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    NGA Members Say Training Will be Key Emphasis in 2008

    ARLINGTON, Va. - In a market marked by turnover and recruitment problems, independents as a group are not applying formal training or employee development principles in their operations, according to a members survey conducted by the National Grocers Association and released yesterday.

    ARLINGTON, Va. - In a market marked by turnover and recruitment problems, independents as a group are not applying formal training or employee development principles in their operations, according to a members survey conducted by the National Grocers Association and released yesterday.

    This human resource challenge, however, will be a top emphasis among NGA members in 2008, according to the 2008 Supermarket Store Management Comprehensive Compensation and Benefits Survey, which NGA conducted with Chesterfield, Mo.-based People Solution Strategies.

    "This survey will help [food retailers] develop strategies for determining salary increases, creating structured performance appraisals, developing annual incentive plans, [and] offering cost-effective health plans and retirement benefits," NGA said.

    The annual survey compares its results to past years, in addition to providing such data as new salary information for all store-level management positions, information on pension 401(k) programs, and health care.

    In the survey, 75 percent of the respondents said they offer a PPO (preferred provider organization) as the primary medical plan, 20 percent offer an HMO (health maintenance organization), and 9 percent offer a POS (point-of-service) plan. Trhee quarters of respondents also said they offer a 401K pre-tax plan, while 9 percent offer no retirement plan at all. More than half (55 percent) said they use a subjective system for selecting candidates for store management positions, while 73 percent don't have an identified career path for employees who might want to consider a career with their organization, and 74 percent have no formal customer service training program, offering training only on the job.

    Independents said the top three areas on which their human resource departments will be placing the most emphasis over the next year are employee training and development (64 percent); employee recruitment, selection, and placement (47 percent); and employee retention (40 percent).

    "NGA recognizes that in today's competitive environment, performance excellence in execution is the key to success and a significant point of marketplace differentiation," noted NGA s.v.p. Frank DiPasquale in a statement. "Companies that excel in their execution understand the importance of their employees and an effective human resource management program."

    For more information contact Jennifer Brant at [email protected] or (703) 516-0700.

    NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that make up the independent sector of the food distribution industry. Members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, manufacturers, and service suppliers.

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