Be The Employer Of Choice

by Paul Schlossberg
Posted On: 6/26/2018

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Paul Schlossberg
Are you familiar with the term "employer of choice?" According to Training Journal, it describes "… a (company) that is a great place to work. If companies don't genuinely act to become an employer of choice then good employees will simply vote with their feet and move to a forward thinking employer who offers them what they want."

In industries providing customer service, such as ours and others, finding and retaining a qualified and productive team is becoming one of the most critical challenges for businesses large and small. Employee turnover rates are very high in the restaurant business. According to DisruptCRE, in a March 2018 posting, "fast food has one of the highest rates of turnover there is, reported at near 150%."

Fast-food restaurants might not be a direct comparison to our business. Some portion of their employee base is not focused on full-time work. That may vary depending on economic trends and the local employment situation.

What prompted me to think about "employer of choice" was a report in Employee Benefit News about Hy-Vee, a supermarket chain in headquartered in West Des Moines, IA. A press release announced a new benefits program to hold onto part-time workers. They offered a menu of 11 options for part-time employees. Hy-Vee created a unique program to appeal to their part-time staff.

How does your benefits program compare to companies where your current employees might consider working? Think about your full-time and part-time team members. There is a cost to enhancing the benefits program you offer. There is also a cost to adding new hires and training them to contribute positive results. Odds are that when you bring in new (replacement) employees, the costs are much higher than you would expect.

There are four important lessons here for our business.

•    Are you paying attention to employee turnover? If not, shame on you. Track it by month and by job type. We have a lot of physical work in our business, including: (1) lifting heavy cases; (2) pushing or pulling carts loaded with products; and (3) moving or shifting vending machines, other display units and coffee makers. You must know which jobs are experiencing the highest turnover. Is it in the warehouse or among the route techs?  

•    Are you doing exit interviews? Again, if not, shame on you. Find out why people are going elsewhere. You can search online to find ideas about specific questions to ask.  

•    Before even thinking about exit interviews, are you having performance reviews with your team members? This should not be a multi-page written document. Have a brief one-on-one conversation to provide some feedback. You can offer suggestions on how to "do even better" with examples. People like positive feedback on their performance. Identify and highlight successes and accomplishments.

•    Now let's turn the subject around and look at in a different way. Go to local newspapers and business journals. Identify the "employers of choice" in your area. Why? It's really simple. You want to be engaged with those organizations as a service provider. Those companies should be on your target account list. Of course you have a target account list. Right?

Get to work on the subject of "employer of choice." (1) Start the path to making your company a better place to work. (2) At the same time, you want to begin adding "employers of choice" to the list of accounts you serve. Accomplish those two objectives and you will be in a good position to "sell more stuff."

» Paul Schlossberg is president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX, area, he can be reached at or (972) 877-2972 or