A.F. Blakemore and Son Ltd - Growing You

A.F. Blakemore and Son Ltd used the Competency Map to refine an already thorough behavioural framework, in order to comprehensively define the behaviours expected of their CR professionals.

Organisational Context

The BITC CR Competency Framework has provided a great reference point for our existing performance management system, Growing You, that seeks to promote and emebed A.F. Blakemore’s core values as the company grows and expands in the future.

- Paul Cowley,
Corporate Affairs Manager, A.F. Blakemore and Son
A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd was founded by Arthur and Harriet Blakemore and began life as a 350 sq ft counter service store, located in Wolverhampton. Over the past century, under the stewardship of Arthur’s son Frank and grandson, Peter, the organisation has grown into one of the largest privately owned companies in the U.K.

A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd has a national customer base and is comprised of seven separate divisions – Tates retail stores, SPAR Distribution, Blakemore Logistics, Blakemore Wholesale, Blakemore Food Service, Blakemore Fresh Foods and Complete Shopfitting Ltd.

The company’s success has been built upon a distinct culture focussed upon positive and friendly relations with staff, customers and the communities it serves. This is outlined in the company’s values statement, The Blakemore Way, which ensures that the long-standing values of the Blakemore family will continue to drive the company’s growth for the new century.

Desired Business Outcomes

A.F. Blakemore has expanded rapidly over the past 20 years and has a clear growth strategy for the future. An integral element of this business plan is that the core values that have defined the company’s culture will be maintained as A.F. Blakemore opens new premises and moves into new trading areas.

Growing You, their performance management system, was introduced at the start of 2010 and has been built around the values highlighted in the Blakemore Way. Their system includes a self-assessment, built around a competency framework, which outlines the expected behaviours required for employees at all levels. Employees are given a greater understanding of what departments are trying to achieve, in line with the company strategy, and personal development plans are agreed to help individuals, departments and succeed in the future.

As CR is a relatively new profession, the company wanted to ensure that their CR specialists were being appropriately assessed by Growing You.


As CR is embedded within the Blakemore Way it is vital that the behaviours and skills required are reflected across the organisation’s performance management system. Such skills and behaviours are rarely featured in traditional performance management systems.

A.F. Blakemore also has a growing CR team which is looking to develop for the future, and the personal development of the CR team is vital to ongoing success.

How the Challenges were Overcome

The BITC CR Competency Framework was used to help identify key CR related behaviours that could be incorporated into the Growing You system. The CR Practitioner Competency Map helped A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd to:

  • Provide a point of reference for its existing performance management system, Growing You. This will enable the company to review and develop Growing You and utilise the expertise generated through cross-company research involving CR Practioners natiowide.

  • Identify the necessary skills sets for its CR Team and provide a point of reference for future training, development and recruitment.