People Powering the Next Generation

FY 2012 saw the development of a new People agenda for the Group with the arrival of the new Group HR Director, Jonathan Crookall. The four key focus areas are:

  • Recruiting the right people to support our service culture and future growth
  • Training and developing people to deliver expertise, advice and service
  • Managing talent to provide succession for key roles and career opportunities for colleagues
  • Establishing an engaging culture, based on a clear set of values


Recruiting the Right People to Support our Service Culture and Future Growth

During the year we improved our recruitment processes and focused them more on selecting colleagues with an attitude that supports service and our "helpful" agenda. We established partnerships with recruitment suppliers and initiated a project to improve our recruitment website and applicant tracking. The new website launches in the summer and will align with our consumer branding, attracting colleagues who have a helpful approach and great potential for the future. We will also be better able to target candidates who are best suited to retail and our particular product groups.

Training and Developing People to Deliver Expertise, Advice and Service

We continued to invest in colleague training, focusing on technical skills to support increased fitting and the growth in cycling. All colleagues were involved in a programme called Flying Start, which provided the skills and confidence needed to develop further the ability to engage with every customer in store, re-emphasising the importance of a great interaction with customers and our overall "helpful" message.

In our Autocentres business our apprentice training programme went from strength to strength with the establishment of a new external partnership with the specialists ProVQ. More than 180 new apprentices started our latest scheme in support of the growth in the Autocentres business.

Luke Tomkins, 19, was named Halfords Autocentres Apprentice of the Year after seeing off competition from fellow apprentices from around the country in the network's annual skills competition.

The competition, hosted at training provider ProVQ's state-of-the-art workshop facilities near Shrewsbury, saw the ten talented young technicians compete against the clock over a number of tasks, including a vehicle safety inspection and various fault diagnosis challenges.

Luke impressed the judges with his consistent technical competency, expertise and ability to maintain a cool head under pressure before being declared overall winner.

Bill Collins, technical training manager for Halfords Autocentres, said:

"Halfords Autocentres runs the largest motor technician apprentice scheme in the UK. Our Apprentice of the Year competition is a chance to celebrate the fresh talent we have in the business and to showcase their skills."


Managing Talent to Provide Succession for Key Roles and Career Opportunities for Colleagues

We have a good track record of developing colleagues from the shop floor into management positions. This year we formalised our approach to tracking talent in stores and autocentres, and provided specific development programmes to grow the skills required to make the next level. Our graduate programme continues to provide us with a pipeline of talent for our teams in Commercial and Marketing given the scarcity of quality talent in these critical areas.

Establishing an Engaging Culture, Based on a Clear Set of Values

In FY12 we built on the success of the "Helpful" campaign by creating a broader culture change programme based on a new set of Halfords values. Over 800 people across the Company were involved in creating the six values and defining the behaviours that underpin them. The values were launched at our national conference and continue to be a key action area. We are rolling out a full colleague engagement survey in June to assess how best we can further develop colleague engagement in support of our drive for improving the customer experience.