CSD: Managing Today’s Retail Workforce
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from Convenience Store Decisions magazine.
Because major shifts in the economy have created unparalleled effects on the labor market, Convenience Store Decisions and Humetrics Inc. collaborated on our first ever human resources study. The summarized survey results include some interesting surprises, as well as some insights gleaned from reading between the lines.
Given the level of concern about the floundering economy of late, the survey results paint a very different picture for the convenience store industry. Looking at the next 12 months, more than half (56.6 percent) of the respondents expect staffing levels to remain the same and another one-third (35.5 percent) expect to actually increase staffing. Only 7.9 percent predicted staffing levels would decrease.
Of the respondents who are in a hiring mode, most are looking to add part-time hourly associates (83.9 percent), while 58.1 percent are adding full-time hourly workers and 32.3 percent and 16.1 percent need frontline managers and multi-unit level managers respectively.
"So, we see between the lines that, while ours might not be an industry of choice for most job seekers, for those of you in a recruiting mode, it would be wise to capitalize on the industry’s stability in the face of nationwide layoffs in other industries," said Mel Kleiman, president of Humetrics, which tallied the survey results.
And there’s another recruiting trump card many c-store chains easily overlook, Mr. Kleiman said. When it comes to recruiting store managers, most c-store organizations report the best results come from internal promotions (32.4 percent).
"How many people know what a great industry of opportunity ours is?" Mr. Kleiman said. "What kind of recruits would you attract if you changed that sign from ‘Help Wanted’ to ‘We Grow Store Managers’?"
If more employees thought they might have a shot at a management position, what effect might that have on the industry’s extraordinarily high employee turnover levels?
"We can’t help but ask because, even though this economy is causing most employees to cling to their jobs for dear life, most of our respondents reported that turnover is staying at about the same traditionally high levels for both hourly employees and salaried positions even during the downturn," Mr. Kleiman said.
Referrals are the second best source of managers at 22.5 percent and, surprisingly, newspaper want ads are third at 16.9 percent.
Among other findings in the survey:
- In spite of all the attention given to job boards, websites, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, the best recruiting sources for new frontline, hourly employees continues to come from traditional sources: employee referrals, in-store advertisements and walk-ins;
- 97.3 percent are increasing their training activities and budget or remaining at the same expenditure levels;
- Of those who have increased their investment in training, the greatest emphasis (80 percent) is on customer service skills, while foodservice safety/sanitation and manager/district manager training came in at 57.8 percent each.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of c-stores as training grounds for retail careers? Should c-stores be touting their managerial promotion potential more in their recruiting efforts? Overall, what should be particularly stressed when recruiting for c-stores versus other retail channels?