Employee turnover measures the rate at which employees leave
their employer, usually over a one year time period. The statistics
indicated that Harrods needed to take action to improve employee
engagement and reduce its employee turnover. A high employee
turnover rate has significant cost and performance implications to
a business. These include the costs of recruitment, the loss of
expertise and the increased need for training new employees.
Following this investigation, Harrods carried out its first
comprehensive employee survey to find out what they thought
about working at Harrods. The employee survey has now become
an integral aspect of Harrods’ Human Resource Management
programme. The survey results were used to create strategic
plans for change focused on improving employee engagement
and trust. The four main elements were:
• Changing organisational structure. Senior managers felt that
the organisation was too hierarchical i.e. had too many layers.
The new structure is flatter with employees taking on more
responsibilities. This enables job enrichment, providing
opportunities for an employee to take on further responsibilities
to enhance their job satisfaction.
• Changing leadership. Creating an environment where
employees are encouraged to make more decisions
themselves. Senior managers create the business vision but
ground level employees are delegated more leadership
responsibilities, for example, in dealing with customers. The
model employed is one of transformational leadership where
the vision is built at the top but everyone engages with the
vision through personal leadership.
• Improved communications. Better communications inform all
employees about the strategies of the company. These outline
the aims and direction of the business. They also inform
employees about operational (day-to-day) plans which directly
affect their work. A radical improvement was to encourage
employees to inform management of their views.
• Living the brand values. Making sure that everyone
understands and models the brand values.
Communications and cultural change
The changes mentioned before have resulted in Harrods
developing a people-focussed culture in order to better engage
with its employees. The culture of an organisation is very powerful
and has been described as its DNA. It has also been summarised
as ‘the way we do things around here’ and is created through
shared values, attitudes, beliefs and norms. One of the reasons
why Harrods is so successful today is that it gives its employees a
voice for change. All employees are encouraged to give feedback
on every aspect of how Harrods operates. The opportunities for
managers and employees to be engaged in sharing their views
and ideas is summarised in the table below:
Engagement method Description
Internal employee magazine ‘Your Harrods’ - a popular and
creative magazine for employees
with a new starter list, interviews
with key people, personal snapshots,
charity features, an Agony Aunt
column and interesting competitions.
Morning briefing Informing shop floor teams about
what is going on that day and the
latest sales statistics.
Intranet Enables sharing of information with
employees. Employees are able to
select which aspects they focus on
(rather than having information
pushed on them).
Quarterly employee forum A group made up of employee
volunteers. Enables employees to
present issues and contribute to
Other forms of employee ‘Bright Ideas’ scheme which
voice encourages employees to share
innovative ideas to further improve
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