We are committed to providing learning and development (L&D) opportunities for our employees, both to support their personal career development and to raise the capability and skill within our team.
Throughout the year we provide an L&D programme that is designed to engage our employees in learning, which is reviewed annually to continuously improve the Group L&D offer.
In 2012 we continued to refresh our core L&D offer enabling it to become accessible to more members of our team across the Group. In head office we saw the introduction of ½ day workshops to allow a more bitesize approach to learning. In stores we continued the growth of technology learning by strengthening our webinar offer and introducing e-learning.
Internal succession is key to the success of WHSmith. We are keen to develop our internal talent to be successful for us and continue to aspire to 90 per cent internal succession rate across the business. Keeping talent development top of our L&D agenda we introduced new programmes across stores and head office in 2012.
For stores we launched our Retail Academy. The purpose of our Retail Academy is to improve the internal succession into store management roles within our business. The Retail Academy focuses on the technical and behavioural elements required to be successful within WHSmith.
For Head Office we launched the Assistant Buyer Programme, again focusing on the technical and behavioural aspects required to become a Buyer within WHSmith. This programme identified 16 employees with the future capability to progress into a Buyer role and supported them to improve their performance. Currently nine employees on the programme have been promoted.
For distribution centres we have designed, and are currently implementing a programme to improve the capability of Shift Coordinators focusing on management skills. Shift Coordinators act as first line management support and it is important that we ensure they are provided with the appropriate skills to effectively manage resource within the distribution centre.