a percentage of attendance to the expected or goals attained.
He is also supposed to note any special performance that the employee has had over a period. Generally, the manager appraises how well an employee is doing. Any area that the employee feels he needs some training is indicated.
During the appraisal period, which is mostly at the end of the year, an employee is given a guiding sheet where he is supposed to gauge his performance against some set parameters.
The employee is given a chance to give some details about performances that were below or beyond the expectations, if there is something that the employee feels need to be recognized in his performance, he is given a chance to indicate. Any area that the employee feels he needs some training is indicated.
- 3600 appraisals
Under this system, human resources department allows colleagues to gauge the performance of their peers; the appraisal may be specific to a certain person or may be general. The most important attributes that are looked at this appraisal is social skills and attitude of an employee.
- Final appraisal reports
With the three reports, a departments manager reviews them together with the supervisor and the employee; at this review, the employee self-performance is gauged with that of the manager and the differences are explained by either party. This stage aims at harmonizing the appraisal report and coming up with a final draft that should work as the appraisal report of the employee.
The report is used to develop, train and reward the employee in the next trading season. After the final report has been made, a confidential document goes to human resources department for recommendations implementation (Swanson and Elwood 56-123).
Recruiting, external Vs internal, in Carrefour
When the company is need of an employee, it has the freedom of recruiting internally, if there is the needed expertise, or externally. Whether getting employees internally or externally, the company emphasis on qualification and experience of the employee. Lets elaborate on the process independently:
Carrefour recruits internally either as a form of transfer amongst departments, promotion or normal recruitments. After certain position has occurred, the company aims at offering their internal staffs the first chance to apply for the posy; internally advertising for posts internally, the company uses the intranet and notice boards to give the information that there is a post vacant and needs filling.
In the advert, the duties, expectations, education and experience required is explained. Some positions are only available for a certain grade in the company or those people who have worked for the company for a certain period. All this information is given in the advert. After receiving of applications, the company them undergoes the normal vetting process to ensure they have given the post to the most appropriate person.
It is not always that the company’s human resources needs be fulfilled from the capacity that it has, again there are times that additional employees or people with a different experience are required; the time that the company recruits externally.
Posts are advertised in the local media, internet and in the company’s public notice board, the company employees internationally for some positions, thus it places some adverts in its website and others in international media.
When applications have been received, only those that reach before the deadline are considered for short listing. Shortlisted candidates then follow the right channel of recruitment to ensure that the right candidates are selected.
Incentive plans that exist and distinguish between the various plans
To have a robust and enthusiastic team, Carrefour has developed some incentive plans for their employees. An incentive plan is a combination of variable with the expected result as an increased enthusiasm and morale in once work.
Carrefour human resource department is mandated with this task of developing incentive programs, however, it spans more that human resources practice; the way an organization is structured, the kind of organization culture that an organization has, power distribution and employees relations are all variable of incentives. Use of incentives can be said to be an altruistic approach to respecting human dignity, but more are the benefits that accrue to an organization.
One system that the company operates as an incentive is flex-time policy; the policy is managed at departmental level where a manager is supposed to oversee that there are adequate employees at any one time but there is an employee enjoying some free time because he or she has done something pleasing the organisation.
For example the company has weekly department performance evaluation, to performers are given an allowance to report to duty one hour rate or leave an hour early; the policy increases competitiveness among staffs.
The company allows it employees to subscribe to corporate memberships and professional bodies, like accountants and lawyers associations. To some of these organisations, the company pays for annual subscriptions as a way of encouraging the employees to sharpen their skills. For the benefit of its staff, the company accepts to be loan guarantor and operate a check off systems so as their employees can get loans at a rate lower than the market rate.
Another strategy that the company has adopted is team building and festive season greetings strategy: all year round, every employee is expected to have gone for a team building exercise mostly with his or her department to an area of luxury. During festive seasons, like Christmas and Ramadan, the company offers employees shopping vouchers so as they can celebrate the season with their family members and friends.
From a psychological point of view, the company encourages managers to interact feely with their juniors, they may have sporting competitions, have lunch together or perform different duties together. When a member of staff has been faced by a social phenomenon good or bad, for example death, sickness or birth of newborn, there is a kitty by the management that is passed to the person affected (Smith and Mazin, 12–45)
An organization requires physical and human resources for its operations; the success of Carrefour hypermarket chains in the United Arabs Emirates has been attributed to effective human resources management strategies adopted by the company.
The human resource department blends its human capital effectively so that the company can tap their intellectual capabilities; it creates an environment with challenges good enough to trigger innovation, creativity and invention.
The company’s human resources department is given the mandate of ensuring that adequate employees are available at all times. It has the mandate of planning, deploying, employing, training, retaining, and dismissal of employees; it also has adopted motivational and incentives strategies to make the working conditions in the company favourable.
Carrefour human resource department looks into quantitative and qualitative aspects of the company’s human capital and ensures that both economical, social, and psychological needs of staffs are met effectively.
Carrefour Official Website. Carrefour UAE. 2011.Web.
Smith, Shawn, and Mazin, Rebecca. The HR answer book: an indispensable guide for managers and human resources professionals. New York: Amacom Div American Mgmt Assn, 2004.Print.
Swanson, Richard, and Elwood Holton. Foundations of Human Resource Development: Easy read Large Edition. San Franscico: Read How You Want Press, 2009. Print.