How a Convenience Retailer Improved How It Hires

One tool: A quick survey that identifies applicants who fit the culture.

April 11, 2023

This article is brought to you by Sprockets, a NACS supplier member.

Sprockets-Logo-220.jpgRetailers are feeling a labor crunch, with a turnover rate of about 150% in 2021, according to the NACS SOI Compensation Report, up from an average of about 120% in prior years. The cost of one hire at the associate level, according to the SOI data, was $2,420.

Jim Vanbuskirk is the director of training at Ricky Rockets Fuel Center. He describes the Chicago-based business as “a full fuel center with very large c-stores, car washes and full diesel facilities.” The sites are staffed with up to 10 employees per shift, and Ricky Rockets is building its 10th store. That means a lot of hiring activity.

The high turnover rate in the industry, according to Vanbuskirk, is directly related to hourly employees not being properly trained. “They’re being thrown right into the fire. Here at Ricky Rockets, even our cashiers have 24 hours of training before they’re left by themselves,” Vanbuskirk says. “We want to be sure our employees are trained, are happy and are treated well.”

That training time ramps up the initial investment in a new employee even further. So how can Ricky Rockets be sure it’s bringing in the right people? How can it quickly and repeatedly find workers who will thrive—and stick around?

That’s where Sprockets, a provider of automated hiring software, and its “secret sauce,” as Vanbuskirk says, comes in.

“Our platform matches incoming applicants against your current top-performing employees,” says Zach Matook, director of marketing at Sprockets. “When a company partners with Sprockets, it chooses its top-performing employees to take a three-question survey. Natural language processing then identifies key personality traits and turns these into unique success profiles for specific roles and locations.”

Applicants then answer the same three questions and are automatically assigned a score between one and ten, based on their likelihood to succeed and stay long-term. Hiring managers receive instant alerts about top-rated candidates so they can contact them quickly and hire the ideal workers before competitors.

“You’re building better teams. You’re getting people in the door who fit your culture,” Matook says.

Vanbuskirk also appreciates the convenience and speed of the Sprockets system. “It’s one platform, every job we have for every store, and it made life a lot easier for us,” he says.

This is the first installment of a two-part NACS Daily series on how convenience retailers can use the Sprockets system to improve their bottom line. Learn more about Sprockets.