LA CROSSE, Wis. — Kwik Trip Inc. was rated the No. 1 large company in The Des Moines Register's 2016 survey of top workplaces. Low turnover rates, partly due to the retailer's profit sharing program, played a key role in earning Kwik Trip the distinction.
One employee, Robert Nichols, told the news outlet he was a customer at the Tobacco Outlet Plus store in Urbandale when one of the employees suggested he apply for a job. Within three months of being hired as a part-time clerk at Tobacco Hut, a division of Kwik Trip Inc., Nichols was promoted to a manager in training.
Six year later he is in charge of a store, with an eye on moving up in the company, according to the report. Nichols said promotion opportunities is one of the perks of the family-owned Kwik Trip.
Kwik Trip also shares 40 percent of its pretax profits with its 16,000 workers; offers health insurance and other benefits to employees; offers a 401K savings plan; and provides a month-long sabbatical at workers' 20-year anniversaries, explained CEO Don Zietlow.
"We have to take care of our employees so that they can take care of our customers," Zietlow added.
Kwik Trip has a 30-percent turnover rate, a testament to the benefits, culture and development opportunities awarded to workers. The average turnover rate in the convenience store industry is 77 percent, the news outlet reported.
In addition, the company's Retail Helper program hires people with disabilities to stock shelves, empty trash, do inventory counts and other duties. The company matches workers abilities with the store's needs, which gives those workers experience in the work world and provides them with a way to earn money, said David Mitchell, administrator of the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
Kwik Trip operates 59 stores in Iowa under the name Kwik Star. It also owns and operates 21 Tobacco Outlet Plus stores in Iowa, including six in the Des Moines metro.
In all, La Crosse-based Kwik Trip has more than 475 stores in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.