Technology/Services

3 Ways to Ease Labor Headaches

Best practices for managing your employees

Of all the pain points for convenience-store operators, labor management is high on the list.

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There are schedules to track, taxes and benefits to account for, shift-change requests to deal with and much more.

The headaches are understandable: Each c-store has an average of 18 full- and part-time employees, according to NACS data. And labor costs represent 30% of all c-store gross profit dollars.

“(Workforce management) is important because labor is such a large chunk of their business expenditure, and it continues to rise with another 19 states increasing the minimum wage just this year,” says Cederick Johnson, communications manager for PDI. “While having the right people, at the right time, in the right role sounds easy, it’s not. So, maximizing labor dollars and productivity is key.”

So, how can you transform managing your employees from stress-inducing to a good experience for all involved?

Here are some best practices:

Hire Smart

First of all, be thoughtful about hiring. Look for employees who will care about your store, your brand and your customers. Are they upbeat? How will they interact with customers? Will they keep the restrooms clean?

“You want people who are exceptional. People who go beyond being good employees and dedicate themselves to delivering your chain’s unique brand experience to customers every day,” Johnson says.

The in-store experience is what keeps customers coming back, so it’s imperative to invest in your employees. Training is the foundation that ensures consistent operational execution, and your employee-training program should further emphasize each employee’s role in the customer experience.

Optimize Staffing Levels

Have too few workers during a busy shift? That’s a recipe for unhappy customers, stressed-out employees and unbudgeted overtime that drives up costs. Have too many workers on duty? You’re losing money, and your employees are bored and not engaged.

An integrated workforce-management system, such as the software offered by PDI, tracks market-basket data to present you with actionable traffic-pattern metrics upon which to base your staffing levels.

“When you’re optimizing those scheduling patterns based on the traffic in your stores, you’re able to maximize the efficiency from a labor standpoint while maintaining customer service,” Johnson says.

Save Time and Minimize Mistakes

As any operator knows, it’s a must to get payroll right. But there’s so much that goes into payroll calculations: taxes and benefits, hours worked and more.

Any numbers that are tracked by hand, or calculations that are transferred to multiple systems, are subject to human error.

Operators should look for a comprehensive workforce-management suite, such as the one offered by PDI, to eliminate disparate systems and automate manual processes that could lead to payroll errors.

“The No. 1 gain retailers get from an automated workforce-management system is that it increases operational efficiency by tightly integrating with your time capture and financial systems. The result is that there are fewer opportunities for failure associated with disparate systems,” says Drew Rhoades, PDI’s manager of workforce product development.

Having a well-functioning employee-management system means fewer payroll errors, which means happy employees, which, in turn, means happy customers.

“The ultimate goal is to provide a level of customer service that keeps people coming back to your stores,” Johnson says. “The lifeline of your c-stores is happy customers.”

Look to PDI to provide your c-stores with a full, integrated suite of workforce-management software. 

This post is sponsored by PDI

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