Crew Stories: How a Growing Grocery Chain Sizably Reduced its Turnover
by Sean Oliver, on August 13, 2019
We’re inspired each time we get to sit down with a thoughtful frontline or above-store leader and hear about how they use Crew to drive better communications across their business. Most recently, we had the opportunity to connect with Francesca Costantino, human resources manager at Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, which is a growing supermarket group in New York and New Jersey.
Francesca is one of the many forward-thinking HR professionals turning to technology to support a cohesive company culture across locations. Crew helps her team with this effort by enabling instant employee recognition, engaging communications, as well as efficient scheduling – all of which leads to lower staff turnover. Read on for some of the best practices we uncovered during our conversation with Francesca.
Crew: Describe your role in the company.
Francesca: My role is full-cycle human resources – from recruitment and hiring, to onboarding, employee relations, employee investigations and all the way through termination. My main focus right now, as for probably everybody that touches recruitment, is on retention and turnover. How many applicants are we bringing in? How many interviews are we scheduling? How many people are showing up for interviews? Getting hired from those interviews?
I also think about Uncle Giuseppe’s culture. We've come from this mom-and-pop neighborhood shop with one location, to a six, seven (and we're about to open eight and nine) store corporation. But we're still trying to keep the original family vibe going across thousands of employees.
Crew: What kind of response did you get when you first rolled out the Crew app for mobile team communications?
Francesca: There was some pushback in the beginning because of all the changes we were making. We've had people in our company for 20, 15, 10 years, and some of them are set in their ways. They've been doing the same job, the same way for so long. Now they’re seeing the value of having a solution like Crew in their pockets, because say you have a store of 300 people. How are you going to get communications out? You can only post so much stuff by the time clock. You can only put so much stuff on the pay stubs.
Crew is easy-to-use and adds a special touch. Someone might send out a message like, "Hey, we're having this pizza party. We've love for you to come," and people see it on their phones. Teams also post schedules and request shift changes via Crew, and that helps our staffing levels.
Crew: What are some of your favorite things about the platform?
Francesca: We use Crew’s Gold Stars for instant commendations. For example, we have this one manager who is just doing amazing things in the candy department. I take pictures of all the fun treats that she makes and various displays she puts together. I’ll post, "Wow! Great job with this end cap. I can't believe you got it that high and to stand up that straight." There's that instant gratitude we can have for our colleagues right there, where everyone can see and participate. The recognition goes in more directions – employee to employee, manager to manager, not just manager to employee.
It's really fun to see employees say, "Hey, I saw John over here in the deli do this. He did a great job," or, "Thank you so much for teaching me how to make the new sandwiches," or, "Awesome salad pizza. I've never had one with honey mustard on it." It’s really exciting to see them sending pictures, and emoji and all that fun stuff between people in the stores.
Crew: How has Crew impacted the Uncle Giuseppe’s culture?
Francesca: One example is the philanthropy that we're doing to support local charities on Long Island, while trying to improve corporate wellness. We’re planning events that bring people together, like participating in the Marcum Workplace Walk. We put an announcement on Crew and can remind people without having to send an email that the field employees might not check.
We also have one month where we collect money for St. Jude, and there was a little bit of internal competition with that on Crew. Some of the store managers were like, “I've sold $1,000 in donations today. What did you sell?" You could see that friendly internal competition between stores going, and we ultimately raised $65,000. This contributes to our family vibe and a culture of appreciation.
Cew: How do you get HR information out to all your stores?
Francesca: Crew is definitely a tool we use to boost events or announcements, like our health insurance open enrollment. It was great for that and helps increase our communication tremendously. People see the information we post on Crew and ask, "Oh what benefits do we have?"
For example, we offer 401K to all of our employees and I can post information on Crew about how it works. I think that will help get a lot of younger people to think about saving for retirement. A lot of people are also asking about how to get full-time employee status now that they realize it comes with our health insurance.
A huge thank you to Francesca and to Uncle Giuseppe’s for their time and insight on how Crew has been a valuable tool for their company, from communication to HR policies to culture building. Learn more about how this team is working together and seeing improvements in their customer story here.