Using a Big Picture approach to induct new staff into leading retail business

The Tesco Big Picture was an interactive, highly visual form of learning that uses discussion questions to guide participants through the illustration.

Key facts and figures

Business priorities: Employee onboarding
Sector: Retail
Lead contact: Head of Stores HR
Employees in the picture: 100,000 people
Locations: United Kingdom
Lead time to launch day: 4 months

“Because it is so interactive, The Big Picture has been an excellent tool for developing the initial relationships between managers and new staff.  It makes managers more approachable and also gives managers an insight into the new recruit’s personality and commitment to the job.”

Head of Stores HR

Our client’s challenge

At the time of working with Tesco, they had 100,000 employees in the UK working across nearly 700 stores. Tesco wanted to create a consistent way of inducting their new starters in to the business and give them a big picture overview of the business and how the employee’s role fitted into this.

They wanted everyone to feel welcome at Tesco and to introduce them to the Tesco Team. It was important to emphasise that the business wanted employees to enjoy their work and feel great about starting their career with Tesco, the biggest and best retailer in the country. It was also important to emphasise the desire to give employees lots of help, support and training so that they would quickly become confident about using their personality and skills to offer our customers 1st class service and keep Tesco as the Number 1 retailer.

Tesco wanted part of the induction to be a small group discussion that allowed the new starters to see the ‘big picture’ of the business and help them understand how their role fits in. It was also important that the participants had the chance to share their ideas and insights with fellow Tesco employees as they learnt about Tesco and what makes it successful.

In order to know where Tesco was going, it was also important to understand where they had come from, so the session needed to include the history and core purpose, the reason they are in business and how this drove all the elements of the Tesco ‘big picture’. Additionally it needed to look at the strategies for growth Tesco were pursuing and how the business measured itself against them.

Our solution and results

Initially, The Big Picture People worked with a Tesco development team to establish a detailed understanding of how the whole company operates and how each department and division supports the Tesco core purpose and values of the company.  This included the strategy and customer focus behind recent Tesco ventures including Tesco.com, financial services, the different store formats developed such as Tesco Extra, Tesco Express and Tesco Metro and the operational logistics of supplying stores. Gradually a picture of the business emerged. 

The Big Picture People created a graphical journey through the history of Tesco, its core purpose, values, business goals, financial aims, operations and marketing strategy and its commitment to customers.This provided a unique way to expand the knowledge of new employees in a relaxed and informal, small group discussion. The Big Picture was designed to promote discussion and for new employees to see and understand the many components of the business and operations. The Big Picture session was run within the first couple of weeks of employees joining the Company.

Feedback from the trainers and participants was excellent and managers find the format very easy to work with and had a tremendous amount of fun each time they ran an induction session.  The new recruits felt involved from day one and reported an early sense of ownership about Tesco and its core values meaning they came away from the session feeling valued and motivated.

The induction Big Picture is one of several used by Tesco to communicate organisational messages such as procedures and people management to other members of the organisation including distribution and head office staff.

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