Performance Management Systems Of J Sainsbury Plc Management Essay


In any organisation, the team does the work. Their performance is the organisation’s performance. It is therefore, productive to get a good performance from everyone. Each person in the organisation is more complex than all the modules anyone would ever suggest.

The organisations manager needs to motivate the team as a whole and motivate each individual separately. Team motivation stems from the personal enthusiasm of the manager, how the work is allocated and structured, a clear vision of the goal and the agreed standards for getting there. The Organisation’s manager sets an example with their own personal organisation and behaviour and creates a climate of progress and acceptance of change. Individual motivation is achieved through personal rapport and the ‘unwritten contract’ of what the individual and the organisation’s manager expect from each other. A crucial ingredient of this motivation is the design of the individual’s job, which must have the right amount of challenge and variety and lead towards a visible and significant end product. Everyone needs agreed objectives that tie into goals we understand, as well as personal and career development from challenging work, professional standards, feedback and coaching.

In this paper we are going to talk about the performance management evaluation in which, top management at Sainsbury’s uses for both its employees and for the organisations Suppliers of its wide range of goods and products. Sainsbury’s supermarkets part of J Sainsbury’s plc was established in 1869 and strives to fulfil its original mission to be the first choice for food shopping for consumers by providing value for money, excellent service and quality that customers have come to expect. The company employs roughly, 145,000 people, has 535 stores and serves over 11 million customers each week. First and foremost we need to understand the theories surrounding performance management.

Performance Management Systems

Most organisations have some form of formal performance management system and Sainsbury’s is no exception. They vary a great deal in purpose, depth, style and degree of bureaucracy. They also vary in the benefits they bring to an organisation and the degree of respect they attract from the workforce. Questions such as, what is the purpose of my organisation’s management system? The answer could be to assist the management in the determination of pay rises, and perhaps promotions within a grade or job title system. In this scenario the key feature of the performance management system will be fairness. Find out how the pay system works in your organisation so you can make it work for the staff. No pay system is ever totally objective. You need to make sure your team members understand the subjective element. It helps if you have clear objectives against which you can measure performance. The situation you aiming for are that everyone understands why he or she got the pay rise they did.

In another scenario the answer could be to develop staff. In this case the performance management system is just is just a component of ones continuing effort to develop a flexible workforce, able to work in a variety of situations, to contribute in many ways and with a range of skills that spans the whole of software development. Fairness is not really an issue in this case as the appraisal focuses on one person at a time. Another answer could be a bit of both of the abovementioned.

The performance management system exists to develop staff and to assist with decisions about pay. Even if it is said, to be only about pay or promotion, you will want to use it as an opportunity to develop your staff. Staffs within organisations believe that a performance management system does affect their pay levels, even when it is said to be about other strategic factors, which is deemed as important to the organisation.

A problem arises from this, if the manager asks an employee which areas of your work would they need to improve, the employee might be prepared to discuss some if you think the purpose of the meeting is to help the employee develop. But if the employee supposedly assumes that the manager is gathering information for the next pay review, the employee might be tempted to brush over their weakness. The most desirable approach to this is to tie good pay awards with proven development. After all, why should an employer give you more than a basic rise if the employer assumes that their skills were no better than the previous year? Now, when the manager asks the employee about their weaknesses, the employee might be doubly keen to discuss them, both to have them resolved and to be rewarded for this development at the next pay review. The importance of setting these sorts of objectives for a team member’s development is now clear.

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Preparation for a performance management system

Theoretically speaking the best way to prepare for a system is to practise day-to-day developmental management: regularly revisiting the objectives you agreed with a team member, review performance at appropriate times and provide coaching whenever an opportunity arises. The employee might find it helpful to keep a log of these ongoing interactions, so when the time comes for the performance evaluation, the employees preparation is mostly done. Additionally, the employer would still need to review all that has happened in the previous period and decide what you want to achieve in the evaluation. The team member also needs to prepare. Fix the meeting far enough ahead to allow sufficient time. Always remind the team member of the purpose of the evaluation and the type of preparation you think they should do. If it’s the employee’s first evaluation the employer should sit down and talk the process through. Employees are often frightened of their performance evaluation.

During an evaluation meeting

The manager and the employee would need to review past performance, if only to set the scene for looking to the future. Raising bad points about the employee should be done with an utterly clear mind, especially when it is with regard to areas of improvement, development opportunities, or procedural notes. One approach is not to raise them at all but to ask the team member to assess personal performance using a technique called drawing out.

This means asking neutral, not loaded, questions about how they think they have performed particularly strong points and areas in which they would like to improve. Most people are very modest about their performance. The employer will find that many opportunities to praise the team member for contributions they have overlooked or downplayed. They are likely to come up with more areas for improvement than the employer would be able to identify and will be keener to work on them than if the employer had pointed them out. Drawing out avoids the risks associated with criticising a colleague, and it usually leads to greater improvement than criticism would have done. However, there are problems with drawing out. One will have ideas about areas in which the team member should improve and, when the member does not identify them, it is tempting to turn neutral drawing out into a form of forced confession. This is a serious mistake to make as it will undermine the employers credibility as a genuine listener and therefore as a good manager. If the team member comes up with several valid areas for improvement but not a minor one, which you had thought of, you may wish to abandon your minor point in favour of the ones identified by the team member. The employer should never abandon their initial idea if it is important or simply to avoid any awkwardness in bringing it up. If the initial idea is not abandoned then the employer should not build it out to be drawing out. For example, the employer might state to the employee that I’ve thought of an area they think they need to work on. It might seem a crucially important problem to you but the team member may not think so or may genuinely have not noticed it. The second problem with drawing out is that the employer could overdo it. Most team members will want to know what the employer thinks of their performance. In this situation the manager should give them an evaluation of what they have said even if it is a simple agreement. The most important aspect of an evaluation is listening. If the employer finds that they are doing most of the talking, then it is being conducted wrongly. Secondly, future orientation is very important, when the areas of improvements have been identified, both the manager and the employee would need to devise a plan for making the improvement happen.

Recording the performance management evaluation

Examples of this can be explained by the use of a form, which might be used to summarize the discussion carried out. The form shown in the following is the form used by management at Sainsbury’s to evaluate their members of staff with regard to performance management.

How well am I doing?

Name………… department…………

I must…



Agreed targets to support these areas…

Own rating

Agreed rating

Think customer




I work to exceed customer need

Avoids customer contact or is unhelpful when approached

Deals with all customers in a polite and friendly way

Uses knowledge and experience to deal with customer queries effectively, recognises when customers are in need of help or advice and approaches them accordingly

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Actively seeks to gain further knowledge and experience in order to provide an improved service.

By when?……

Think colleague




I work effectively and co-operatively with others

Is uncooperative when asked to support others or other departments

Understands the importance of team work and contributes to ‘team working’

Recognises when colleagues need support and uses initiative to help colleagues

Actively seeks to initiate team spirit in order to improve results by working together.

By when?…….

Think performance




I work to achieve quality standards

Is receiving disciplinary action for attendance does not meet requirements for timekeeping/appearance and or/does not comply to procedures e.g. clocking procedures/safety

Is not receiving disciplinary action for attendance and does meet requirements stated above.

Demonstrates high personal standards and department presentation at all times

Makes suggestions to improve standards within the dept/store, takes steps to support others in working to high standards

By when?…….

Think performance




I work to improve sales/services/stock loss

Has little or no regard for sales or stock loss when carrying out job role

Tells customers about products and services when asked and recognises the need to reduce losses and improve sales

Initiates conversation with customers to promote sales and/or services, identifies areas of potential losses and takes action

Seeks feedback from customers and makes suggestions for improving sales/services/losses e.g. availability

By when?…….

Think performance




I strive to get my work done well and on time

Has to be closely monitored

Know what needs to be achieved and get things done

Is thorough and checks work for accuracy to ensure that high quality is offered to customers

Identifies opportunities to further improve own performance in order to improve store standards

By when?……

Add your agreed scores to achieve your overall rating. Where any zero is indicated, your total will be zero.

Ratings: Ratings:

0 not achieved 0 – 4 = 0

1 made progress 5 – 7 = 1

2 achieved 8 – 11 = 2

3 exceeded 12 – 15 = 3 overall rating: ______

Training and development plan

‘I take advantage of training and development opportunities to help me improve’

Now take look at any training and development activities that will support you in meeting your targets and to develop further. Together with your manager note these below before summarising your review.

In store development activities

Activities to help you in your job and to develop further

– agree these with your manager`

Training I can do

Materials to help you in your job and to develop further

– agree these with your manager

By when

E.g. Activity 4 – learn the top ten weekly offers and know where they are located

E.g. Sold workshop

E.g. End of November 2000


Are there any comments that you would like to make about your review, your performance, or your future development?

Are there any comments that your manager would like to make about your review your performance or your future development?


Print name:___________________________

Signature: ______________________________


Print name: _______________________________

Signature: ________________________________Date of review

The above mentioned is the performance management evaluation method used in Sainsbury’s with regard to identifying what are the most important areas for the organisation to improve in relation to its employees.

The above method is used by Sainsbury’s to evaluate employees with regard to both development and pay rises for employees. It can be said that although it is a very simple method, with regard to setting ones own agenda and completing the form in the sequence that the manager deems best, if the employee has any problems that the manager thinks would lead to a disciplinary action, it is uttermost important for the manager to record this. It is also only fair that the manager records other significant problems or else the manager is giving the team member leave to ignore something, which may slow their progress for years to come. In Sainsbury’s case, from the latter mentioned this is all stated in the ‘think performance’ section of the form. The form does cover all aspects regarding employee attitude to improve sales/services/stock loss, getting tasks done on well and on time, excellent customer satisfaction needs, being able to be a team player, and achieving quality standards.

Speaking to the branch personnel manager, she stated that the form covers all aspect of employee performance and that management in all the Sainsbury’s branches strictly adhere to the outcomes stated on the form above. One can say that although the form is very useful with regard to gathering information on an employees performance, one should note here that the secret to a successful evaluation of an employees performance is to make it an ongoing process, part of the manager’s regular contact with team members, just as the manager would regularly review objectives and progress towards them. The form therefore acts as a summary of all that has happened, with no surprises on both sides, and an opportunity to step back, reflect on it all and plan for the future.

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Alerts and Resolution Management system

Additionally, Sainsbury’s has built web-based alerts and resolution system. It enables Sainsbury’s to ensure that it is on top of any business issues that may arise, enhance working relationships and maximise supply chain efficiency. These are all indirectly related to the performance management evaluation. Communication is the key to supply chain management, and Sainsbury’s, as an organisation fully understands that. They understand that to boost customer satisfaction, drive sales and manage customer loyalty by having the right products available at the right time, they need to enhance relationships with suppliers. This is known as supplier relationship management.

Availability of product to customer is deemed as a vital key performance indicator for the organisation and they view their suppliers as important partners in delivering excellence in this field.

ARM integrates product performance data with exception reports and alerts, which then manages the problems by sending either informational or collaborative alerts to Sainsbury’s and its suppliers by email. Informational alerts contact individuals who have requested to be informed when certain things happen such as when stocks of a product fall below a certain level. Collaborative alerts send joint prompts that create a resolution management cycle so that the recipients can work together to solve problems. Suppliers can also download performance data such as sales, stock levels and more (Supply Chain Management Review, 2004). As one of the top management executives involved in the ARM systems stated, ‘if availability, for example, falls below a certain level, the Sainsbury’s buyer and supplier are informed why there is a problems and where it stems from. So if there is a problem Sainsbury’s can work through that problem with the supplier with all parties having the same base information (Mike Quinn, CEO Eqos; 2005).

The ARM system is very easy to use. It enables business analyst who understand the underpinning business processes without the need for technical knowledge. New users can easily be added to ARM, or existing user information changed or updated by an administrator using the web. Administrators can also remove user access when an employee leaves a supplier or Sainsbury’s. This is very important in retail and manufacturing in which people tend to move on to work for competitors or to pursue another career somewhere else.


This paper has look at the theoretical aspect of performance management systems, preparation of an evaluation, what steps are taken during the evaluation meeting between the manager and employee and the interview forms, in the aspects of how it is evaluated within an organisation such as Sainsbury’s. We have also talked about the ARM system, which is a system that directly links Sainsbury’s with its suppliers, in order to solve issues to do with stock levels, product availability e.t.c.

As a whole, the two performance management systems within Sainsbury’s are the ARM system, and the employee evaluation system which is used to gauge how well an employee is performing and to ascertain their situation within the company with regard to pay rises and promotion in the future (Personnel today, 2005). It can be said that both the ARM and employee evaluation form which is used to gauge the performance management of that particular employee, are both uniquely important to the organisation, most recently, the new Chairman of Sainsbury’s has stated that the retail organisation was going to revert back to manual stock taking reason being the new head believes that the IT systems, within Sainsbury’s are flawed (IT week, March 2005). This also includes ARM system for its supply chain and its performance management system for its employees. He states that the problem with the ARM is that when they try to revamp a range of products, they system could not allocate the range because it could not see that they had taken old stock off the shelves. This is the problem associated with any management system. Most systems are either far too complex to understand, or can only do 80% of the tasks required, and not 100% (Howard P., 2004).

It would be worthwhile to conclude here that effective performance management takes time, but the effort required from the employee is spread, so the employee rarely spends a long period on it. Performance management becomes a natural

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