The La Crosse, Wis.-based chain, which employs 1,779 people in the Hawkeye State, operates 59 convenience stores in Iowa under the name Kwik Star to avoid confusion with QuikTrip, Tulsa, Okla., another c-store chain that operates in the state. Kwik Trip also owns and operates 21 Tobacco Outlet Plus stores in Iowa.
In all, Kwik Trip has more than 475 stores in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Click through for details on how Kwik Trip earned top workplace honors ...
1. Opportunity for promotion
Within three months of being hired as a part-time clerk at Tobacco Hut, a division of Kwik Trip, Robert Nichols (above) was promoted to a manager in training, he told the newspaper. That was six years ago, and now he is in charge of a store with an eye on moving up in the company.
Nichols said opportunity for promotion is one of the perks of the family-owned Kwik Trip.
2. Competitive benefits
The company shares 40% of its pretax profits with its 16,000 workers; offers health insurance and other benefits to employees; offers a 401K savings plan; and provides a month-long sabbatical at workers’ 20-year anniversaries, CEO Don Zietlow said.
“We have to take care of our employees so that they can take care of our customers,” he told the paper.
4. Biggest challenge?
The Register asked what the company’s biggest challenge is in attracting qualified candidates.
“We look for candidates who embody our core values: honesty, integrity, respect, excellence, humility, innovation and work ethic,” said Zietlow. “It’s not easy to find that total package. Last year we hired less than 4% of all applicants.”
It also asked how Kwik Trip shows employees that they are part of something meaningful.
“We receive over a dozen stories per week—almost 1,000 a year—from guests voicing appreciation for our coworkers going above and beyond expectations. We share those stories with all coworkers in a weekly newsletter so they know the kind of impact our people have in guests’ lives,” Zietlow said.
5. Special staff, special programs
Kwik Trip also has a program called Retail Helper to hire people with disabilities to stock shelves, empty trash, do inventory counts and other duties. The company matches workers’ abilities with a store's needs, which gives those workers experience in the work world and provides them with a way to earn money, David Mitchell, administrator of the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, told the Register.