Promoting Positive “Groceryplace” Culture
“The foundation of how we grow our business is deeply rooted in workplace culture.”
In a retail business like grocery, Jeffrey Proulx’s perspective has never been truer. From work productivity performance to employee retention, a properly managed workplace culture affects all areas of a business.
Jeffrey Proulx, independent owner and operator of nine Save A Lot store locations in New York, understands that cultivating a strong workplace culture in each store lies in leading by example, establishing trust and transparency, and getting to know your staff as people.
Lead by Example
In his leadership role as a store owner, Jeffrey sets the tone through his own actions. He believes positivity is contagious – if he treats his team with appreciation and respect, they will treat customers the same, and the business will grow. This cycle has been particularly evident over the last few months of COVID-19, as this approach with employees has led to positive feedback from customers about how the stores were handling the crisis. During this difficult time period, Jeffrey saw his stores make positive gains with an increased revenue of 10%. As the grocery industry emerged as an essential business, Jeffrey’s stores have been a shining example of operating successfully.
Establish Trust and Transparency
Trust and transparency go a long way when working in a hectic and everchanging industry. Jeffrey begins with transparency every day, directing each store manager to start the day off with a team meeting that gives staff a play-by-play of the day and sets expectations. With this routine, Jeffrey decreases daily employee anxiety thanks to team organization. Beyond the walls of his Save A Lot store locations, Jeffrey develops trusting relationships with Save A Lot’s Distribution Centers and vendors. For example, if a Distribution Center accidentally delivers more than ordered, Jeffrey lets them know and offers to pay the difference. This type of honesty builds trust if ever the Distribution Center’s deliveries are short, he can request credit without any hesitations.
Get to Know Your Staff – As People
After years of managing several staffs as a store owner, Jeffrey understands the crucial difference of getting to know staff and understanding staff as people. Whether it’s a store manager or new part-time cashier, Jeffrey makes a concerted effort to know each and every employee on a personal level. That means taking time out of the week to have conversation, but also promoting a work-life balance. If an employee requests leaving an hour early for their child’s soccer game, Jeffrey builds a rapport so there’s no hesitation to allow the early clock-out. If employees are treated with dignity as people, the employee turnover rate will benefit – in Jeffrey’s stores, the average tenure of managers is around ten years.
For first-time business owners in the grocery space, Jeffrey encourages leaders to make mistakes. There will be many instances where there are wrong decisions, but it’s important for store owners to remain levelheaded and learn from them in order to grow as a store owner and a business as a whole.
Jeffrey Proulx successfully owns nine Save A Lot store locations and has been a retail partner for over two decades. He currently resides in New York with his two sons, and enjoys playing hockey, golfing and boating in his spare time.