Behind the Scenes of 'You're Hired'

Practical tips to improve recruitment and prevent turnover.
October 09, 2018
LAS VEGAS – The success of every convenience store hinges on its ability to recruit, select, hire and retain top performers. With record low unemployment rates across the United States and increased competition in today’s employment climate, recruiting talent and selecting the right employee for the job should be top priorities. 

Marcella Burkheimer, director of human resources at Casey’s General Stores Inc., and Nichole Upshaw, executive director of HR at RaceTrac Petroleum Inc., itemized this critical initiative in Sunday’s session “19 Recruiting Strategies to Try in 2019.” 

Retailers must put time and effort into creating a plan for action. Implementing the following crowdsourced strategies will help your company successfully produce and preserve a winning team: 

•    Referral program. Offer employees “lightning” or “supercharged” referral bonuses, especially for positions or stores that are harder to fill. 

•    Boomerang recruiting. Whenever employees leave, ensure them that they are always welcome back. Don’t be afraid of rehiring them. Also, keep in mind that previous employees can be your best recruiting tool. If they left on good terms and had a positive experience, they will freely spread the word for you. 

•    Car flyers. Some businesses operate their third shifts behind locked doors. Capture this employee group’s attention by putting flyers on car windows. 

•    Friendly competition. Incentivize current employees with a recruiting challenge among stores. The one with the most referrals wins a prize, such as a branded item or party. 

•    Apartment welcome packets. Many apartment complexes offer welcome packets when new tenants move in, and the U.S. Post Office sends welcome packets to people who register new addresses. Inquire to see if you can include a store coupon that contains a recruiting message. 

•    Culture. Create a positive, welcoming and fun environment where people want to work. News of a great culture travels fast to potential employees. In addition, anyone who enters your store doors is a possible applicant. Make sure your store always puts on its best face. 

•    Staff retainment. The biggest thing you can do to keep current employees is to make them feel valued. Recognize them in meaningful ways and offer them opportunities to build a career with your company.

•    Store signage. More than 40% of new hires learn about job opportunities through signage, including road signs, in-store signs and signs on the pump. All signage should be temporary and attractive.

•    Internship program. Attract employees and establish positive opinions early in the game. Interns can be retained during the academic year on a part-time basis and offered full-time employment at the conclusion of their internship or upon graduation. 

The remaining strategies can help retailers build a concerted outreach program with ongoing recruiting pipelines:

•    Career events. Partner with local high schools, community colleges and universities, technical schools and community-sponsored events. Understand the recruiting programs they offer and participate in onsite or virtual career fairs.

•    Workforce programs. Developmental resources and tools help job seekers improve their résumé and skillset, while connecting them with compatible employers.

•    Educational institution and governmental agency work programs. Opportunities such as Community Life programs help disabled individuals obtain work experience. Take caution to meet the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division requirements.

•    Community references. Maintaining positive relationships with leaders in your community is influential. People you respect— and who respect you—can be valuable advocates.

•    Seasonal workforce. Reach out to students, teachers and other professionals who may need jobs in the summer, or stay-at-home parents who may work during the school year.

•    Social media. Share employee-generated content on social media channels, such as Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

•    Digital delivery. More than 80% of c-store applicants apply via a mobile device. Add video job descriptions to your website to make it easy to explore.

•    Recruiting cards. Pass these out everywhere you go. The best employees may have jobs already but might consider a change when they learn about an appealing opportunity. Be ready to share what your store has to offer.

•    Trending calendar event. Host a “national hiring day” to create buzz for your brand or choose a recurring day and time each week when people can inquire about jobs. Make sure it is visible to the public, not just customers.

•    Beneficial turnover. When a competitor announces it’s going out of business, contact the store and its employees to tell them you are hiring.