Sysco Case Study
Read the following case study:
HR Contributes at SYSCO
people in the United States are not familiar with SYSCO, but they see
its results because SYSCO is the largest food services and distribution
company with almost $24 billion in annual sales. SYSCO supplies food
products to customers in restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, hospitals,
and other companies. In a firm the size of SYSCO with more than 40,000
employees, HR management is making significant contributions to
organizational success. As an indication of this success, SYSCO received
the Optimas award for general HR Excellence from Workforce Magazine.
several years ago, the need to revitalize HR activities was recognized
by both executives and senior HR staff members. At the time, the SYSCO
operating regions had administered many of their own HR practices. To
bring change to HR corporate-wide, while preserving the entrepreneurial
independence of the regions, a “market-driven” HR
approach was developed. In this approach, corporate HR identified ways
it could assist regional operations, and then developed programs and
services that met regional needs.
However, unlike in many other corporations where corporate HR programs would be “mandated”
to operating units, SYSCO took a different approach. Key to
market-driven HR is that managers in the regional operations must be
convinced to “buy” the corporate HR services. For example, if a
supervisory training program is developed by corporate HR, regional
managers decide if they want to use the program for supervisory training
in their regions.
Another part of creating HR as market driven was the establishment by corporate HR of a Virtual Resource Center
(VRC) to provide services to managers and employees. A key aspect of
the VRC is use of HR technology to gather extensive data on HR
activities and provide that data to operating managers. One source of
data is workplace climate surveys of employees. Using the survey data,
HR developed initiatives to increase safety, which reduced workers’
compensation claims by 30%, resulting in savings of $10 million per
Another problem that SYSCO had was high turnover rates
of night shift warehouse workers. Recruiting these workers has been a
constant challenge for SYSCO and other distribution firms. By
implementing a variety of programs and services, based on employee and
managerial input from surveys, the retention rate for these warehouse
employees has been increased by 20%, resulting in savings of $15 million
per year. These savings are due to reduced time and money spent
recruiting, selecting, and training new employees. Also, employees with
more experience are more productive and more knowledgeable about SYSCO
operations and products.
Another area where HR has
contributed is with truck and delivery drivers. Data gathered through
the VRC has been used to revise base pay and incentive programs,
increase driver retention rates, and improve driver safety records.
Additionally, customer satisfaction rates increased and delivery
All of these changes illustrate that HR
efforts at SYSCO have been paying off for the company, managers, and
employees. But as the value of HR efforts is recognized by more
managers, HR’s role at SYSCO is likely to continue growing and changing
Write a 2-3 page paper. In the paper address the following questions:
- How does the market-driven approach illustrate that HR has strategic, operational, and administrative roles at SYSCO?
what types of HR changes could have affected reductions in workers’
compensation expenses, employee turnover, and increases in customer
Include a cover sheet and 2-3 references.
References should be obtained through the Grantham University online
library. Only one website reference will be allowed (not Wikipedia).
Please adhere to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological
Association (APA), 6th ed., 2nd printing when writing and submitting
assignments and papers.