Food retailers go on a hiring spree as coronavirus numbers grow
If you’ve tried to order groceries online over the past several days, you may very well have filled up your cart only to be greeted with a message from Amazon.com, Instacart, Target, Walmart and others that there are “no delivery windows available” and “please try again later.” You’ve probably wondered why these retailers do not have their systems set up to give you the option of ordering several days out instead of wasting your time filling up a cart you may never receive.
Similarly, if you’ve ventured out to a supermarket in recent days, you have likely found aisles with large empty holes on shelves as concerned consumers took as many gallons of disinfecting bleach, bottles of hand sanitizers, wipes, etc. as the store’s posted limits allowed.
Retailers, specifically those that sell food and cleaning items (personal and household), are under extreme pressure to fulfill orders and stock shelves as they and their fellow Americans become aware that the current shelter at home and social distancing measures being practiced across the country may become the de facto way of life for not two weeks, but months and perhaps longer.
For retail managers and employees this a particularly stressful time as they go about trying to meet the demands of a frightened public while at the same time dealing with concerns for their own personal health.
In recent days, stories have revealed the pressures that associates are feeling. A CNN article described accounts of “tired and frustrated” workers at Walmart stores. Motherboard reported on Whole Foods workers who were “crying and having panic attacks.”
Amazon announced on Monday that it plans to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers to help meet the surge in online shopping. The company also announced that it was upping the pay of all hourly workers by $2 an hour at least through April.
Others, such as Kroger, are adding workers to address the spike in sales they are seeing. Rodney McMullen, the CEO of the largest operator of supermarkets in the U.S., told CNBC that the retailer has hired more than 2,000 people over the past week and that it still has 10,000 more to fill.
- What it’s like working at Walmart during a pandemic – CNN
- Whole Foods Workers ‘Are Crying and Having Panic Attacks – Motherboard/Vice
- Kroger CEO: We have hired 2,000 people and have 10,000 openings in response to coronavirus demand – CNBC
- Amazon to hire 100,000 more workers and give raises to current staff to deal with coronavirus demands – CNBC
- Coronavirus Ravages 7 Members of a Single Family, Killing 3 – The New York Times
- Will raising wages $2 help Amazon keep workers dealing with coronavirus chaos? – RetailWire
- Which retailers are less vulnerable to the coronavirus and whatever comes next? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What should retail management be doing to help store associates and warehouse workers deal with the stress they are under in the current coronavirus emergency? Do any retail companies stand out for standing up for their workers during this stressful time?