February 11, 2003, 12:00 AM

Kroger uses a web-based hiring system to cut employee turnover

Kroger reduced employee turnover 25% in a test of an automated, web-based hiring management system from Unicru Inc. Kroger is now rolling it out to several hundred stores.


In an example of how the web can help retailers manage large, frequently changing work forces, The Kroger Co. is deploying a web-based system designed to streamline hiring in its chain of supermarkets. The Unicru Hiring Management System integrates with back-end databases to screen out unqualified candidates, and cut Kroger`s turnover rate by more than 25% in a test of the system, said Adam Mertz, grocery industry marketing manager for Unicru Inc.

Kroger, which employs more than 230,000 store-level personnel, is rolling out the system to several hundred stores after a 9-month test in 40 locations, Mertz says. The system is designed to lower hiring costs and save application processing time by giving managers web-based access to pre-hire summaries that help them decide which applicants to interview and bring further into the hiring process.

The Unicru system integrates with databases kept by third-party firms that help retailers screen out applicants with records of having committed theft, providing an automatic alert to hiring managers whenever an applicant has a theft record.

The system also integrates with third-party firms that help process government tax credits and unemployment insurance claims. Retailers can earn tax credits based on the amount of government financial assistance received by hired applicants, such as those who were on welfare or receiving food stamps. The Unicru system is designed to ask applicants questions that trigger an alert about a retailer`s eligibility to receive tax credits; the alert is then automatically forwarded to hiring managers as well as to a third-party firm that processes such claims. Hiring managers can also print out forms already filled out with the information required for submitting paper claims, Mertz said.

The Unicru system works in a similar way for unemployment claims. Once an employee is let go, the system sends an electronic alert to a third-party firm that processes unemployment claims and also enables a retail manager to print out the necessary forms already prepared with the former employee`s information. This helps to prevent former employees from filing unqualified claims, Mertz said.


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