Staffing is a challenge in most every industry, but labor shortages are hitting the service industry particularly hard right now. While your overall staffing goal is likely to maintain a full and functional staff, you’ll need to break that down into smaller goals. Start by looking at the three facets of the labor formula: recruitment, hiring, and retention.
Recruitment: Competition for good employees is tight. Not only are you competing with other convenience stores, you’re also competing with other industries. Although it might not feel like it sometimes, there are still people out there who will serve you and your customers well. You just need to know where to find them. Don’t just put the “Now Hiring” sign in the window and hope the perfect candidate sees it. Online ads may also be ineffective as they will often attract too many people. Instead, think outside the box. Offer incentives to your current staff, and even your most loyal customers, for referring applicants who are hired and stay on for at least 90 days. When you experience good service in your day-to-day life, hand that person your card and let them know you’re hiring. Good recruiting is the key to good hiring.
Hiring: Set specific objectives for the type of person you want serving your customers. Emphasize attitude instead of skills. Skills can be developed — bring in employees with some job experience, then teach them the rest. But without a good attitude, they won’t be as open to learning more, being coached, and applying themselves. That’s why interviewing and hiring for attitude and training for skills has a greater long-term impact on your overall staffing goals. Hiring people with positive attitudes and the willingness to grow gives you a trainable workforce that can easily learn the skills needed. When your focus is just on skill, you’re setting up your new hires for failure.
Retention: Your job isn’t over once you attract and hire the good employees. Retention is key to winning the turnover battle. Put all employees on a career path, both through mentorship and a trackable and goals-driving online training program. Share your staffing goals with your current employees, and provide incentives and rewards for people who help you reach them.