Strategies to retain middle management staff in the Spar Group.
The retail environment in South Africa (SA) has become highly competitive. Employee loyalty is fickle, particularly amongst highly skilled workers, which results in high staff turnover especially in management positions. According to the South African Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) (Markinor, 2013), the percentage of staff turnover in the retail industry was 12.5%. Retaining highly skilled employees has become critical in order for organisations to remain competitive. The aim of this study was to examine retention strategies for middle management employees in the SPAR Group. A quantitative research method was adopted for this descriptive study. Validity and reliability for the whole population was proven for meaningfulness, usefulness and appropriateness of the study. Middle management employees across all divisions of the SPAR Group were invited to participate in the research. Data was collected using an online questionnaire. The results have highlighted that employees would consider leaving the SPAR Group should an opportunity arise elsewhere. The study has also highlighted employees’ perceptions of fairness particularly that they felt that promotions are awarded unfairly within the organisation. Of interest is that the demographic variables of race and gender highlighted a big leaning towards white employees (47, 52%) who are males (64.05%). This could be a unique situation to SPAR Group only and could raise concerns over the biasness of the study and its generalisation to a wider population. The study revealed some discrepancies in the responses as the majority responded that they were happy with the benefits offered at SPAR, and yet they indicated pay and benefits as a reason that would make then consider leaving the organisation. Recommendations for improvement, based on the findings of the study, are that the SPAR Group should conduct salary surveys to help benchmark the company against competitors in the market. This will give employees a realistic understanding of whether they are remunerated fairly in relation to the market, and whether the company needs to look at making adjustments in their pay rates. Climate surveys are a good way of evaluating employee perceptions on the culture and opinions within an organisation. This will help SPAR to isolate issues of immediate concern and put measures in place to deal with these issues. Communicating policies on promotions and transformation plans to the staff would help to manage expectations, so that all employees know the recruitment strategy of the company, particularly in consideration of the company’s transformation targets for specific positions within the company. Identified limitations have highlighted the need for further research.