How C-stores Can Win Top Talent in Today's Competitive Job Market
NATIONAL REPORT — Finding and retaining top talent has always been a challenge for the convenience store industry, but with the U.S. unemployment rate the lowest it’s been in 17 years, the competition today is greater than ever.
In this market, it’s more important to stand out amongst competitors, and there are some key factors for convenience store retailers to consider, including career development, growth, wages, benefits, flexible schedules and the overall working environment.
Today’s employees at all levels are looking for growth and development. Having a strong and dedicated program to accomplish this can help a company stand out to potential employees, Sam Neff, manager of the Human Resources Center of Expertise at TriNet, a provider of comprehensive human resources solutions based in Dublin, Calif., told Convenience Store News.
Today’s workers are also looking for a mission or purpose they can get behind. This should be used as a way to draw in the right candidates — from the job post to the interview process to starting the job.
Neff also recommends setting clear goals from the first day and making sure they align with the organization’s strategic objectives.
A company should connect the dots for employees so they see how their daily tasks connect to the strategic goals of the organization and how they are helping contribute to the overall mission.
"Competitive benefits and wages are always important, but we also find most employees want to feel like they are part of something. We create a strong team environment and show we care about our employees and their families," said Maureen Henson, director of human resources at Jacksonville, Fla.-based Gate Petroleum, which operates approximately 100 Gate-branded convenience stores, while providing fuel for an additional 200 operators.
Other tips for winning top talent are:
- When it comes to wages, it may be difficult to break out of the basic wage structure, but c-stores can offer performance-based compensation with clear benchmarks and rewards for going the extra mile.
- A job post should paint an accurate picture of the organization. It’s a place for a company to start telling their story.
- Companies need to be strategic about where they are posting their job ads. Think about what your ideal employee looks like and where you would find them. This could include social media, online community message boards, a local newspaper or networking groups.
- During the interview process, highlight benefits such as performance-based pay, supportive leadership, control over their own schedule, learning opportunities and a team culture — all of which are top priorities for many employees today.
- Be selective in who actually gets hired. During the interview process, present all the positive points, but then try and scare the person away by telling them all the downsides. See who is left.
- To retain top employees, talent management is important. High performers are often looking to advance within a company. Providing the employee with a path to improve their skills, which can lead to more opportunities, lets them know the company is invested in them.
"The workforce has changed greatly in the last 10 or so years and companies need to keep evolving, too. Doing the same thing you did in the past is not going to attract or retain top talent," said Henson.
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