Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace started out as a neighborhood family marketplace 20 years ago. Over time, the business has grown into a grocery chain that provides thousands of local jobs to team members passionate about providing top-quality food and excellent customer service. However, recent market conditions have made it difficult to find and retain staff. Additionally, with each manager using their own system to track shift changes, scheduling wasn’t always transparent to employees. The company’s leadership knew they needed a better system, particularly in preparation for emerging predictive scheduling laws.
Francesca Costantino, human resources manager at Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, shared, “As we added more locations, it got harder to keep our family vibe and show appreciation for employees, who range from young Generation Z workers, to union members who’ve been with us since we opened our first store. We could only post so much by the time clock or on pay stubs, and since only 20% of our team members have corporate email accounts, we had major issues with communication.”
The organization wanted a communications solution that would reinforce Uncle Giuseppe’s culture and keep everyone on the same page. Executives initially considered systems like Skype and Workplace by Facebook, but these felt too cumbersome for frontline staff. After discovering Crew’s user-friendly solution for team communication and scheduling, they knew they’d found the perfect fit.
Uncle Giuseppe’s rolled out Crew to all seven of its stores, and quickly built excitement for the app. Adoption reached 80% after just a few weeks, and it continues to increase as more employees realize the benefits of sharing schedules, open shifts, events, and other important updates via an easy-to-use app. Team members post gifs, photos, videos, and emoji that reflect the organization’s culture of not taking themselves too seriously, while still getting their jobs done efficiently.
At the corporate level, Crew enables Francesca to more easily disseminate important HR information regarding open enrollment, which people can view right on their phones. Now, more employees know about Uncle Giuseppe’s health insurance and 401(k) benefits, the awareness of which is driving more team members to consider the transition to full-time employment status. Francesca can even send out announcements in Spanish and English to extend their reach.
Managers also use Crew to post schedules and keep track of shift changes. As a result, all employees have their schedules at their fingertips, and can easily request shift covers or pick up extra hours right from the app. This saves team members time and helps stores avoid being dangerously understaffed.
“We also have this whole bilingual dynamic because there’s a large Spanish speaking population in our company. With Crew, if our staff’s phone is in Spanish, they can read everything in Spanish, which is great. We can post materials both in English and Spanish.”
One of the top benefits Crew provides to the business is the ability to more frequently and consistently show gratitude. This boosts employee engagement, while spreading best practices amongst and across locations. “I like to share pictures of the amazing things one department manager does with her candy displays, and our vice president often sends around great customer compliments that come in through our website,” noted Costantino.
Employees use Crew Gold Stars to recognize each other’s good work, thanking team members for teaching new skills or recipes. A grocery clerk recently took the initiative to post a photo of his store’s receiving area in Crew and thanked his team for helping him clean it, which drew Francesca’s attention. She identified him as promising talent to eventually move up in the organization, thanked him for his contribution, and awarded him with tickets to a local sporting event.
Crew also builds awareness and participation in non-work activities that unite Uncle Giuseppe’s team members and encourage corporate wellness. For instance, Francesca uses the app to highlight birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and even philanthropy walks or donation collections.
“We want to bring people together and build relationships. Thankfully, Crew makes it easy to remind employees about upcoming events even if they’re out with customers on the floor, since the app delivers updates to your pocket” said Costantino. “Some of our managers even used Crew to spur a bit of internal competition when we had our St. Jude collection, raising $65,000.”
All of this communication and recognition drives several positive results for Uncle Giuseppe’s, including employee retention, a more cohesive culture, and commitment to customer service. In fact, the company’s overall turnover rate recently dropped a sizable amount, and is continuing to decline. The HR team now has better ways to support the full employee lifecycle—ensuring people are happy, able to perform their jobs, and have opportunities to grow their careers.
Going forward, Francesca expects Crew to help further impact the customer experience by facilitating a customer service tip of the day, as well as friendly sales and service challenges between stores.