Hero Image

A New View of Turnover: One Retailer’s Positive Experience

September 19, 2011

The Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council study about the full cost of turnover — Strengthening Your Relationships with Store Employees  — is a resource we used to understand, calculate and combat “the expense without an invoice.” And, our results speak for themselves.

Turnover came under our continuous improvement lens. Uniform costs were increasing, staffing was a full-time endeavor and demand was high for a limited talent pool. This CCRRC study helped us assess the larger impact of turnover on our bottom line. At the time, our company-wide turnover rate was 69%. New hire turnover was 56% or, put another way, more than 80% of our total company turnover. That meant more than half of these associates left their jobs in less than 30 days. They didn’t have the shelf life of milk.

Using the Council’s research we calculated our costs; then we challenged the amount and recalculated the cost using our more “conservative” numbers. The expense impact was still staggering as turnover was a million dollar invoice we don’t see. This was actionable data that spurred us to improve both our on boarding process and retention programs to attack turnover dramatically. Today — thanks to this CCRRC report — we experience a turnover rate of 24%, which is a stunning improvement for our company.

At Lunds and Byerly’s we find CCRRC studies helpful in many ways. One of the studies from Council IV, which I served on, examined how managers could raise their performance to higher levels. What surprised us was the participation of our associates: we got 100% involved in the online survey. The data verified a lot of the steps we were already taking and helped us focus additional attention on the importance of communication, accountability and feedback.

Russell T. Lund III

Lund Food Holdings Inc.


Russell T. (Tres) Lund is president and chief executive officer of Lund Food Holdings Inc., a 21-store company in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Tres served on the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council from 2002 to 2006.