Sainsbury’s & Asda are merging. How will this affect HR & payroll?

30th May 2018

The UK supermarket climate has been transformed over the past few years with discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl stealing the limelight, showing off their bargainous British produce and their audacious copycat packaging. Therefore it’s made a change over the last month to see the mainstream shops that have been a part of the grocery landscape for decades hitting the headlines: Sainsbury’s and Asda.

It was announced earlier this month that Sainsbury’s and Asda will be merging in a £51billion deal. Them joining forces will result in them creating a supermarket powerhouse even bigger than Tesco, causing it to slip back to second place in the race for market leader. For consumers, the hope is that the immense buying power of Sainsbury’s and Asda combined “would give them more clout with suppliers…meaning both stores could cut costs for shoppers.”

Granted, the numbers involved in the Sainsbury’s and Asda merger are unrelatable for many (most, even) UK businesses: £51,000,000,000 sales combination. 333,000 staff members. 2,800 stores. 47 million transactions per week. However, that’s not to say that the issues that the supermarket maestros will come up against are not the same as the issues smaller companies also face when they wish to merge, or just change. There are two key areas that will affect any company when it goes through structural changes, regardless of their size:

Can your HR provision adapt seamlessly as your company changes? Even if you are not growing by hundreds of thousands of staff members like Sainsbury’s and Asda, you still need to be confident that you understand the make-up of your business and that all the existing and any new staff members feel supported during any change. Growth, merger or acquisition can result in change to organisation structure, reorganisation of resources and the potential for uncertainty within your workforce, particularly if there is a threat to jobs. Scaling a company in any capacity can be stressful, so you need to make sure you have a centralised, flexible HR system that makes this simple for the employer and employees alike.

Can your payroll system cope with fluctuations in staffing smoothing and seamlessly? You need to know that your employees will be paid correctly, on time and every time – even when things change within your company and the pressure is on. The Sainsbury’s and Asda merger could result in changes in pay and terms and conditions of pay for staff, something that can happen to businesses large and small. Strategically payroll teams need to be in the loop as soon as possible if acquisitions, mergers or organisational change occur, as current systems and procedures may not be able to flex quick enough. Therefore you must ensure your internal team or payroll provider can cope with this.

There are solutions and services out there that ensure that whatever trajectory your business takes, your HR and payroll remains seamless and efficient. Let’s hope that Sainsbury’s and Asda have one implemented!