Wilsonville Fred Meyer opens long-anticipated new store
Nearly two decades ago, Fred Meyer envisioned building a top-flight store in the Wilsonville area. Come July 2011, the organization that invented one-stop shopping in Portland will see their dream come to life. The company worked through initial opposition, strict design constraints, a building moratorium, and traffic challenges to create a pioneer-themed architectural style designed to fit in with Wilsonville's old town district.
Store director Sam Strouse said, "The Wilsonville store approach is a mirror of the community and the structure of the community. It's the old town square approach. We hired private architects that worked for us, but also worked for the city to come up with the overall plan for the store."
Officials at Fred Meyer agree that its newest store has taken a long time, but they also believe they have done it right.
The Wilsonville Old Town Square will house the new Fred Meyer superstore as well as many other retail shops around the central location. Many of those retail spaces have already been leased, including a wireless store, several salons, a frozen yogurt shop, a branch of Oswego Grill and a new McMenamins restaurant that will occupy a former church next to the Old Town Square development. The new location will also be the first to feature on-site housing with 56 units slated.
Constructing the new store took creativity, and so did the process for selecting staff to run it. Fred Meyer teamed up with WorkSource Oregon's Tualatin Center to develop what they call a World Class Selection Process.
"We've done a lot of different things as far as the management, selection and training of the associates. We bumped it up a couple of notches," Strouse said. "We used a totally different posting process, a different selection process, and we had people throughout the organization involved."
Turns out, the World Class Selection Process was "a world class success," according to Regional Human Resources Supervisor Terri Robinson.
The company used the WorkSource staff and facilities to help organize the process. Candidates completed Fred Meyer's online application and indicated their interest in the Wilsonville location. They also registered in WorkSource's iMatchSkills job matching tool and received referral notifications from WorkSource when matched with the Wilsonville openings.
Recruitment project leader Lonnie Martinez with WorkSource made all the arrangements for interview space, parking space, and team engagement rooms where candidates begin the process, learn more about Fred Meyer, and loosen up in preparation for their first interview.
WorkSource staff working with Lonnie selected over 1200 candidates, scheduled them for interviews with Fred Meyer human resource professionals, and helped to direct the successful candidates through two interviews and a drug test - all in the same location.
"Really it saved us a ton of time," said Robinson. "Lonnie has been doing all of the contacting of the applicants. Explaining everything they need to bring. Setting up all the interviews. To be able to bring everyone into one location instead of having them go to several different stores and going through the process - very helpful."
Terri also valued the free use of the WorkSource facilities. "We would have had to pay for meeting rooms, rent and all of those things. That saved us a lot of money."
Keith Fuller, Fred Meyer's Director of Strategic Recruiting and Organizational Development, said he would certainly recommend WorkSource services to other businesses looking to add staff.
"I started doing this in '96. I've opened several new stores, and every time there was no question to go back and use the services of WorkSource. In Oregon, we look at you guys as partners. As soon as we have positions we post outside the company, you are the first place we go because, one - there is no cost to post it, two - we can ask you to do pre-screeening. We can ask you guys to do all kinds of things to help use get the right candidate without going through a lot of hassle, and time on our part."
Fred Meyer staff put a lot of positive energy into making the selection event a fun one. Many applicants were overheard saying how much fun they had, how excited they were about the new Wilsonville store, how they could feel the electricity in the place as they went through the entire process, and how everyone was so friendly and welcoming. They couldn't wait to be a part of the team. A couple of applicants even screamed when they were offered a job.
The Tualatin WorkSource Team worked together with the Fred Meyer Team to make the recruitment extremely fun, exciting and highly successful. Fred Meyer hired nearly 200 staff in a short period of time.