The grocery sector is one of the country’s largest employers, and also has one of the largest churns. The Globe and Mail reported that part-time workers make up 19% of the total labour force, but the turnover rate is as high as 65% among cashiers in grocery and department stores.  According to a Canadian Grocery HR Council study, turnover rates in this sector can be as high as 64.9% for non-management, part-time workers.

If your local workforce reflects the trends in the grocery industry, here are five things you can do to make sure they stick around longer than the average part-timer.


  1. Have an ‘always-on’ recruitment strategy

To make sure you have enough staff to cover normal and peak periods, vacations, sick time and other employee absences, you should maintain an active recruitment strategy and pipeline of applicants. If you’re constantly generating candidates to choose from, you’ll have access to better quality hires when the need arises.

However, it’s not about having a ‘rotating door’ of part-time staff–it’s having people in your back pocket so you’re always covered. If your employees feel like they can take a sick day or a vacation without interrupting your operations–and you know you won’t be at a loss for hands needed on deck–they may be more likely to stick around.


  1. Be transparent with your candidates

You want to impress good candidates with the benefits of working for you. But leaving out or downplaying some of the realities of your business can backfire. People quit when the job doesn’t meet expectations.

In order to attract and retain the right people, be competitive with your offer but also upfront about the job details, compensation, hours, and potential side responsibilities. Try to incorporate some of these topics into the interview process. For example, you could ask a candidate if they’re available to change shifts from time to time and describe a potential situation. Their response will tell you a lot about how they’ll approach the job.

Being clear at offer stage is also critical in setting expectations, both verbally and in the contract. This will minimize misunderstandings later on, reducing turnover in the process.


  1. Provide structured onboarding

Another key retention tool for new hires is proper training and support, especially in the first few weeks. You should have a structured, 2-4 week onboarding program that sets your new staff up for success as quickly as possible.

Formal onboarding has multiple benefits:

  • New hires will feel that the company sees their success as important from day one, which is crucial for brand loyalty.
  • Onboarding maximizes and accelerates productivity of new hires.
  • It provides training and coaching opportunities for your experienced staff, which can be enriching for them, and an opportunity for bonuses and recognition.
  • It establishes an easy-to-follow staff development and performance roadmap.


  1. Monitor and measure progress and performance

Provide clear expectations, monitor performance, and give ongoing feedback. Top performers want to know what they’re doing well and where they can improve–especially millennials.

By setting goals and benchmarks, your staff will know what success measures are important to you and to the job. When done well, this can motivate staff while giving you a better idea of the employee’s ROI.


  1. Ask for feedback

Send a post-onboarding survey to collect feedback on the experience. Not only can you pull great ideas from new employees, your staff will know that their contributions are valued and important. You may also want to think about offering bonuses and recognition to staff when you implement their ideas.

Grocery is a high turnover industry, but with patience and persistence, you can keep a steady workforce in place. It comes down to maintaining a pipeline of strong candidates to draw from and good quality management practices. For support in building and maintaining a qualified talent pipeline, drop us a line.


About Mindfield

Mindfield is a Recruitment Outsourcing solutions provider that partners with companies to create powerful hourly workforces. Our solutions combine a recruitment team, simple to use technology and a data-driven hiring strategy that promises to improve the quality of your hourly workforce. This approach focuses on tying business outcomes such as sales performance, tenure, and engagement to the selection, hiring and measurement of quality candidates.