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Employee Retention of H-E-B

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Pratik Kukreja
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Employee Retention of H-E-B - April 12th, 2011

Employee Retention of H-E-B : HEB Grocery Company, LP (H-E-B) is a privately held San Antonio, Texas-based supermarket chain with more than 315 stores throughout Texas and northern Mexico.[2][3] The company also operates Central Market, an upscale organic and fine foods retailer.[4]
H-E-B ranked No. 11 on Forbes' 2006 list of "America's Largest Private Companies."[5] H-E-B was named Retailer of the Year in 2010 by Progressive Grocer.[6] Supermarket News ranked H-E-B No. 13 in the 2008 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers."[7] Based on 2010 revenues, H-E-B is the twenty-fifth largest retailer in the United States.[8] It donates 5 percent of pre-tax profits to charity

The University of the Incarnate Word’s H-E-B School of Business & Administration in association with Pearson’s Talent Assessment Group are proud to present bestselling author Gregory P. Smith, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the university’s Rosenberg Sky Room. Smith will provide an opportunity for the regional business community to learn more about employee recruitment and retention.

Smith, founder and president of Chart Your Course International, a management-consulting firm located in Atlanta, Ga. has 27 years of leadership and consulting experience which have helped propel him as one of the nation's leading authorities and consultants on employee retention, talent management and leadership. He has written over 350 articles and nine books including, “The New Leader: Bringing Creativity and Innovation to the Workplace”. Smith has traveled to and addressed organizations in 23 countries and developed training programs for some of the nation’s top companies and has served on the Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. This award is presented by the President of the United States each year and is the nation's highest honor for business excellence. He has received many awards and honors including being listed in “Harvard University's Profiles in Business and Management: An International Directory of Scholars and Their Research”. Smith is listed in the “Who's Who of Professional Speaking”, and holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in human resource management.

In 1996, the supermarket operator in Southeast Texas and Mexico began the arduous task of reshaping a traditional seniority-based work structure at its manufacturing and distribution centers.

The process of training employees for new leadership roles was expensive and time-consuming. Longtime employees enjoyed preferred work shifts and vacation schedules. Some decided they couldn't handle the change and resigned from a company that prides itself on offering a pro-partner work environment.

Other company divisions showed impatience with manufacturing's initial decline in performance. But reorganization of work shifts, delegation of additional responsibilities for line employees, and the introduction of team-based compensation continues to improve plant efficiency and employee retention significantly, said speakers at the 2002 Dairy Distribution and Fleet Management Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

“The change has been very challenging and expensive,” said Stephen W Collier, HEB senior human resources manager. “We invested in the creation of a team work environment where everyone has new responsibilities — from hourly employees to managers. We also invested in training, new leadership positions, and team meetings at the beginning of every work shift. It has resulted in better business.

“During the past two years, our ice cream plant in San Antonio has seen a 17.5% improvement in productivity and a 9% increase in output. That's 9% more volume with 50 fewer partners working a five-day production schedule compared to seven days.

“Efficiency also has increased 11.2% at the milk plant, and the perishables distribution center experienced a 6.42% increase in unit throughput per labor hour. We haven't added any technological improvements to the plant, and retention of hourly employees has increased 40%.”

After six years of changing the old work environment into a team system, HEB managers continue to repeat the message that teams get better business results than traditional organizations. Leaders frequently answer the question of why employees must go through this disruptive change.

“It's similar to spouses saying they love each other,” Collier said. “Doing it at the engagement, the marriage ceremony, and the anniversary is not enough. Employees want to be assured that this is not just a program-of-the-month. They want to hear their leaders articulate the business imperative — changing markets, competitive pressures, or additional customer demands. And just as importantly, they want to know if leaders will return to the old way of doing business when the pressure is turned on.”

Manufacturing has been a part of HEB for almost 60 years. It evolved from a single vegetable canning operation to a company division that operates plants in Houston, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio. Employees worked in departments. Each department had different agendas. They were not held accountable to a common goal.

Work shifts and assignments as well as vacation schedules were determined by a seniority system that rewarded employees on length of employment. The system made senior employees feel more valuable. They could refuse higher-paying jobs requiring additional skills to protect their preferential schedules.

“The traditional system reduced our ability to hire and retain new partners,” said Robert Vogel, HEB ice cream plant leader. “It even reduced partner skills because some were saying ‘I'm not going to learn any new work skills in order to stay in this time slot that I have earned by my many years of service.’ The old system rewarded tenure, not contributions to the business. We had to create a more equitable plan to attract new partners to HEB.”

The Latin writer Publilius Syrus wrote in 42 BC, “A good reputation is more valuable than money.” Fast forward 2,000 years, and that maxim still holds. In recent district surveys, new employees hired said the number one reason they applied to HEB ISD is because of reputation. The number two reason was location. The number three reason was salary and benefits.

The District enjoys this solid reputation because of its high standards. In order to provide a world-class education for every student, the District strives to only hire the best. The combination of reputation, location, and competitive salary and benefits allows HEB ISD to be selective about teaching staff. Having a superior staff helps students prepare to compete in a global society when they graduate.

In order for staff to meet its high expectations, HEB ISD provides training and support at all levels, including mentor teachers for all first year teachers.

A pillar of educational excellence since 1958, the District now begins the next 50 years committed to “Empowering Today to Excel Tomorrow,” so that students are ready to live on a global stage.

HEB ISD is dedicated to recruiting and employing a quality teaching staff to attain excellence in student performance. Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced teacher, consider a future of opportunity in HEB ISD.

WHAT MAKES HEB ISD DIFFERENT?
Competitive Salary: HEB ISD teacher salaries start at $49,260.
Continuous Improvement: CI is a systematic way of getting better and knowing that you have. Our Board of Trustees, Superintendent, Cabinet, Administrators, Teachers, Departments and ultimately our students are aligning goals for success at all levels. Our goals and mission drive EVERYTHING we do in HEB!
Teacher Mentor Program: HEB supports all first year teachers with a skilled mentor teacher specialist.
Bilingual Stipends: HEB offers a yearly stipend of $3,000 for certified bilingual teachers.
Schools of Choice: HEB ISD offers a variety of educational opportunities including Core Knowledge, Spanish Immersion, Suzuki Strings and International Baccalaureate as well as an International Business Initiative.
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