5 Tips to Reduce Employee Turnover & Absenteeism

John Waldmann
Co-founder and CEO, Homebase

Your employees are your business. They greet and serve your customers, they open and close your store(s), they handle the money, and they work alongside you daily. Each night, they leave, and each morning, you hope they come back.

There are a lot of other employers that would love to hire your employees. In the city of Houston, there are around 650 job postings a day just on Craigslist for hourly workers, while in Los Angeles, there are 800. You’ve got to ensure that your employees are happy, or they might look elsewhere. So, what are the driving motivators for grocery store employees to change jobs, and what can you do to improve employee retention?

1. Create flexible working hours

There’s currently a lot of chatter about Millennials and how to manage them. More than two-thirds of all service-industry employees are under 35 years old, and three out 10 are between ages 19 and 26. Often, they’re students balancing inconsistent study schedules, or people working multiple jobs. Millennials value flexibility, and being flexible to your employees’ personal obligations when building a schedule will greatly improve their satisfaction. Better yet, provide them with the ability to give input into their start and end times.

2. Be consistent

Last-minute changes can make income and life unpredictable for workers, and is now getting attention from politicians in states like Oregon and New York. Creating consistent weekly schedules weeks in advance is a big win if you’re looking to improve employee retention. Look for a software provider that enables you to create reusable scheduling templates, informs your employees of their schedules weeks in advance, and allows them to submit requests for time off or trade a shift with a colleague.

3. Offer training

Professional development is a powerful way of keeping employees happy and productive. Can you offer your employees training in some new skills? Can they work in another department one day a week, or move over entirely to see a new part of the business? Is there a relevant seminar or class they want to take that might also improve their work? Think outside the box, and you’ll watch your employees’ contentment and productivity rise.

4. Incentivize results

Even when times are busy (always), don’t forget to reward your star performers. Results that go unnoticed can be deflating to employees and can give them a reason to start looking elsewhere. Look at ways to keep track of employees who consistently perform. For example, acknowledge their on-time arrivals (some software solutions can track this automatically), and reward them with a small token of appreciation. Your employees will appreciate the recognition and feel inspired to continue their efforts.

5. Communicate!

Last, but definitely not least, communication is fundamental to any relationship, and it’s particularly important in the workplace. Some messages need to be communicated verbally and in person, like feedback on how an employee is doing at his or her job. Other messages can be delivered electronically. For instance, most small businesses still handle time-off or shift trade requests on paper or verbally, and these can easily get lost or forgotten. Putting systems in place that improve the ability to quickly and clearly communicate with employees can have a huge impact on employees’ output.

Reducing employee turnover should be a goal for all grocery store owners and managers. If you follow these suggestions, your employees will want to remain with you, and you’ll be glad they did.

About the Author

John Waldmann

John Waldmann is the co-founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Homebase, which provides a free real-time software solution that helps more than 60,000 small businesses eliminate the paperwork of managing their hourly employees, manage overtime, and curb absenteeism and turnover.

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