Technology/Services

3 Strategies to Strengthen the Convenience-Store Workforce in 2021

c store worker
Photograph: Shutterstock

The landscape for c-store workforces has seen its share of changes within recent months, and new challenges call for new solutions—especially as retailers seek to drive in more customers and recoup sales lost to the pandemic. Fortunately, best practices and technologies can create a better work environment and a more profitable store. Here are three strategies for c-stores to focus on as they look to increase sales in the coming months.

Improving retention

While many c-stores have historically seen staff come and go at a faster rate than other industries, c-store retailers need solutions to abate rapid turnover in their labor force now more than ever. Improving retention is crucial for a number of reasons, not least of which is that it helps cut the costs and time commitment involved in training new hires. 

According to NACS’ 2019 State of the Industry (SOI) Compensation Report, the cost to hire an hourly c-store associate has increased by more than 30% since 2016, totaling an average of $1,716 per new hire, while the turnover rate has remained over 100%. And the cost is likely higher in the wake of the pandemic, as COVID-19 takes a toll on retailers’ labor forces and margins and as heightened health protocols add to the scope of standard training.

So what keeps staff on board? Many of employees’ top priorities boil down to communication. According to Technomic’s 2019 Hiring and Retention Strategies report, 25% of foodservice employees report that they are not satisfied with how communication from corporate is conducted or with the incentives and recognition they receive on the job. In an effort to avoid similar sentiments, many proactive c-store retailers have implemented financial incentives for their employees, including wage raises, bonuses, weekly advancements and more, according to a recent report in CSP magazine.

For retailers looking to provide clear communication with employees, digital solutions can help them do so without putting another major time commitment on managers’ plates. Solutions from PlayerLync’s mobile workforce enablement software, with features such as digital Performance Management and Mobile Training & Development, can make a world of difference in ensuring that frontline workers are prepared for success with effective training, updated on changes to day-to-day operations and informed with key practices for in-store safety—and that they receive feedback on their work as needed.

Going paperless

Amid COVID-19, paperless communications aren’t merely an added convenience—for many retailers, they can be a lifeline. In addition to being more costly (from buying paper and printer ink, to paying for distribution or mailing of paper materials, to scanning costs and more), paper communications can be slower—a detriment in a time when expedience is of the essence. Paper materials can create a slowdown in communication, while the pandemic calls for agility in responding to and implementing the latest updates in operations and protocols; once updated training and development materials are printed and mailed to store locations, there’s a good chance that they’ll already be outdated.

Plus, as retailers are forced to compete for consumers’ dollars more intensely than ever, falling behind other c-stores in implementing practices to protect health and improve service can be detrimental to sales.

Here, too, PlayerLync can provide an answer. PlayerLync’s solutions for Paperless Operations allow c-stores to create and distribute documents, forms and interactive training content to relay information and evaluate comprehension in real time. Solutions for Employee Communication for remote workers ensure every employee receives important messages in a timely manner, which creates a more inclusive and collaborative workplace—and ensures consistency from store to store as employees from each location are all updated at once. If there’s no consistency from store to store, employees and management can get confused easily with regards to safety protocols and guidelines, scheduling, inventory and more. This can lead to improper safety protocols being in place, out-of-stocks happening due to oversight in inventory and more.

Boosting sales

Amid today’s dynamic market, consumer priorities—including comfort level in the store, expectations for service and the products they’re shopping for—change from week to week. A well-trained, well-informed staff can respond to these changing needs, tailoring operations to best reflect how customers want to shop and what they’re looking to buy.

PlayerLync can help c-store employees turn on a dime to attune to market trends. Modern Learning solutions take an interactive approach to increase employee engagement, allowing workers to learn while on the job at a pace that works for them. Retailers can share best practices across teams, encouraging a collaborative workforce. Mobile Content Management offers a user-friendly platform to share corporate content securely, and Offline CMS keeps content current, reliable and available—even without an internet connection.

Today’s landscape adds a number of challenges to labor management for c-stores, but cutting edge solutions from PlayerLync can support a happier, more effective workforce—and that’s a win for everyone. To learn more, visit playerlync.com/solutions.

This post is sponsored by PlayerLync

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