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HR & Benefits News: Smart Hiring Tips For Independent Grocers

Chris Cooley, HR
Chris Cooley

HR & Benefits News is a monthly column by Chris Cooley, co-founder of MyHRConcierge and SMB Benefits Advisors.

The independent grocery business is a tough and turbulent market. Grocery has never been easy, but the current business model is more challenging than we may have predicted. With online ordering and pick-up sales, the landscape of grocery is changing.

As a grocer, it is important to adapt to the trends and to implement systems within your own establishment that are effective. Wasting money is the last thing that you want to do in your business.
We believe that effective and efficient hiring is a major way you can be sure to relieve stress within your business.


Effective and efficient hiring can create less turnover.

Employee turnover is something that every business with workers experiences. When employees leave, it’s costly for your business. It takes time and money to find and train a replacement. That’s why it’s best for businesses to reduce their turnover as much as possible.

Keeping employees starts with one main idea. Hire the right people!

Job descriptions, interviewing and screening processes can play a major part in finding the right employee(s). It is important to find honest and ethical employees that you can trust and depend on. Using a thorough background check company can ensure that you get what you see, and provide you with the proper documentation along the way. Not all screening companies are created equal, and choosing one that is user friendly and offers a broad search for background checks along with specific ongoing monitoring, can make a big difference in your outcome.


Effective hiring can be cost effective, in both the short and long term.

In the short term, smart hiring starts with how you promote or advertise your job posting. There are multiple ways to do this, however, the thing that is most important is the ease in which an applicant can apply and how the process is managed.

It is important to ask yourself if you make this a user-friendly process, or whether this is a cumbersome one. Most applicants are seeking a job out of need and move quickly. Mobile phone apps and text options, make the application process good for the applicant but also a smart first step for the employer. With a smart Applicant Tracking System (ATS), you can save money on advertising and utilize a code for applicants to apply by text. This can speed up the process and be much more effective and will move a bit faster than old-school methods. This will save you money on the front end in advertising, as well as time and paperwork.

Once the applicant is in the system, be sure to have the job description and posting set up accurately, so that the applicant sees all the details that the job entails. A key benefit of job descriptions is that they clearly and concisely outline the job requirements. In some cases, lack of a job description causes employees misunderstand the requirements of the job. Even when you are thorough during the interview process, you might be surprised to learn a new hire is missing a skill he needs for a particular position. Job descriptions are a great way to ensure that your critical job requirements remain front and center. Job descriptions can also support reasons for termination, which can mitigate fallout from a situation with an unhappy employee.


Don’t discount the value of WOTC credits to your business.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) can help grocers offset personnel costs by providing tax credits for hiring applicants who often are overlooked, such as people with criminal histories, military veterans and the long-term unemployed.

Not only can the WOTC program help HR professionals address the challenge of hiring  diverse qualified applicants, it also has a positive financial impact on the overall hiring budget. However, it is important that a system is in place to effectively and efficiently identify available tax credits.

Employers should have the right technology in place to streamline applicant screening, and to verify for WOTC eligibility. Using a proven HR professional and ATS with this information easily accessible is key to success in this area.

Chris Cooley is co-founder of MyHRConcierge and SMB Benefits Advisors. MyHRConcierge specializes in helping small to mid-sized grocers throughout the U.S. Cooley can be reached at 855-538-6947, ext. 108 or at [email protected].

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