Keys to a Successful Workforce

Attendees at NACS HR Forum learn how to engage and empower c-store employees.

March 22, 2019

Charleston, S.C. – HR leaders from across the U.S. continued to rethink and refresh how the convenience store industry can recruit, hire and retain top talent at NACS HR Forum this week. One focus of the meeting was on how store managers play a critical role in not only retaining employees, but also engaging them in an effort to grow more leaders within the company.

Joanne M. Loce, managing director at Fortify Leadership Group, led a panel of HR professionals who discussed best practices and techniques that their store managers use to create a work environment that fosters engagement, retention and business performance.

“People leave managers, not companies,” said Loce. “65% of employees would rather have a new manager than a pay raise.”

Panelist Bob Graczyk, vice president of human resources with QuickChek, says it’s critical to engage store managers and leaders through recognition in order to reduce turnover and boost performance. “The more recognition we give our folks, the more engaged that team is,” said Graczyk.

Panelist Mansoor Rasheed, senior manager of human resources at United Pacific, concurred that recognition is key to success. “We continuously refresh and remind our leaders to recognize employees, and we try to praise employees in public,” said Rasheed.

Both panelists use surveys to gauge employee engagement, which also brings to light certain issues that corporate leaders can work on. “We learned through surveys that not having an advanced survey was an issue for employees,” said Rasheed.

For Graczyk, “Flexible scheduling is one of the most important assets to the team today. Many of our stores will plan their schedule two to three weeks ahead of time, so people can plan their lives around work.”

The scheduling topic resurfaced later, when attendees at the conference heard from Stacy Ferreira, founder and CEO of Forge, an app that allows companies to partner to share workers. Ferreira spoke about the future of the worker, particularly the millennial worker, painting a picture of an employee who works multiple jobs—not always because they have to—to maintain a flexible schedule that fits into their lifestyle.

“People don’t desire the corner office. They desire the flexibility to work in a Starbucks at 2:30 p.m.,” said Ferreira.

The millennial is taking care of themselves first and foremost, says Ferreira, which means that a career is not linear. They’re working multiple part-time jobs, making a flexible work schedule in high demand for not only this generation, but others as well.

“Companies who have more flexibility retain people for much longer,” said Ferreira.

Although no one knows exactly what the future holds, Ferreira admitted, it’s up to us to determine the future for the workplace. The best organizations are those that empower employees to make their own decisions, she said.

 “Those companies that empower their employees are succeeding,” said Ferreira.