By Pat Pape
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—When it comes to employee compensation and benefits, one size does not fit all, agreed members of the “Differentiating Yourself Through Total Rewards” panel during the recent NACS 2021 Human Resources Forum.
The panel, facilitated by long-time HR Forum moderator Joanne Loce of Fortify Leadership Group, featured human resources professionals Matt Spackman of Kum & Go and Ashley Ray of Maverik, who discussed ways that convenience retailers can reward employees and encourage retention. One important first step is surveying employees about their desires and needs to discover “we don’t always know what we don’t know,” Ray said.
Both Maverik and Kum & Go conduct employee surveys to find out what employees think about the organization, including compensation and benefits. Those surveys have revealed that “not every benefit we offer is right for everyone,” Ray said.
Kum & Go recently wanted to update its total rewards strategy to ensure the company was competitive in the market and that the strategy reflected the values of the organization, said Spackman. “Our survey used a trade-off analysis methodology, which showed two different benefits, and the associate had to choose between them. At the end of the day, we were able to identify what the winning profile was from our associates’ standpoint.”
“Different locations create different challenges,” Ray said. “We want to be sure that if we offer something companywide, it was good for [employees at] all locations.”
As expected, the surveys told both companies that “compensation, benefits and medical benefits are important,” Spackman said. “The one thing that was a surprise to me was that our associates were interested in educational opportunities to develop financial wellness.”
Kum & Go plans to combine physical, mental and financial health as part of an updated rewards program that will roll out in the future.
At Maverik, employees expressed interest in career development. “We are a huge proponent for education for our employees and their dependents, and we realized that education is much more important than we thought originally,” Ray said.
Maverick offers scholarships for employees’ children at seven different locations in different footprints, and the company’s “I Made the Grade” program rewards employee’s offspring with money via checks that are mailed to them when they earn excellent grades in school.
The best way to keep employees updated about rewards is to “communicate, communicate, communicate and often,” Ray said. “Tie it back to ‘what’s in [it] for me,’ and keep it simple.”
The NACS Human Resources Forum educates and connects HR professionals specifically working in the convenience retailing industry. Whether in-person or virtually, attendees benefit from engaging presentations on topics vital to their job, case studies that can generate new ideas and valuable opportunities to build relationships with peers.
Be sure to read “Building a More Inclusive Workplace” in NACS Daily for more insights from the NACS Human Resources Forum.
Pat Pape worked in the convenience store industry for more than 20 years before becoming a full-time writer. She writes for NACS Daily and NACS Magazine.