Annual Report 2023

Prepare for the future

We believe that personal and professional development is one of the most important investments we can make as an employer. Guided by the belief that learning should be lifelong, we focus on training our employees to excel in their roles and on ensuring that they have the tools they need to thrive in an increasingly demanding environment in the multiple dimensions of their lives.

Close-up of hands using a laptop keyboard (photo)

In 2023, we provided nearly 7.4 million hours of training, corresponding an average of 55 training hours per employee and an investment of 18.7 million euros. With over 220 thousand training courses, we trained 93.8% of our workforce (9 p.p. more than in 2022).

Key training indicators



Training volume (i)


Training hours per employee [GRI 404-1] (ii)


Total no. of training courses


































































































Training volume – number of training hours multiplied by the number of participants.


Training hours per employee – quotient of the training volume divided by the total number of employees.

Our investment in digital learning platforms such as EducAction enables training content to reach increasingly more employees. This platform is accessible by all our employees at any time and from anywhere and has made 5,375 compulsory and optional training materials (87.0% more than in 2022) available in different formats, such as e-learning, video and supporting documents for in-person training. In 2023, a total of 132,485 employees participated in training via EducAction, an average of 46 thousand active users per month. Knowledge Share, another digital platform, is a library that centralises over three thousand different types of content (news, articles, podcasts, webinars and other content) that seek to inspire and encourage the self-development of our managers. In 2023, we added 553 content materials to the platform.

We have also made significant strides in adopting new technologies to support training. At Biedronka, following a virtual reality training pilot on giving feedback, the Company implemented the technology in the onboarding process of store operators, specifically in the modules related to the bakery section. Hebe has also tested the technology to train employees in preventing workplace accidents. In total, 331 employees were trained using virtual reality.

To support our digital transformation, information technologies (IT) professionals had access to over 4,600 hours of technical, language and innovative work methodology training.

Leadership training

Our ambition is to develop and secure prepared leaders at all levels of the organisation, enabling us to continue to grow and deliver results. Leadership development also helps us to position ourselves in the labour market as a benchmark employer.

Among the many tools we make available to our leaders, of note is Be a Leader development programme. Be a Leader was created in 2018 in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and is unique, as it is fully customised to the needs of our businesses and has a value proposition leveraged on training paths adapted to each context (Leading Self, Leading Others and Leading Teams). It includes classroom training, individual coaching, and participation in collaborative learning groups focused on sharing experiences and interpersonal development. Since its launch and until the end of 2023, Be a Leader has trained a total of 1,283 managers. In 2023, we trained 215 people under this programme, investing more than 1.2 million euros.

Líder Ara (Ara Leader)

In rapid expansion and with the development of leaders as a top priority, Ara was the first Group Company to implement Be a Leader at operations level. The programme, initially tailored for area managers, was extended to store managers in 2023, with 1,196 people trained. 95.2% of store managers were covered by this training programme.

In addition to Be a Leader, which covers the managers of all Companies, in Colombia, Ara created Líder Ara (Ara Leader) programme, which is part of the Company’s Leadership School and also encompasses store managers. The first part of Líder Ara comprises ten microlearning modules that include videos or short articles that allow participants to acquire new knowledge. The second part consists of 30 webinars, led by in-house facilitators, the content of which is defined in partnership with CCL, based on an assessment of the main challenges in operations, and include self-knowledge, communication, delegation and a results-oriented mindset, among other topics.

After completing the ten modules, attending at least nine of the webinars and submitting a summary of the main lessons learned, participants receive a certificate, which is mandatory for possible career progression.

To encourage participation in the programme, Ara created an internal campaign that included announcing the first ten certified store managers in each region. To date, 77% of store managers have been certified, and 30 participants have been promoted to area managers.

To enhance the development of our leaders, we launched the Exponential Leadership programme, in partnership with CCL, aimed at creating a group of internal facilitators. A mentoring programme was also launched to encourage the transfer of knowledge and promote leadership by example. The programme included 53 mentor-mentee pairs in the first two pilot projects.

We also continued to train senior managers under the Strategic Management Programme, a partnership with Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics and Kellogg School of Management. This programme is tailored to our reality and consists of a learning experience with access to world-class content and instructors. A total of 532 thousand euros were invested in the programme in 2023 for the development of leaders with the greatest potential.

At local level, the Companies have implemented specific leadership programmes. Pingo Doce, in partnership with CCL, enhanced its De Bom a Excellent! (From Good to Excellent!) programme, which focuses on communication between leaders and teams, and its Programa Geral de Gestão de Loja (General Store Management Programme), aimed at developing critical management and business skills, which saw 196 store management employees trained. In 2023, Chef Estrela Michelin (Michelin Star Chef) programme was also launched, focusing exclusively on the development of 39 chefs and sous chefs in Pingo Doce kitchens, in particular in the areas of communication, emotional management and control, conflict management, and team motivation.

In Poland, Biedronka promoted Akademia Zarządzania dla SOM (Management Academy for Senior Operations Managers) and Biedronkowa Akademia Zarządzania 2.0 (Biedronka 2.0 Management Academy) for store managers. In 2023, a total of 1,643 employees participated in these two programmes (51.2% more than in 2022).

Business training

Given our value proposition, underpinned by our commitment to offering fresh products to the millions of consumers who visit our stores every day, the training provided to our operations teams (who account for 97.5% of our total workforce) focuses primarily on the performance of their duties, while at the same time seeking to promote their continued employability. Training offer is regularly updated, with specialisation in perishables being one of our major areas of focus.

Escola de Frescos (Perishables School – focused on training in the butchery, bakery, meal solutions and fish categories), the fruit and vegetable training programme for store managers and district managers, and other perishables training programmes in Portugal combined have trained a total of 19,559 Pingo Doce and Recheio employees. At Biedronka, the basic and advanced modules of the Zostań Świeżoznawcą (Become a Perishables Expert) programme trained 12,881 employees and, at Ara, 18,249 people were trained in perishables.

In order to improve the training process and to cope with Ara’s expansion, the Company created the field trainer position, responsible for onboarding new employees, prioritising their training. The 24 field trainers have thus far trained 2,100 people.

Customer service is also a core competence in our companies. A total of 27,677 employees completed customer service training. Pingo Doce relaunched and trained its store operators in the SVAL – Sorrir, Vender, Agradecer, Limpar (Smile, Sell, Thank, Clean) customer service model. Ara designed a new customer service model, based on the pillars of personal appearance, customer service protocol and operational protocol. Biedronka also started a training programme for operations leaders focused on customer service standards.

Commercial skills were also developed during the year, with a total of 1,930 hours of training provided to 181 employees in Portugal. The Lead the Commercial Way programme, focused on offering advanced management skills training to employees in the commercial area, as well as a partnership with IMD for topics related with negotiation techniques and strategies, and specialised e-learning courses were instrumental in this regard.

With regard to the business transformation and operational efficiency processes currently underway at Biedronka, Hebe, Pingo Doce and Ara, 26,315 employees received training in new business processes.

Hebe is a benchmark in the Group when it comes to the digitisation of management and operational processes. At its head office, the Company provided training with partners of excellence for 47 people in areas such as IT, e-commerce and commercial. The aim is to ensure that these employees are prepared for a strategic digital transformation pathway. Hebe’s distribution centre is progressively being automated and 60 operators have been trained to operate a new robot that increases the efficiency of sorting boxes for shipment to stores using RFID technology1.

1 RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) is a wireless connection technology that transmits data via radio frequency, enabling the remote tracking and identification of objects.

Tag Manager