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About five years ago I was looking for a job which would fit into my family. I didn't really need to work at the time, but thought it would be nice to have some of my 'own' money and a sense of worth. I was really only able to work evenings when my children's father was at home and this led me to investigate the possibilities of working in a supermarket. A telephone call later, and I was on my way to collect an application form from Asda Superstore. After completing a pretty standard form, I returned it to the store and waited……
Just two days later I received a phone call asking if I could attend a group selection process. I was pleased to have made it passed the first hurdle, yes it is only a supermarket, but when you have been stuck at home with children for a while, you do lose your confidence slightly. It took ages just deciding what to wear or what not to wear (enter Trinny and Susannah), I didn't want to look like I was going for a city job, but needed to be fairly smart. Eventally I settled on the trusted black trousers, oh and a shirt of course.
I arrived at Asda for my three hour stint and was greeted by the personal manager and led to a room where who knows what would happen. Once there were about 15 of us, the process began. I will just say now, that I had never experienced anything like this before, and yes, walking out did cross my mind. Our first task was two pair up with someone and find out things about each other. We would then have to stand up and introduce our partner to the rest, outlining what we had learnt about them. Now, I am perfectly ok on a one to one basis, but not this, this was all for a job in a Supermarket, not on a stage! Anyway very bravely, I volunteered to go second, may as well get it out of the way. With a nervous voice and rather flushed cheeks, I stammered through. Next we were asked to form groups of five and each given a product, ours being Asda Golden Balls Cereal, we now had to make an advert! …..I will leave the rest of this selection process to your imagination.
I was relieved to get home and recover. Then the very next day I received a phone call asking me to go for a one to one interview, Phew!! No more shenanigans , this I could deal with.
The twenty minute interview with the store manger went very smoothly with the usual questions and answers, and I was offered the job. By now I felt like I already deserved a medal. What was the job? Shelf stacking. Well actually a Replenishment Assistant (sounds a bit posher doesn't it).
Before I could actually begin stacking those shelves, there was one last stage required. An Induction day. A day where myself and a few others would be given a tour of the store, instructions on safety regulations and such like. Oh yes and this is when we first heard about the huddles. A 'group huddle' was quite simply an informal meeting with your colleagues. Fair enough! This came and went without any problems.
As I have already mentioned my job was to replenish shelves, mainly because the hours I would be working were 9.30pm until 2.30am. Never before had I given a thought as to who or how the shelves remained fairly full. I did now, I can assure you, it was physically very hard work, I felt like I had been down the gym for a major workout. I was working the tinned food, which was a fairly heavy aisle, but still, could I really be that unfit. I would have been more suited to the Loo roll aisle. The job wasn't too bad, I was pretty much left to my own devices apart from the odd Huddle or two. My problem was that I got home at 3am, into bed at 3.15 but couldn't go to sleep quickly. I was then up at 7.30 with the kids…. In a word knackering!
*****Asda the Employers.
As one of the countries fastest growing retailers Asda employ masses of people. Taking after the American style Wall-mart, Asda are introducing some of these American idea's into their English stores. If you do pass through their rather elaborate interview process, then I don't think that you will have much reason to fault them as employers.
In my experience, although not that long, I found Asda to be flexible, friendly and encouraging. If you are keen to move up the ladder, you will receive the training and support that you need, on the other hand you are not forced into furthering your career if you really don't want to. Different shift patterns manage to suit many peoples working capabilities. Colleagues are able to swap shifts where necessary giving added flexibility.
A definite downside to the job is the compulsory uniform that you will have to wear, bright luminous green, yuk! You will certainly be seen coming. There are variations on uniform, with aprons or caps etc according to the department in which you work. A name badge is also supplied and must be worn.
Jobs on offer at Asda can be quite varied. Obviously they require Butchers, Bakers and Fishmongers. Checkout operators and Replenishment assistants (that's me) or personal. Something to suit everyone it would seem. No matter what title your job comes with, everyone, including management are referred to as 'colleagues', Asda's way of making staff feel equal to one another and part of a team. Each branch will normally advertise any vacancies within their store. There are always positions to be filled, just ask at the customer service desk.
As with a lot of companies, sickness is frowned upon, unless it is proven that you really do have a genuine illness. Colleagues who regularly take the odd day here and there will eventually be asked to attend a counselling interview to determine whether they are suitably fit for their job. If you have a broken leg, Asda would rather you came in and sat at a desk working, instead of staying at home. They will adapt to meet your needs, if you are willing. The first three days of any sickness period will not be paid.
Asda back several charities and actively encourage their staff to join in with fundraising events. This is both extremely worthwhile and lot's of fun.
*****Pay And Benefits.
I was paid between five and six pounds an hour. Asda pay extra for unsociable hours and pay one of the best rates out of all the supermarkets in my area. An optional pension scheme is available.
Colleagues can look forward to a pretty standard four weeks holiday per year, and I believe that you can choose to work your holiday, therefore receiving double pay.
As an employee you can also expect, after a qualifying period of 12 weeks, to receive a discount card, which will give you 10% off of most products. You can choose to nominate a member of your family, so that they too can use the card. Asda offer lot's of other incentives and perks, staff are rewarded for 'Above and Beyond the Call of Duty' and achieving over 25 years long standing employee status. Asda dish out gift vouchers to all staff at Christmas.
In the past Asda have even run a scheme whereby you can win a competition to store swap with a Wall Mart in America.
Working for the Asda group can mean so many different things. You may be a colleague who works on the front desk all day dealing with demanding customers, or you could work out the back in the ware house. A large part of the work force will however deal with the general public and as the customer is always right, this can be a hard task. Asda aim to keep prices low and to keep their shoppers happy, this will be your focus. Whatever position you take, it is expected that you will be able to work as part of a team. You will have the opportunity to make friends and could inherit a busy social life along side the job. If you are willing to work hard and fit in to a large team, this job could be for you. Your working environment will be hectic and demanding but varied. While you need no qualifications to begin a career with Asda, you can definitely gain quite a few during your employment.
For more information please visit; www.asda.co.uk. Or alternatively, your local store.