Carrefour UAE – Finding a way

Vineetha Sony | 30 Mar 2020 | Middle East perspective

What do you do when you have more than a thousand employees on the verge of being laid off in a business unit that’s no longer able to operate due to Covid-19?

You develop a redeployment programme where they are trained on the job and equipped to support a completely different line of business that is experiencing unprecedented demand due to the crisis.

This is exactly what one of the biggest homegrown conglomerates in the UAE has done.

When Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) saw online orders continuing to spike at over 300% versus ‘normal demand’ in their Carrefour grocery franchise, employees from its currently dormant cinemas and entertainment divisions were immediately retrained & repurposed to support Carrefour’s booming demand, working in order fulfilment & delivery preparation.

The company got things right on many levels:

  • quick thinking; resources reallocated to where they are required in the short term to meet customer demand
  • temporary redeployment allows for entertainment division’s operations to be resuscitated quickly with experienced staff once they are able to do so (no loss of expertise)
  • gave employees the opportunity to explore and understand experiences of their colleagues in other business divisions
  • and most importantly…showed empathy and saved the livelihoods of scores of its employees who might otherwise have been retrenched

Of course, not all businesses have the scale and capability to be able to take all the steps that MAF has, however this is a good time for businesses of all shapes & sizes to reassess their priorities and seek ways to make the most of their work force’s skills sets, talents and resourcefulness.