Frank Ray, Vice-President of HR at Harps Foods, was facing the challenge of how to motivate and recognize the achievements of the company’s more than three thousand employees. There was no unified system for awarding or praising employees, nor for sharing best practices.
The company also had inefficiencies with shift management, and locations struggled with outdated scheduling systems. Employees and managers were frequently frustrated when making and approving time off, shift swap, and coverage requests.
Amber Parker, General Manager for Harps Store 109 in Gentry, Arkansas, first came across Crew when researching options for an easy way to manage shifts within her store. She requested more information, and a Crew representative reached out directly. Shortly after, once Amber had seen the capabilities of Crew and was convinced of its benefits, she reached out to Frank Ray, VP of human resources for all 87 of the company’s locations. Shortly after, Crew was introduced company-wide.
With so many different departments (grocery, deli, bakery, meats, produce, frozen) and functions (greeter, checkout, inventory, warehouse), each Harps location is its own complex universe. By using Crew, managers are easily able to award employees across a variety of functions, as well as foster team spirit: “I would say I recognized people at least once a week before Crew, and now it is several times a week. We do weekly pop quizzes and people get recognized for that. It’s a fantastic way to celebrate real wins.”
Another manager comments: “At my store we award gold stars for as many things as possible, whether it be an associate that a customer mentioned on the secret shopper reports or simply a great display built by one of the departments. I award the associate with the most gold stars each month with a gift card. It’s my way of saying thank you, for being a rock star.”
Prior to Crew, each Harps location used an old fashioned system for scheduling - a physical book, located in each store, which contained the schedules and shifts for the period. If an employee needed to check their schedule, they either had to go into the physical store, or try to locate a manager to check the book over the phone. Communication about shifts was also difficult: “You end up with all these sticky notes and papers and no way to organize it all.”
Now, with Crew, the schedule is instantly accessible in each team member and manager’s pocket. “The team here loves that the schedule is posted on Crew versus having to come in on their day off just to see the schedule. And, as the manager, I love that the schedule is in one place for everyone to see, and it reminds every one of their shift two hours ahead of time, so there are no excuses.”
In addition to scheduling improvements, employees now have the visibility to see which departments need help with shifts across the entire store. “We’re getting employees raising their hands now, saying that they see open opportunities out there and that they want to be trained in produce, grocery, deli. And they’re getting to learn new skills, and hopefully eventually rise up the chain.”
With 87 individual locations, both night and day crews, and many different departments, best learnings were rarely recorded and thus usually quickly forgotten. Now, with Crew, these practices can be quickly documented and shared: “I love being able to post pictures and videos. For example, inventory is always a stressful time for the grocery department. So being able to post a short video of how we want things done during inventory is great. That way everyone can see it and learn, versus each manager having to take time out of their day to show each individual associate how they want things done.”
Crew also helps with communication up and down the chain of command: “We have all our different organizations within the app, such as closing managers, the store, and the district and department managers, and that makes it easier to share the right info with the right people, right away.”
“Crew has been excellent to work with! They truly care. And, they love hearing suggestions from us on how to update the app and add relevant features to make our lives easier. I have had several associates mention that they love how easy it is to use, and hearing about what is going on in the store. Definitely feels like a team.” - Sarah Thacker, General Manager
“We love that we can communicate with each other with a snap of a finger, and that we don’t have to wait until we see people to tell them something. Working with Crew has taken us from zero to DONE.” - Amber Parker, General Manager