- Hy-Vee announced a restructuring initiative that will shift the roles of some of its store leaders. Beginning this week, some of its store directors will become district store directors, overseeing several locations and mentoring store managers, who will oversee day-to-day operations. Other store directors will become store managers, according to a statement emailed to Grocery Dive. Stores, however, will not have both a manager and a director. Depending on the size, a store may have a manager and a district store director, Hy-Vee said.
- As part of the initiative, called Helpful Smile 2020, store directors will evaluate their operations and staffing and make adjustments as needed for efficiency, which could include layoffs, promotions and reallocations. Hy-Vee declined to comment on specific numbers.
- The statement also noted that 30 in-store dietitians would join corporate, although store directors will be permitted to implement local programs.
Hy-Vee’s focus on management level roles in its restructuring plan is similar to competitors Kroger and Walmart, who over the last year have looked to shift or remove certain positions altogether in the name of talent management and creating efficiencies.
In this case, the Iowa-based grocer said in its statement that the leadership changes on the store level will provide better training for its managers who are interested in becoming a director or district store director. However, as Kroger saw when it laid off hundreds of local managers nationwide in October, the move created fear — and "chaos" as one employee told Business Insider — among its ranks.
At Walmart, which has dubbed its restructuring plan as the Great Workplace initiative, some roles, including hourly supervisors and assistant store managers, will be eliminated. New, but fewer positions will take its place, where employees could have greater responsibility, potentially for higher pay. Fresh food is among the first departments impacted as it rolls out testing for the plan, eventually reaching all Neighborhood Market stores and about 400 supercenters, according to the Washington Post. Like Kroger, however, a lot of its employees are scared and confused — a cautionary tale for Hy-Vee as it navigates the tricky communications and public relations messaging.
Hy-Vee’s restructuring announcement and potential layoffs, when paired with its move to end its 24-hour operations earlier this month, could point to potential trouble brewing at the grocer. However, as many grocers have noted when they undergo staffing changes, retailers need to continually evaluate their operations in an age of disruption and tight margins. In regards to its business hour changes, the company said, "This move also allowed us to reevaluate how we operate our stores so that we can become more efficient."
The company previously restructured in 2017, although the changes at the time focused on growth in IT, foodservice and its health and wellness section. Instead of potential reductions, 70 corporate jobs were added.