What does it take to motivate today’s chain store associates?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from Convenience Store Decisions magazine.
QuickChek, RaceTrac and Ricker Oil are all working to engage employees by creating a strong culture, working to reward and recognize employees and, most importantly, gain their continued feedback in order to best motivate them in the future.
Recognizing employees for a job well done doesn’t only mean a cash reward.
"As we think about rewards, we need to think about Millennials. By 2025 they will make up 75 percent of the workforce and they want non-cash rewards," said Karen Mitchener, director of human resources for Ricker Oil.
Many rewards programs are based on tenure, which in a high turnover industry can leave out key employees. Other programs focus on a static employee of the month award, which can get stale.
Ms. Mitchener recommended tying the rewards into company values and goals, such as superior customer service, mystery shop results, teamwork, positive store inspections and cost-cutting goals.
While managers might be getting a bonus if goals are met without a hitch, frontline employees also need motivation, and their manager’s reward doesn’t reach them.
Ricker’s points-based variable compensation program rewards according to individual metrics, such as holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. It also considers store metrics that include team payouts, such as when one employee passes a mystery shop.
"Ensure points can be managed on a timely basis," Ms. Mitchener noted. "If it’s not timely it defeats the purpose."
Finding their employees wanted recognition, communication and trust, RaceTrac switched from only recognizing milestones to giving out a service award every year. Its Employee Assistance Program includes complimentary fresh fruit delivered to team members, wellness challenges and competitions, free personal trainers, Zumba and kickboxing classes and RaceTrac’s annual Run for Research 5k.
QuickChek provides college tuition reimbursement to eligible team members. Assistant Store Leaders and Store Leaders can further their development through QuickChek University (QCU), a 10-part in-house leadership development program that even includes trust falls and a poll climb.
QuickCheck recognition includes "way to go" notes, birthday cards, team members of the month, and quarterly award winners. Monthly town hall meetings, weekly communication meetings and store meetings are all venues for repeatedly making your message clear and gaining valuable feedback from the staff.
Any recognition effort should also tie back to the retailer’s culture. Said Robert Graczyk, QuickChek’s vice president of human resources, "If it’s a family culture you want to create then maybe don’t schedule a meeting for 8 a.m. on a Saturday."
What are some obvious and less obvious tips around constructing store employee recognition and rewards programs? How should rewards differ for managers and non-managers? What works in high-turnover environments?