ELGIN, IL—The recent implementation of new cardinal and maize uniforms as the mandatory dress code at GrocerKing Food Stores has not only made employees look better, but also greatly boosted worker morale, sources within the regional supermarket chain's extensive management hierarchy reported Monday.
The decision to provide employees with the eye-catching, brightly colored shirt-hat-and-apron ensemble was motivated, company sources stressed, by a desire on the part of GrocerKing management to help workers look—and feel—their best.
"From produce to dairy, from the bakery to the deli counter, treating our employees right has always been a big part of GrocerKing Food Stores' commitment to excellence," said district manager Bob Clement, addressing reporters at a press conference at GrocerKing's corporate headquarters in Elgin. "And giving them these attention-grabbing new uniforms is just part of that ongoing promise. People Pleasing People—That's The GrocerKing Difference."
The new uniforms, which also include visors for parking-lot cart-collecting duties as well as personalized name tags which must be displayed at all times, add a "personal touch," company sources said, helping each member of the GrocerKing family feel distinguished and special in the eyes of co-workers and customers alike.
"These fun, colorful uniforms, provided to each of our approximately 780 part- and full-time employees at only a minimal cost deducted from their next bi-weekly paycheck, are our way of saying 'thanks' for a job well-done," Clement said.
"This is so cool," said stockboy Ross Krieg, 16. "My very own uniform! Now, when I personally greet customers with a friendly verbal acknowledgement in accordance with the employee-conduct guidelines as clearly set forth in the training-seminar worksheet packet I was given upon my initial hiring, I can do so with pride."
"In this society, it's usually only important people of high social standing who get to wear uniforms," explained second-shift loading-dock assistant manager Timothy Hough, 19. "But here at GrocerKing, each and every one of us—from the greenest trainee just starting his or her three-month probationary period to the most seasoned 30-year meatpacking veteran like my dad—are important. Wearing this uniform serves as a constant reminder of just how valued I am, and how much GrocerKing appreciates the contributions I make to the company and its continued success."
"GrocerKing has put its trust in me to do my job well," said fellow employee Justin Newell, 17. "When I'm wearing this uniform, I know they're counting on me to represent the company in a professional manner to each and every customer that comes through that door. And I'm not about to let them down."
Though the new uniform policy has been in effect less than a week, it has already had a significant positive impact on job satisfaction. Experts attribute this rise in employee morale to the special feeling of belonging engendered by the uniform, which helps make workers feel like they're not just doing a job, but acting as part of a team.
"The choice of color scheme for these new uniforms was a particularly astute team-building move on the part of GrocerKing," said Dr. Lewis Jarowski, a leading grocery-industry analyst. "By opting for cardinal and maize—the colors of GrocerKing's highly recognizable logo and the interior decor of each of its 17 convenient, 24-hour Chicagoland locations—GrocerKing specifically designed the uniforms to reflect its unique identity. Employees can wear these colors proudly, knowing that in doing so, they are not merely minimum-wage-earning, low-skilled laborers, but part of a greater whole."
The new uniforms have not only boosted employee morale; they are already netting secondary benefits in the form of increased customer satisfaction. The enhanced sense of personal self-respect the uniforms have instilled in employees has resulted in better job performance, which in turn has resulted in a greater overall shopping experience for the customer. This helps foster customer loyalty, vital to success in a competitive industry in which shoppers expect more than just convenient locations, low prices and wide selection, demanding that their grocery store go the "extra mile."
"Ever since I saw those attractive new uniforms, I've been driving just a little bit out of my way to go to GrocerKing," said discriminating shopper and busy mother of three Elise Munro. "Sure, there's another store a little closer, but the pride and professionalism that GrocerKing employees display every day has won my trust as a consumer."
"You know what?" Munro added. "At GrocerKing, shopping isn't just convenient and affordable... it's fun, too!"
According to supermarket-industry insiders, if the morale-boosting uniforms continue to generate such results, it will only be a matter of time before other chains follow suit.
"It just makes sense," said Jolene Bunning, author of Capturing Customer Confidence and director of numerous employee-training videos, including the award-winning Smile And Speak Up! "Where would you rather shop? At a store where the employees do the very minimum to keep your business? Or a dynamic, enthusiastic shopping environment with exciting uniforms and a contagious, friendly team spirit? By providing employees with colorful, matching uniforms, GrocerKing has found a fun, low-cost way to show their workers that they care about them as people. And when you keep your employees happy, you keep your customers happy, too."
GrocerKing employees are responsible for keeping their uniform clean and presentable at all times. For information on how you can become part of the GrocerKing team, please see the floor supervisor at the Customer Service Desk for an application.