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Business Research On Countdown Supermarket Chain

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Discuss about the Business Research on Countdown Supermarket Chain in New Zealand.



In a perfect business world most of the employees would feel like coming to work with bright smiles and eagerness to achieve the daily objectives at work.  In the contemporary business world employees come at work that are highly disintegrated with whatever they do and the responsibilities are only mere responsibilities to them. In a recent statistics given  it is seen that almost around 40% of the total number of employees working in the corporate world in the world suffer from stress and anxiety at workplace only due to lack of motivation. It could be said that lack of motivation at work place is created due to number of issues that contributes to the increased demotivation at work.  In a recent work Survey in New Zealand showed that the low level of engagement from its employees holds the country back from global competition.  The International research company Gallup recently found out around 23% of the New Zealand’s workforce was emotionally engaged at their jobs which clearly mean that the country has significant problems with its workforce. The lack of employee engagement affects the overall productivity of the organisation and hence it becomes extremely important to understand how incentives would work on the employee engagement (Shields et al., 2015). In the present chapter the relation between incentives and employee engagement will be critically analysed. The variables related to the research subject will be individually assessed and then the interface of each other will be critically reflected on.

Brief about the organization

Countdown is a supermarket chain in New Zealand it is a subsidiary of progressive enterprises. Count down is estimated to be the largest single supermarket chain in New Zealand. The first countdown market was opened in the year 1981in Papanui, Christchurch. The business was established by Rattrays wholesale group and was later on owned by Foodland associated limited when they acquired the business. As per the statistics in 2016 there are around 183 countdown supermarkets throughout North and South Islands of New Zealand. The major operations of stores are supervised and handled by the head office of progressive enterprise in Mangere Auckland. The operations of the stores are under hierarchical heads. Apart from an area manager for each area all the areas are under the supervision of the National operations manager. The countdown supermarket has a robust online channel for selling grocery items to their customers. However newer generation of countdown stores built after 2008 have a dedicated space of 30% of the store for fresh foods. The main competitors of Countdown supermarket are New world and PAKNSAVE.

General problems and opportunities

This paper will mainly highlight on the countdown central mall and study the importance of incentives for bringing about employment engagement in the researched company. Countdown as has been studied in the previous paragraph is one of the single largest supermarket chains in New Zealand and has a huge number of employees throughout the country. However this particular work will focus on the Countdown central mall as lack of employee engagement has been hampering the operations of the said store. Tough competition from retail chains like PAKNSAVE and New world makes it important for the company to come up with improved strategies for engaging the workforce. Although there are many strategies to improve employee engagement, incentives play an important role in engaging the employees. Thus the project would provide an opportunity to identify the engagement level of employees in the said organization and the theoretical framework would help in developing a recommendation for the organization to plan an incentive based strategy to engage their employees since motivated and engaged employees would ultimately lead to happy and satisfied customers.


Importance of the topic

The topic is important since the competitive retail industry in every part of the world has encouraged owners to come up with innovative strategies to attain competitive advantage. However it must be noticed that strategies aimed at improving customer services are not enough for competitive advantage but at the same time importance should be placed on improving strategies to facilitate the workforce and motivate them for enhanced performance. Thus this topic would help in identifying the role of employee incentives in engaging the workforce.

Reason for selection of the topic

The researcher has selected the topic to illustrate the relationship between employee incentive and employee engagement. The competitive retail environment pose a challenging situation for companies to attain competitive advantage and an efficient workforce would help in achieving a competitive advantage. Thus the role of incentives for employee engagement would be studied here.

Scope of the review

The review would thus establish a relationship between employee engagement and incentives and in doing so would describe in detail about the importance of employee engagement at work and would also provide a conceptual framework.

Intentional exclusion

The literature review will not study other elements like absenteeism or role of leadership etc but would only focus on incentives in how this element can bring about job engagement.

Retail Industry in New Zealand

The retail industry of New Zealand is an important driver of the country’s economy. Given the huge demand of consumption of the retail goods and the constant increase in the value of New Zealand Dollars in the market the retail sector has driven interest among consumers. Since the late 90s the New Zealand retail market has flourished significantly. The retail sales growth has seen huge growth in the recent past. With the price inflation low in the market averaging just 1.3 percent per annum the volume of sales growth has been quite obtrusive. The retail industry of New Zealand comprises of number of bigger organisations Fonterra, foodstuffs, Genesis Energy Ltd, Goodman Fielder and top supermarket brands like Woolworths and Coles and one of the newest additions like Countdown. Countdown Malls and supermarkets have become an emerging organisation in the country New Zealand (Cerasoli, Nicklin & Ford, 2014).  With the improved understanding of consumers companies like Countdown Supermarket became one of the fastest growing supermarkets in the country. It is important to mention that Countdown Supermarket within a short period of time has been able to manage a huge amount of business which has influenced consumers to increase their transactions in the market. With the increase in the retail transactions Countdown Supermarket also increased its recruitment which would help the organisation to provide the best possible service to the consumers and this has also contributed to the New Zealand’s economy. It could be said that presently the retail industry involves around 35% of the total workforce which includes all sorts of retail. The involvement of workforce in retail has been consistent but there are number of issues of employee engagement which has happened due to a number of reasons in the New Zealand Retail market (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014).


The importance of employee engagement

Employee engagement is one of the key aspects that every organisation needs to emphasise on. Better employee engagement is the secret to success for the organisations. In the era of excessive competition and increasing pressure in the retail market the aspect of employee engagement has become extremely important for the organisations seeking to increase their productivity and improve market presence in the market. From the parlance of business management employee engagement could be defined as the way of engaging and motivating people to work for the organisation which would help to achieve the organisational objectives. Employee engagement is essential to motivate and encourage people to act for the best interest of the organisation. In retail especially employee engagement is of utmost importance as the retail industry is highly competitive and due to increased competition employee engagement stands to be one key tool to improve the overall productivity of the organisation (Abraham, 2012). Especially to say the retail market has always faced a significant competitive pressure and in this case situation the employees fail to have proper attachment with the organisations and so, fail to completely devote to the organisational operations. The importance of employee engagement cannot be denied as engaged employees are motivated employees and motivated employees ensure success for the organisation. Employees become disintegrated at work due to various reasons.

The common factors which influence employees at work mainly revolve around motivating the employees. For instance poor working conditions will have significant impact on the employees which has happened in number of retail organisations. Taking clues from cases of Tesco and Wal-Mart it could be said that poor working conditions will definitely have a negative impact on the employee engagement. On the other hand poor reward system in the organisation could also have negative influence at work which most of the retail companies will have to focus on eliminating to get the best possible response (Mishra, Boynton & Mishra, 2014). Countdown Supermarket Rotorua has to understand the importance of employee engagement which would help to get enhanced performance from the employees to increase its productivity in the market. Critically analysing the importance of employee engagement it could be said that with effective employee engagement the organisation will be able to achieve its organisational objectives as the employees are motivated and highly driven by the needs and wants of the organisation. It is essential to mention that effective employee engagement is considered as integral for an organisation to perform effectively as engaged employees have centralised mindset which definitely helps to contribute to the overall success of the organisation (Petrou et al., 2012).

In the New Zealand retail industry workforce attrition is comparatively higher and the main reason for this is considered to be lack of motivation of the workers to work for the company which might happen when the employees do not want to work for the company due to poor working condition, lack of respect, improper work life balance and one of the main concerns remains to be payment and emoluments. Since retail industry is competitive it mainly looks towards hiring employees with lesser demands and this often leads to increased staff turnover and higher attrition which definitely affects employee engagement (Yalabik et al., 2013). From the critical point of view it could be said that employee engagement is not only important for the short term achievement of objectives but it is important for the long terms sustenance of an organisation in the market and hence Countdown Supermarket in Rotorua should implement different strategies to increase employee engagement. In the recent past the organisation has failed to retain experienced staffs which clearly show the Countdown Rotorua branch lacks strategies to engage employees at work which is one big problem. Given the kind of competition the organisation faces in the New Zealand Retail market it is essential for the organisation to look for key strategies which would help to make sure the organisation is able to improve its employee engagement in the market. Through the analysis it is quite clear that employee engagement is important for an organisation in this case for Countdown Supermarket Rotorua branch for increasing its productivity, daily sales and also enhancement of the market opportunities (Zhang, De Pablos & Zhang, 2012).


Incentives at Work

Incentives are considered to be a way of motivating employees at work. Incentives could be defined as the way to recognising the good work of an employee at work and rewarding him to respect the work and motivate the employee to keep on doing the good work for the organisation. Incentives at work are given only to enhance and motivate the employees effectively which would help the organisation get more and more good performances from the employees which helps to get effective sustainable competitive advantage in the market. Incentives could be of different types mainly monetary and non-financial incentives. The incentives are largely effective in driving the interest of the employees to work for the organisation and hence it could be said that providing incentives at work is important to constantly motivate the employees. Cash incentives are often announced by the retail organisations in order to keep the employees encouraged to give their best (Reijseger et al., 2012). The trend of providing incentives at work is not new but with the competition increasing most organisations focuses on engaging the employees through incentives provision at work. Cash incentives, spot incentives, bonuses, salary promotions are certain ways of enhancing the opportunity for the employees to work for the organisation. With the increase in retail market competition incentives have become important to improve the possibilities of the employees to show better performance for the organisation. In New Zealand the retail market has become highly competitive this is why incentives stand to be a good short term strategy to encourage employees to work for an organisation effectively. Hence it could be said that incentives at work is definitely effective (Sparrow, 2013).

Relation between incentives and employee engagement

Top management scholars are with this idea that incentives are extremely important to enhance employee engagement. Incentives could be effective in engaging the employees to operate for the organisation. Providing employee benefits and incentives often act effectively to engage employees to get the best possible response from them. Analysing critically it could be said that providing effective incentives is capable of driving employees positively and they also tend to perform better as compared to other employees. As per the Human resource journal it could be said that the different incentives scheme and plan tend to affect the employee well being to a large extent and increases the commitment and job satisfaction of the employees which largely contributes to the overall improvement of the performance of the organisation (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). At the Rotorua branch of the Countdown supermarket it has been visible that employees who are exposed to better incentive plans they have performed well for the organisation Countdown Supermarket. The analysis based on the employees and incentives also showed that performance related pay has better impact on the employees and definitely has positive effect on the employees of the organisation. Countdown Supermarket has introduced number of incentive plans and spot incentives which are mostly cash incentives that motivate employees to constantly better own performance and given enhanced performance every time through customer service and sells of merchandise. It is also important to mention that the employees of Countdown Supermarket Rotorua are largely exposed to incentives and profit related pay and it is there for taking which has also helped them to constantly compete among each other to get the reward which overall contributes to the enhanced productivity of the organisation (Zhang, De Pablos & Zhang, 2012). Hence it could be said that there is apparently there is a positive relation between the employee engagement and incentive offering by the organisation. Better incentive scheme and offering helps the organisation to engage employees constantly and develop their overall relationship in a highly competitive market environment. At the onset of this research paper the relevant questions which the study focused on addressing are:

  • Are the employees at Countdown Rotorua influenced and engaged by incentives at work?
  • How is the operation of Countdown Mall Rotorua influenced by employee engagement?

Conceptual Framework

Conceptual Framework

Gaps Found

The above literature review has discussed the relationship between incentive and employee engagement at work. Even though the literature gathered have been effectively analysed but the analysis has not been able to highlight the negative influence of incentive on employee engagement and this is one gap that could be addressed effectively. In this analysis incentive is mainly discussed based on the employee performance but it doesn’t talk completely about rewards which are largely related to incentives.



The present literature review discusses the key variables of the research namely incentives and employee engagement at work. It is important to mention that incentives have positive impact on the employee satisfaction which naturally increases the engagement of the employees with the organisation Countdown Supermarket Rotorua.  The present literature review has been able to cover up the key objectives and the research question related to the subject of the research.

Key Findings

From the above discussion it is clear that there is a strong relationship between employee engagement and incentives at work. It could be concluded that incentives at work influence employees to perform for the organisation. Even though incentives are of different kinds it becomes extremely important for the management of the organisation Countdown Mall to make sure they utilise the tool effectively to motivate players effectively. Various models and theories have been discussed in the literature to justify the relationship between the two variables. The study highlights that employee engagement improves quality of services which is extremely important to operate in a competitive environment. Hence it could be said that incentives at work could definitely improve employee engagement. Further it is important to note that only incentives at work might not influence employees and there is several other aspects which would influence employee engagement and hence there is a need of further study to be done upon them to understand the exact impact of incentives.

Potential Users of the Study

The users who will be facilitated by the findings of this study are the different retail organisations like Countdown in New Zealand and even overseas organisations like Woolworth’s and Coles in the neighboring Australia. This will also help the research organisations and Management researchers who are interested to analyse the impact of incentives on employee engagement. It will also help the students pursuing management studies.



Abraham, S. (2012). Job satisfaction as an antecedent to employee engagement. SIES Journal of    Management, 8(2), 27.

Armstrong, M., & Taylor, S. (2014). Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

Arrowsmith, J., & Parker, J. (2013). The meaning of ‘employee engagement’for the values and roles of the HRM function. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(14), 2692-2712.

Breevaart, K., Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2014). Daily self-management and employee work engagement. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 84(1), 31-38.

Cerasoli, C. P., Nicklin, J. M., & Ford, M. T. (2014). Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives jointly predict performance: A 40-year meta-analysis. Psychological bulletin, 140(4), 980.

Daley, D. M. (2012). Strategic human resource management. Public Personnel Management, 120-125.

Deterding, S. (2012). Gamification: designing for motivation. interactions, 19(4), 14-17.

Mishra, K., Boynton, L., & Mishra, A. (2014). Driving employee engagement: The expanded role of internal communications. International Journal of Business Communication, 51(2), 183-202.

Nelson, B. (2012). 1501 ways to reward employees. Workman Publishing.

Petrou, P., Demerouti, E., Peeters, M. C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Hetland, J. (2012). Crafting a job on a daily basis: Contextual correlates and the link to work engagement. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(8), 1120-1141.

Reijseger, G., Schaufeli, W., Peeters, M. C., & Taris, T. W. (2012). Ready, set, go! A model of the relation between work engagement and performance.

Saks, A. M., & Gruman, J. A. (2014). What do we really know about employee engagement?. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 25(2), 155-182.

Shields, J., Brown, M., Kaine, S., Dolle-Samuel, C., North-Samardzic, A., McLean, P., ... & Plimmer, G. (2015). Managing Employee Performance & Reward: Concepts, Practices, Strategies. Cambridge University Press.

Sparrow, P. (2013). Strategic HRM and employee engagement. Employee engagement in theory and practice, 99-115.

Yalabik, Z. Y., Popaitoon, P., Chowne, J. A., & Rayton, B. A. (2013). Work engagement as a mediator between employee attitudes and outcomes. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(14), 2799-2823.

Zhang, X., De Pablos, P. O., & Zhang, Y. (2012). The relationship between incentives, explicit and tacit knowledge contribution in online engineering education project. International Journal of Engineering Education, 28(6), 1341.


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