Many retailers, for example, seek to save money by understaffing. The result is rushed, overworked and mistake-prone employees and higher turnover, which leads to unhappy, antagonized customers. The counterintuitive solution, Ms. Ton says, is to increase “slack” — meaning to have more employees available than are absolutely required at any given time of day.
QuikTrip, in contrast with most of its competitors, purposely overstaffs stores so that they can accommodate employees with emergencies or who are sick or on vacation. The result is happier employees and better-served customers. Ms. Ton cites one study of a 500-store retailer that found that every additional $1 spent on employee salaries resulted in an increase of anywhere from $4 to $28 in sales.