Volume hire onboarding is more than a new starter checklist, it’s integral to operational success, as Liam O’Meara, VP of Europe, Axonify explains. This article first appeared in ESM Issue 1 2022.
The grocery industry is going through a time of change like nothing we’ve ever seen before. The cataclysmic effect of Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and industry misconceptions amongst the incoming Gen Z demographic are just some examples of why we’re seeing such seismic shifts in areas such as volume of labour and changing customer expectations.
It’s for these reasons that tasks such as hiring and onboarding the right employees effectively are increasingly taking their place on the agenda of grocery c-suite executives.
In the run up to the 2021 Christmas period, Sainsbury’s set out to hire 22,000 seasonal workers, many of them on the frontline. This is a typical hiring trend for the industry, but leaders are now paying closer attention to how those workers can impact the business through their performance, rather than simply fill a seat.
Getting enough candidates through the doors in the first place is a pain felt by more than a third of retail leaders, according to a 2021 study by Korn Ferry. Coupled with the fact that seasonal job searches are down by 27% from 2019 [Indeed.com, 2021], it’s no surprise that operational leaders are taking a more vested interest in maximising onboarding effectiveness to drive performance from staff.
By shining a light on how they onboard and implement personalised experiences, grocers are giving their frontline workers the in-depth knowledge and skills that they need to quickly increase store efficiency and optimise the customer experience.
Supporting The Workforce
Another reason that volume hiring is finding itself on the boardroom agenda is the cost associated with onboarding. Reports vary about the true costs, but most commentators report figures in the range of £2,500 (just under €3,000) or more per person, which quickly adds up when you have thousands of new hires each year.
Many grocers have focused on cutting back initial training costs, but the real impact of new hires is felt outside the classroom, and on the shop floor, where sub-optimal performance impacts the efficiency of the operation. Only by taking into account time to competency, and supporting a new hire throughout their entire onboarding process, can a truly effective and efficient solution be implemented.
Poor onboarding can also lead to early attrition, a particular challenge when ready-made replacements are not available. High churn rates are something of a natural byproduct of seasonal hiring in grocery, however there’s more and more evidence to show that a strategic and personalised onboarding experience, even for short-term tenures, improves not only speed to productivity but also new hire retention.
Analyst firm Brandon Hall Group found through their research that a strong onboarding process improves employee retention by 82% – when we think about that in financial terms, it has a huge impact.
We’re seeing many of our Axonify clients in grocery continue to navigate the challenges from the past few years, and it’s easy to see that the frontline has a huge impact on that.
Whether the goal is improved operational efficiency, providing new services or improving the customer experience, having a frontline workforce in place that is skilled in the right areas, is agile enough to adapt, and is fulfilled in their role, is the key to success.
To find out more visit axonify.com/use-cases/onboarding
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