Hiring and Keeping Good Store Level Employees

Mar 12, 2004
Al McClain

By Al McClain

Anyone in retailing can tell you that attracting and retaining qualified and dedicated workers can be a real challenge. Just as consumer demand management is now tilting towards science more so than art, ‘workforce selection’ is too, even for small operators. With the average cost of replacing a store-level employee already at $4,000 ($5,000 in union situations), according to the Coca-Cola Research Council’s study on New Ideas for Retaining Store Level Employees, reducing the amount of turnover could have significant financial benefits.

Recently, Unicru unveiled a program called the Independent Grocer’s Solution, which is based on their general system (profiled by Progressive Grocer in 2002). The system claims to help independent operators reap significant benefits via a more streamlined and objective hiring system.

Chain customers such as Albertsons, A&P, Blockbuster, CVS, Kroger, Spartan, are current users of Grocer’s Solution. The system lowers hiring and labor costs by presenting only the most qualified candidates to the hiring managers, and providing better reporting.

Unicru clients report numbers such as a 24 percent improvement in retention, and 45 percent in first week terminations.

The program has candidates complete an electronic application from home or via an on-site kiosk. The application is sent back to Unicru where it is graded and a background check performed. The resulting report goes to the manager’s desktop within 10 minutes.

The net result is store managers only talk to pre-qualified candidates, paperwork is nearly eliminated, the interview process becomes less subjective, etc. So, hiring costs
go down and results improve.

Moderator’s Comment: How can retailers of all sizes and shapes improve hiring and retention

Obviously, the hiring process can’t be put on “autopilot”. Anybody ever taken a lie-detector test? (Hint: they aren’t foolproof, nor is any
system). But, combining a web-based streamlined process such as this with a group of smart and empowered store managers would seem to have strong potential.

McClain – Moderator

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