By: Allison Febrey, Manager, Research & Insights, FMI
In 2021, the food retail industry experienced 48% turnover in their overall retail workforce. While retailers have engaged in a number of programs to decrease turnover such as offering better wages/salaries, improved benefits, training/skills development as well as employee wellness programs, a key contributor to turnover is the employee/manager relationship as well as the overall strategy that the manager employs in their store or warehouse. Here are five ways to be a better manager.
Get To Know Your Employees On A Personal Level
Employees want to feel like their managers know who they are and care about how they are doing, not just on a professional level but also on a personal level. The best managers in the food industry report that they communicate with all of the employees on their shifts multiple times a day on matters related to the work at hand and those unrelated to their professional duties. They also report mentally keeping track as to what is going on in their employees’ personal lives so that they can follow up with them about both positive and negative events.
While managers have a lot of responsibility placed on them, they need to take care to be “in the trenches” with their employees. In particular, both managers and employees named their worst managers as those who were always in their offices and were never seen on the floor. While responsibilities are important, managers need to make time to pitch-in on the warehouse or store floor.
Build A Team-Oriented Culture
Managers set the culture of their store or warehouse in the context of the culture of their overall organization. Through their position, managers must make sure that they build a culture where employees want to work together towards the same goal. Ideally, employees will see their workplace as a family.
Show Employees The Way Forward
A top manager takes proactive steps to show employees the way forward in the organization and notices when their employees are exceeding their expectations. They chat with their employees to try and understand what their job and future goals are and try to put them in areas in the business where their job goals are met and their strengths can be utilized. This mentorship is a key role that managers serve.
Manage Expectations Around Flexibility
The number one thing that employees complained about with regards to their schedules was when they were not scheduled far enough in advance or changed right before their shift. The best managers take this into account when creating schedules and try their hardest to stick to the schedules that they created in advance. If managers need to modify schedules, they always carefully consider the impacts of their decisions on their employees and clearly communicate the reasons behind the decisions made. Above all, the key to both creation and changing of schedules is to maintain fairness so no favoritism is perceived.
For more ways to be a better manager in the food retail industry, check out Managerial Best Practices 2022: Guide For Food Retail Store Managers And Food Warehouse Managers Including Skills Practice Activities. This research was conducted in conjunction with and the Peck Fellowship at Saint Joseph’s University. This is the third in a three-year series.