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They say good employees are hard to find, and in the grocery industry, it seems, they are very hard to find, especially when you want to add to your staff or retain existing employees.

As an industry, the grocery business experiences turnover at a rate of 26.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time the national average is 18.8 percent.

Understanding the real reasons for staff turnover

The root of employee turnover may be different than you think. According to a study published in the Journal of Business and Economics Research, managers believe people leave because they don’t like the job or their pay. They also believe little can be done to prevent turnover.

However, the research shows that the root cause of this turnover is employees who are simply burned out in their roles and see quitting as their only option. This employee burnout comes from three highly flammable fuels:

  • Emotional exhaustion: This is defined as mental fatigue that comes from a heavier workload than the employee can handle.
  • Cynicism: This state arises when the employee does not trust their colleagues, nor the organization. What fuels cynicism is a lack of respect and trust from managers along with a lack of good relationships among co-workers.
  • Inefficiency: This strikes when employees feel a lack of control over their workday, along with a feeling that their work is not making a meaningful contribution.

While it won’t surprise any manager that employees are more apt to quit when they feel overworked/disliked, or they believe the work they are doing is not important, recognizing that these feelings are motivating turnover—as opposed to pay—is key to retaining the good people that are so hard to find.

Get our free ebook to improve your profit lineWhat questions should you be asking to impact company culture?

It all starts with employee engagement, as high engagement results are cited widely as leading to less turnover, more satisfied customers and higher profits.

Research shows engagement starts from the top and continues through the chain of command. When executives are highly engaged, managers and employees are more likely to care about the organization and how they perform within it. In fact, when managers are engaged, employees are too. Eighty percent of employees report they would work more hours if doing so for an empathetic employer and highly engaged businesses see their sales increase by 20 percent. 

With that in mind, here are a few questions to ask yourself as you consider ways to improve employee engagement:

  • Do you communicate your values?
  • Do employees get regular feedback beyond the clipboard critique? Do employees hear about their strengths along with their weaknesses?
  • Are busy managers pausing to check in with their employees and listen to them?
  • Are the paths to raises and promotions clearly laid out? Is guidance offered and available when employees express interest in advancing their careers?
  • Is there a mechanism for employees to give feedback and suggestions about operations and service? And do you then give credit when an employee’s suggestion is put into place?
Topco Indirect is a highly engaged sourcing organization focused on midsized businesses in grocery retail, wholesale, food service and other specialty retail sectors. They have provided more than 70 companies with cost savings, thanks to sourcing expertise across 12 categories of indirect spend, including Human Resources. Since 2010, they have saved clients more than $440 million, an average of 12 percent. Contact us today.