$500 Signing Bonuses Help Recruit C-Store Staff

Wawa has hired more than 9,800 associates in the past few months, helped by incentives.

July 26, 2021

Wawa Employees

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Hiring bonuses continue to be a recruiting tool in the service sector, and convenience retailers like Wawa and Casey’s are leveraging them to snag more job applicants as the U.S. economy recovers from the pandemic.

Wawa is offering a $500 new-hire bonus through July 31 for certain store-level jobs, alongside a $500 referral bonus for current employees. The Pennsylvania convenience retailer is finding some success with the sweetened incentives, spokesperson Lori Bruce told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Wawa set a target of hiring 5,000 new team members this past spring and has exceeded that goal, hiring nearly 10,000 associates during recent months. Wawa ranked No. 1 on the Fuel Market News 2020 Fuel Leaders list, a ranking of the top 50 fuel brands in the convenience retailing industry.

“Our goal with these incentives is to encourage new associates to give us a try, get to know us and experience our culture and realize the growth and development opportunities we have available,” Bruce told the Inquirer.

Casey’s is offering new hires a $300 sign-on bonus through September 4. The Ankeny, Iowa-based retailer will pay $150 at 30 days on the job and the remainder at 90 days.

Meanwhile, trucking firms, faced with a severe shortage of qualified drivers, also are using bigger bonuses to recruit drivers. Tennessee-based US Xpress is offering a $30,000 bonus in Philadelphia in hopes of hiring a team of two drivers who take turns behind the wheel.

A two-part NACS Daily series recently examined the truck driver shortage. Read “Trucker Shortage Hits Home” and “Higher Pay for the Long Haul.”

“With this job market, a sign-on bonus is something that is certainly an easy ask for the employee and is something that more and more employers are ready to do, because they’re desperate,” Brian Clapp, president of CCI Consulting, told the Inquirer.

To help convenience retailers attract and retain top-notch people, NACS partnered with the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute in January 2020 to bring the Good Jobs Strategy to the industry. The Good Jobs Strategy, which is a combination of investment in people and smart operating choices, increases employee productivity, motivation and contribution and promotes operational excellence. Case studies show that implementing the Good Jobs Strategy can grow a business and increase customer loyalty.

In a recent newsletter, the Good Jobs Institute shared that business leaders have a unique opportunity now to improve jobs in a way that drives their competitive advantage through adaptability and differentiated service.”

In the WorkLife with Adam Grant podcast, “Why it Pays more to Pay More,” Zeynep Ton, president, Good Jobs Institute, said that when businesses that decide to pay more than market rate and promote from within, “You attract a better workforce in a way that creates a high motivation for your workers, but also great experience for your customers and high productivity but also competitive upside. They can do things that their competitors cannot do. And you designed a system for excellence.”

Retailers can access the Good Jobs Calculator, designed exclusively for NACS and the convenience industry. This tool allows retailers to use their own data and customized assumptions about the amount of improvement or uplift achievable, and executives can run scenarios on the bottom-line impact of a Good Jobs system.