Tesco is sending teams of head office staff into stores in a bid to improve the morale and performance of night workers.

As part of CEO Philip Clarke’s drive to improve stores, the retailer said it wanted to improve the transition between the night and day shifts in the wake of issues with availability and the standard of merchandising.

The work was aimed at “smoothing the handover between shifts” but was not an admission of “overarching morale problems”, said a spokesman.

Tesco’s move, which comes as Clarke tries to ramp up the quality of its fresh food departments, is set to include the introduction of extra staff as well as new methods of working. Staff had posted anonymous complaints about the lack of manpower for night shifts on an online staff forum.

Clarke has been spearheading a review of staff practices across the country, after admitting recently that Tesco stores had been understaffed and that workers had lacked training.

Last year, Tesco launched a so-called Listen and Fix exercise to identify staff problems and the new initiative also built on that, said Tesco personnel director, Judith Nelson.

“There has been a significant investment across the business as a result of Listen and Fix,” she said. “We have not yet been able to tackle every issue that has been raised, but we have plans in place to address many more over the coming year, including improving how we listen to staff in the future.

“We have not set in stone what we will do in the future, but we do know that we have a powerful tool for employee engagement and that everyone who works here is better off as a result.”