The average convenience store employs roughly 15-16 employees at any time. Although this number is increasing year-over-year, according to NACS data, turnover is also on the rise. Managing a workforce may not be the highlight of your job, but it’s an important part of your business. With unemployment sitting at 3.6 percent and employee turnover at 115 percent, knowing the right candidate to hire can be difficult.

Coupled with the tightest labor market the U.S. has experienced in 50 years, you may feel the need to “hire who you can.” But that isn’t a winning strategy. Here are a few tips you should consider to make sure you’re hiring the best employees for your c-store.

Use Technology to your Advantage

It wasn’t long ago that paper and spreadsheets were commonly used tools to manage the millions of people employed by the convenience retail industry. But as labor costs rise and competition for qualified workers increases, yesteryear’s best-guess practices aren’t sufficient.

More than ever, it’s important for retailers to rely on sophisticated workforce management solutions that make it easy to hire, schedule, communicate with, and pay employees at their sites. These tools have the added benefit providing reporting and insights that allow managers to reduce overtime and stay within allocated budget requirements. The result is a better, more streamlined experience for your employees that also improves the company’s bottom line.

Don’t Settle for Less

Try not to feel pressured to interview and hire someone quickly. On average, it takes 2-3 interviews before deciding if a potential new hire is the right fit. These interviews are an important first step towards finding someone who’s a good long-term fit for your business.

Sometimes, that can mean evaluating current employees to see if they fit the open position. After all, they’re already brand advocates who understand the processes you follow for your business. It’s also important to reward those who perform well within your business. Employees who believe they are valued tend to out-perform employees who feel unrecognized.

But ultimately, you shouldn’t hire employees who don’t impress you as candidates. If they miss the mark in an interview, it’s unlikely they’ll rise to the occasion as your full-time or part-time employee. And remember, they’re the face of your brand. So, if your initial experience isn’t great, you can bank on a customer’s experience falling short as well.

It’s All in the Training

Now that you’ve hired the perfect employee, it’s time to give them the skills to succeed. On average, the cost to hire, train and equip an hourly associate is between $1,339 to $1,962. The cost doubles for managers. Let that sink in for a moment. With turnover so high in the convenience industry, it’s important to find employees likely to stay with your business, thus increasing the value your training provides.

Cost aside, it’s important to make the investment. A lack of proper training and skills can lead to underperformance by the new hire. Unless you show employees that training is important and valued within your business, they can easily believe working with only a minimum amount of knowledge is OK.

The same rules apply for employees you’ve promoted. Even though they’ve likely been through training before, help them continue to succeed by offering refresher courses and up-training for their new position. Don’t forget to schedule regular check-ins with your employees as well. Communicating one-on-one can help reduce any potential confusion, friction, or misunderstandings that can occur.

Decide on the Right Pay

According to NACS data, the U.S. experienced a worker shortage for the first time in history in 2018. With more open jobs than workers able to fill the roles, employers are often tempted to increase hourly pay in order to attract and retain employees. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone in this mentality. A tight labor market pushes many retailers to offer higher wages. Don’t get swept up in a wave of “money solves problems.” Higher wages led to only a marginal decrease in turnover in 2018, proving that more money alone does not entice employees to stay.

Instead, base an employee’s pay on what they can bring to the table, such as their qualifications and attitude. Leveraging their skills and incentivizing great performance makes employees feel appreciated and keeps your turnover low.

Keep these few tips in mind during your next interviews to ensure you hire a staff that keeps your business supported!

Did You Know: Your Source for PDI News provided by PDI, the leader in enterprise management software for the convenience retail and petroleum wholesale markets.

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