By: Jeff Moore
The labor pool is full of entry-level jobs and not enough workers to fill them. Last month, 68% of grocers rated current labor availability as “difficult” or “very difficult”.
More than ever restaurants, retailers and grocers are competing against one another for limited applicants. Some methods for attracting workers are obvious like raising wages, improving benefits and increasing employee discounts, but these can also drastically affect profit potential. Some methods are much more cost-effective.
Follow these 3 tips to design a grocery store that improves the day-to-day operations for staff while also elevating the in-store experience for shoppers.
1. Reduce time needed for repetitive tasks.
Especially for short-staffed stores, it’s important to be mindful of your employee’s workload or you may risk losing them. Tasks like conditioning products to enforce first in, first out (FIFO) is important to reduce shrink but can be repetitive for employees.
Display systems like pusher trays can cut down on employee workload by drastically reducing the need to condition products. It also reduces false out-of-stocks and keeps products in FIFO order. As their name suggest, pusher trays will push items forward, which improves the in-store shopping experience. For grocery store employees, pusher trays like the SpaceGrid® II can easily pull out to be restocked and auto-condition products.
2. Fill the holes with technology.
In some cases, technology can make certain tasks more efficient. Research found 87% of grocery store employees feel that new technologies can make their jobs easier. These technological advancements can save 25-40 minutes per associate per shift, which saves grocers $13.8 billion as an industry. These technologies can assist with labor-intensive tasks like online order fulfillment—a task that didn’t exist just a few years ago.
3. Improve stores with safety in mind.
Understaffed stores and constant turnover can unfortunately lead to less-than-ideal amounts of on-site training. It is crucial for grocers to create an environment that is safe for seasoned pros and less experienced employees. And even small improvements can make a big difference in the 100,000 annual industry-related injuries experienced in grocery stores (96% of which were occupational injuries).
Evaluate front-of-house and back-of-house lighting and ensure aisles are wide enough for click-and-collect picking carts, stocking carts and shopping carts to move comfortably without collisions. These improvements, among others, can reduce workplace injuries and time off as a result. Providing a safe work environment can also create and maintain a good reputation within community word-of-mouth.
As the holiday seasons and increased spending approach, it is more important than ever for grocers to onboard part-time, full-time and seasonal team members. Pusher tray systems like SpaceGrid® II, Space Grid® II On Bar system, and SpaceGrid® HiGlide can improve the appearance of your grocery store while reducing the need for conditioning and the time needed to restock. Learn more about our innovative pusher tray systems here.