Equal Opportunities

Asda strives to ensure that no job applicant, existing colleague, customer or supplier is treated less favourably on the grounds of gender, age, martial status, disability, race, region, colour, nationality, ethnic origin and that no one is disadvantaged by their medical conditions and personal requirements/principles. The way in which Asda operate and recruit ensures that potential employees are selected or promoted according to their ability and satisfaction to meet the criteria expected by management. An illustration of Asda’s equal opportunity policy and employment records was provided when Asda opened a new branch in Hulme.

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Over eighty percent of the 400 colleagues employed at this branch were unemployed before they came to work with Asda. Of those, 51% of colleagues were of an ethnic origin other than UK/European or Irish. Both genders of male and female are treated equally at all of Asda branches. Currently female managers run 7% of Asda’s branches and the aim is that by 2003 this will increase to about 30%. In March 2001 Asda launched a ‘Talent Race’ aimed to aid recruitment and development and spot colleagues who would represent the local community, promote ethnic diversity and who would also be role models for the future.

All the staff at Asda’s current branches are offered the opportunity to take the prospect of an unpaid two days leave at anytime throughout the year to celebrate religious festivals. This is in addition to their statutory rights and public holidays. One of Asda’s aims is to make their stores more comfortable for both disabled people who work and shop there. Asda have said that, ‘We offer people with disabilities a working environment which is supportive and which has good social facilities. We also operate an equal opportunities policy with regard to opportunities for promotion’.

In accordance with the employment laws, Asda abides by three main acts, on which it has devised its equal opportunities policy. These three acts are as follows: As you are aware, the above three acts are all concerned with equal opportunities. The first of these acts is concerned with gender. This act makes it illegal for anyone to be discriminated against on the grounds of gender either directly or indirectly. In terms of employment, this applies to the way you are treated in recruitment and selection of jobs and also during your period of employment.

Employees, particularly women, are safeguarded from both direct and indirect discrimination by The Sex Discrimination Act 1975. In terms of ‘direct discrimination’, it is illegal for organisations to exclude one specific gender from a job e. g. ‘this job is only suitable for men due to the heavy lifting involved’. On the other hand indirect discrimination is less obvious and sometimes more difficult to prove.

Individuals are protected from instances of indirect discrimination such as when there is a condition at any company that makes it difficult for one sex to comply e. g. only those individuals who are 6′ 7″ need apply. Even if some form of discrimination is practiced unintentionally or unwittingly, the organisation is still guilty in the eyes of a court. According to the Equal Pay Act 1970, if the work of men and women is of the equal value the pay must also be the same for both genders. It is illegal for an organisation to pay women who do the same job as their male colleagues a lesser salary. The Race Relations Act 1976 This act basically makes it illegal for anybody to be discriminated against on the grounds of race, colour, culture, religion and nationality etc.

Again, both direct and indirect forms of discrimination often exist. Such practices which are deemed illegal include excluding those who do not speak English, employing the white individual in preference to the individual of ethnic origin despite the fact that both have exactly the same qualifications or when employers won’t employee individuals as receptionists or in other customer services roles because their religious head scarves/turbans do not present a good impression of the company. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995

This act is concerned with discrimination against disabled people with disabilities in employment, education and in general life e. g. when shopping or buying/renting land or property. The disability could be sensory, mentally or physically but in order to be discriminated under this act, the disability has to be long term i. e. more than twelve months. Employers do not have the right to dismiss someone due to a disability or treat able bodied persons more favourably over less able bodied persons, no matter whether this is in training, recruitment, employment or in opportunities for promotional prospects.

The employer must also be able to adjust the workplace in order for a disabled person to satisfactorily do the job. People with disabilities who suffer from discrimination can complain to an employment tribunal. In this case discrimination is not divided into direct or indirect but less favourable treatment that can be justified. One of Asda’s aims is to make their stores more comfortable for both disabled people who work and shop there. Asda have said that, ‘We offer people with disabilities a working environment which is supportive and which has good social facilities.

We also operate an equal opportunities policy with regard to opportunities for promotion’. Asda continue to ensure that their equal opportunity policy is built on the above employment acts and that it strives to treat all its employees and potential employees fairly and equally, regardless of their race, religion, colour, gender and disability. In actual fact, just to illustrate how dedicated Asda is in its commitment towards equal opportunities it has gone far beyond simply abiding by the above three acts.

Unlike other organisations, Asda actively seeks to employ mature individuals over the age of 50, as it values the contribution they can make towards satisfying the needs of their customers. Many other organisations tend to unfairly favour younger recruits or employees in favour of those more senior, mainly because the young are cheaper to employee and also because these organisations wrongly believe that older employees are not as efficient in learning new skills. Organisational Culture The term ‘culture’ describes the typical approach within an organisation as regards to its attitudes, values and beliefs.

In line with the consultative and democratic management styles that Asda employs, the company has adopted the combination of both ‘role’ and ‘task’ cultures. This is particularly in light of the fact that Asda operates in a dynamic world where change is frequent. Asda operates on task cultures based on teamwork. This means people who work in the organisation learn how to develop team skill, such as interpersonal skills, communications, the ability to work with information technology and decision-making skills.

At Asda the mangers are trained to learn to listen and encourage teams rather then to tell them what to do. Asda believe this helps to create an effective management style and culture. A changing culture also helps Asda compete with its rivals, as it helps them gather new ways as to how the business management can be improved. This includes customer service. Asda also operates a consultative management style, with some mild elements of autocracy, at which time it adopts a role culture in its work environment. A role culture operates with a bureaucratic style.

When operating with a role culture the employees at Asda are expected to follow the rules and set of laws which have been set by the organisation itself. A role culture is specifically relevant to staff based on the shop floor as they have very specific tasks and jobs assigned to them. A role culture at Asda helps bring different departments together as it encourages teamwork. A role culture gives confidence to the people who are at the bottom of Asda hierarchy structure to share their ideas with the people at the top.

This also provides the managers of the business with further information as to see which particular workers are doing well, and have the ability to work with different departments if promoted. The size of an organisation is important as regards to which culture should be used. For example a sole trader will operate with a power culture where one person will be responsible to operate the business and make the crucial decisions. However Asda is a large company and have adapted a role/task culture where individualism is discouraged and team work is encouraged.

This is where decisions are made involving more than one employee. This is in line with the consultative / democratic management style it employs, which encourages empowerment. Asda operates in an economic and competitive environment. Customers at Asda expect to receive high quality customer service; if Asda don’t deliver high quality products then they will fail as a business. Social and Environmental Influences Asda can’t change the values or views of society because society’s view is a significant impact in the way Asda operates.

An example is a public awareness of environmental issues. Society protested that Asda weren’t using enough recycled products and were using a lot of raw materials, rather than recycled products such as cans and bottles. Asda have now put recycle bins in several of their supermarkets and encourage their customers to throw products such as plastic bottles in these bins. Ethical Issues This has played a big part in the way Asda operates and in their culture.

Asda had to comply with legislations that were regulated and set by the governments, such as the health and safety act and equal opportunities act. Asda’s cultures are displayed by the attitudes and behaviour. Their cultures can be determined by analysing the way Asda’s employees interact with other employees throughout Asda. Also they could see how they interact with external sources such as customers and suppliers. Finally the culture could be determined through the management style. And the way decisions are made.