Downtown stores and restaurants are constantly serving a mass of college students and residents on a daily basis. Many employees of these businesses are college students themselves.
Scheduling around all employees’ commitments can present complications for managers, but what present an even larger problem is the number of people who come and go.
“We hire four or five people per week, with that many leaving as well,” Abercrombie & Fitch assistant manager Vy Lu said.
Lu said getting employees trained is not much of a problem, however. As a corporate company, Abercrombie & Fitch has a specific training system.
And despite the high turnover rate, Lu said the store is still overstaffed. Every time a new quarter begins at Cal Poly, applications are in high volume.
Another location downtown with a high turnover rate is Jamba Juice.
Jamba Juice shift manager Lisa Loogman said the smoothie restaurant gains or loses two or three people per month.
Relating to Abercrombie & Fitch, Jamba Juice deals with its high turnover rate through constant training of new team members.
“There is usually always a new member we are training at any given point in time,” Loogman said. “It is constant upkeep.”
Springtime at Jamba Juice is the most common time when employees either quit or are hired, often because students are either leaving for summer or pursuing a summer job.
The downtown clothing boutique LuLu Luxe also juggles a high turnover rate of college employees.
“It’s hard because students tend to have difficult schedules to work around and, since school comes first for most, it is more likely that a student will leave (compared to) a person who does not have to deal with the stress of school,” LuLu Luxe floor supervisor Lauren Conover said.
When it comes to winter and spring breaks, scheduling gets tough. Students want to go home, but not being able to is the sacrifice made when working in retail, Conover said.
“We’ve had times where several employees left at one time and then we had to quickly find replacements,” Conover said. “But there are always people bringing in résumés, and it’s all about finding the good ones from there.”
LuLu Luxe is constantly looking for employees with flexible schedules that will fit into its existing staff. Right before the new school year begins, between late August and early September, résumés flow into the boutique.
One way to deal with the different scheduling conflicts of employees is to hire a combination of students from Cal Poly, Cuesta College and high school. This is how the downtown boutique Bella B hires its employees, making scheduling easier since the schools have different breaks, according to manager Anna Montgomery.
Bella B does not have as high of a turnover rate as other stores downtown, Montgomery said.
Downtown businesses seem to have their turnover rates and holiday scheduling under control through constant training and the influx of résumés. The turnover rates may be a more negative thing for the student employees themselves rather than the actual company. Longevity is a valuable thing to see on a résumé.
On-campus employment by Cal Poly’s Associated Student, Inc. (ASI) offers students longevity and a good start to a career path. ASI employs approximately 500 students per year, according to ASI Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator Michelle Broom.
Student employees tend to stay with ASI for multiple years.
“Two years is the best guess of the average length of employment in which most students stay employed within ASI,” Broom said. “Students have been with ASI for four years.”
According to Broom, it is safe to say ASI has less than a 10-percent turnover rate in a year-long period. Broom said this low turnover rate is attributed to the fact that in any area of ASI employment, a student can apply their experience to a future career.
ASI sets out to teach its employees about professionalism, teamwork and accountability, according to Broom. These tools are tools to be carried forth into future careers.
A few examples of ASI jobs that are able to give students hands-on experience in their career fields are student graphic designers, student classroom assistants at the ASI children’s center and human resources student assistants. In these kinds of career path jobs, the turnover rates are close to zero.
Another reason for ASI’s low turnover rate is the convenience of being on campus and the flexibility ASI offers to work with students’ schedules, according to Broom.
Broom explained that when hiring occurs in the fall, discussions about working during summer take place far in advance. ASI determines early on who can stay to work and who is able to go home. Because of this upfront planning, ASI does not have many issues with employees wanting to quit because of breaks.
Even though ASI has a low turnover rate, they still hire new employees each year.
“There are always people graduating,” Broom said. “Out of 500, on average, 100 people will graduate in a year — so we hire 100 new people.”
This filling of 100 new people is very easy for ASI, Broom said. ASI has been lucky and does not experience shortages.