The grocer is aiming to add 10,000 new associates supporting retail, e-commerce, pharmacy, manufacturing, and logistics operations. The virtual and in-store interviews will take place June 10, and the event is the first such hybrid hiring effort by the grocery retailer.
Kroger’s initiative comes as numerous other major retailers--including Amazon, Circle K and discount retailers Dollar Tree and Dollar General--have launched massive recruiting efforts. In a tight labor market, offering hiring incentives or an easier hiring process such as on-the-spot or virtual interviews is becoming commonplace.
"In today's highly competitive labor market, we know talent is selective and attracted to companies that are leading with a clear purpose, growing and improving every day, and committed to offering a diverse, inclusive, and engaging culture where they can thrive and excel," said Dawn Gilmore, Kroger's head of talent acquisition.
Kroger is promoting its wages, benefits and training as part of its recruiting efforts. The average national wage across the organization is $15.50 per hour after the company invested $800 million in associate wages and training over the last three years. Kroger plans to invest another $350 million that will bring the average up to $16 per hour.
"The Kroger Family of Companies is one of the largest employers in the country and our longstanding culture of opportunity has created an environment where many people, whether it be an intern, stocker, or pharmacy technician, come for a job and stay for a career," Tim Massa, senior vice president and chief people officer at Kroger, said in a statement. "To continue advancing our inclusive culture where associates feel valued and can feed their future, we are embracing greater collaboration, technology, and innovation to attract, identify, and develop talent to help us deliver on our business goals, focusing on uplifting and rewarding associate and customer experiences and being consistently in-stock, fresh, and friendly."
Among Kroger’s other benefits, including health care and retirement as part of its compensation packages, the retailer offers up to $21,000 tuition reimbursement for part- and full-time employees earning anything from a GED to a PhD. As many as 6,000 associates have used the program, 87% of which were hourly associates.
The company also offers health and wellness programs, with The Well-Being Assistant powered by Magellan Health, which provides free counseling services 24/7. Kroger employees also receive access to BetterHelp and Whil, a wellness platform that encourages activities like mindfulness, yoga, wellbeing, and sleep.
In addition, Kroger will give a $100 one-time bonus incentive to associates who provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Vaccinated associates can also be entered in Kroger’s $5 million #CommunityImmuity Giveaway. Kroger is not alone in offering employees payments as incentives to get vaccinated or by enticing people to enter its vaccine lottery. Amazon is also offering its employees the same benefit, while several other states and companies are offering random cash prizes to vaccinated customers and employees.
To further entice new recruits, Kroger offers flexible scheduling, an advance pay option and discounts on its products.
"We are truly driven to be the best employer in America and one of the best places to work, no matter your skillset, role, or ambitions," Massa said. "We want to meet our associates where they are and provide them with tools and pathways to grow as individuals and with our organization because the jobs of the future will grow and evolve just like our business. Today's growth-minded associates will deliver tomorrow's solutions for our customers."