How to hire, train, and maintain an hourly workforce

Make Your Team Feel Powerful

I’ve found this to be absolutely true. While Store Team Leader and Grocery Team Leader at WFM I made sure my team members understood the outcome I expected, that being very happy customers. I then described many of the ways in which they could do that, like keeping a high in stock %, owning spills they see, and stocking only the highest quality products. After that, I let them figure most of it out on their own, and certainly allowed them to get the desired outcome in whatever way worked for them.

This proved the point over and over, as team member after team member grew in relation to the freedom and ownership they were allowed.

I also found incredible success in giving pretty much every team member some responsibility other than the normal ones that might come with their job, like dealing with a certain vendor, ordering some part of our supplies, or taking care of customer special orders. Not only did I see the ‘sustained engagement’ you spoke of, but this also prepared them for the next level of responsibility. They learned how each and every job on the team was an important part of our success, how and when to order products, and how to deal with customer issues.

Allowing the person who would normally be ‘Dairy buyer’ to be ‘Dairy team Leader’… and giving them complete ownership over that sub department gave them the opportunity to learn skills that they wouldn’t normally learn until much later in their career. I quickly saw the benefit of that, and proceeded to name a ‘bulk team Leader’, as well as a ‘cold case team leader’. Even though those positions didn’t oversee any other team members, the position gave those team members complete autonomy over their sub department. I found that the window of great team members is much wider than I had previously thought… it just took the right Leadership to bring it out of them.

Using these methods I never once had to look outside of my department for people to fill my Associate Team Leader roles after my old ones were promoted to Leadership roles of their own, and almost every one of my hourly team members were engaged on a daily basis.


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