Kroger and all retailers are fast becoming tech companies and thus have the difficult task of competing with companies like Facebook for top tech talent. According to Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen, one of their secrets to recruiting software engineers is the promise of more responsibility quicker than anywhere else.
How Kroger Competes for Tech Talent
In terms of the number of employees, I think you will have the same number but the skillsets will be a lot different. If you look at digital, for example, we have 500 people in our digital team. Within 2-3 years we will have a thousand. With software engineers, it is a completely different type of talent. Yes, we compete with (Facebook). It’s kind of fascinating.
It’s important for people to eat. It’s important for people to eat things they like. If you come to Kroger you are able to help people get exactly what they want when they want it. You get immediate feedback on something that is incredibly important. If the customer likes it you see it immediately. If they don’t like it you see it immediately. So you get great feedback.
More Responsibility Quicker Than Anywhere Else
I always tell people when we are recruiting them, I guarantee you that you will have more responsibility quicker than anywhere else. We have 25-year-old and 30-year-old people running $100 million and $200 million businesses.
On a couple of tests that we have going on right now, we have two interns that actually did the software work to get it in place. When their internship finished they went back to college and kept working with us to finish the project they worked on. It’s one of those things that you get a tremendous amount of responsibility incredibly fast.
The Future of Retail
I think the store will be multi-purpose. I think about one of our bigger stores. It wouldn’t surprise me if you had a small warehouse in the back of that store. You will use the same footprint, but half of it may be a physical store that is an experience space, half of it will be more warehouse efficiency space.