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Is Employee Retention a Problem at Your Gas Stations or Convenience Stores?

Employee retention and turnover are big issues for gas stations and convenience stores.

Being a cashier can mean standing for long hours, dealing with customer complaints, and low wages to boot. These factors may lead to employee dissatisfaction and unsatisfied employees that are hard to retain.

Thankfully, there are numerous programs for both attracting and retaining satisfied store employees. Continue reading for a curated list from Biz2Credit with numerous low-to-no cost employee retention programs.

What is Most Important to Your Employees?

According to Convenience Store News, career development, wages, benefits, flexible schedules, and the overall work environment are the most important factors in employee satisfaction.

Career growth

Promoting from within and supporting the professional development of your employees are policies that you should implement in your business and communicate to your staff. If you operate a franchise or branded location, make sure your employees know of leadership opportunities available within the company. If there are employee training and advancement workshops offered to employees, be sure to offer PTO to encourage attendance.

Flexible scheduling

Flexible scheduling is another low-cost retention strategy. Many hourly employees have to quit jobs because of emergencies, or restrictive attendance policies. An industry study showed that convenience store owners rank high employee turnover as the most common issue among their workforce.

Offering a way to choose shifts allows employees the flexibility of creating a schedule that works with their personal life. There are numerous scheduling tools available, including HotSchedules, a popular management platform used by industry leaders.

For an in depth look into which benefits are most important to prospective employees, check out this helpful guide form Biz2Credit on What Employee Benefits are Workers Looking For.

Cash Incentives Build Loyalty

Wages and benefits are the top reasons for high employee turnover among entry-level convenience store and gas station cashiers, said Convenience Store News. While you may not be in the financial position to outright increase employee salaries and benefits, recognizing employees with a nominal cash award may be more realistic.

In a study of over 1,200 workplaces, the Harvard Business Review found that “performance-related pay was positively associated with job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and trust in management.”

Examples of incentive pay are:

  • Employee of the Month: Each month, celebrate one employee for achieving performance milestones, such as being on time, working assigned shifts, and offering great customer service. The reward for the worker can be as simple as a pre-paid gift card and a certificate hung where other employees will see it.
  • Performance Contests: Create a contest to encourage employees to do tasks that might be overlooked, such as cleaning certain areas or selling promotional items. These contests should be based on measurable activities for the sake of fairness, and offer a good reward.
  • Referrals: Offer a bonus to employees who help recruit new workers. Efficient, outgoing, and friendly cashiers are bound to know like-minded candidates. If your current workers screen applicants for you, it will be easier for you to find other good hires. You can give the referring employee half the bonus when the new employee starts, and the other half once the new employee has hit a certain milestone, such as 3 months with your company.

Programs that turn retention and performance into a game are very successful with retail workers. According to employment expert Linda McKenna-Welch, providing rewards for good performance is good for employees. So, using similar rewards in your workplace will keep staff engaged, and engagement leads to satisfaction and longer employment.

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2 Ways to Fund Gas Station Employee Retention Programs

1. Current operational expenses

  • Consider tapping into current operational expenses when looking to fund a new retention program. For example, an incentive program like Employee of the Month will cost you as little as $50 each month. If you wanted to set an even smaller budget, you could offer movie tickets or other entertainment rewards.
  • Using current employees as a recruiting tool will need greater immediate investment. With this method, you are asking current employees to recommend prospective co-workers, so offering a larger nominal benefit will help boost participation. However, recruiting good employees will improve customer service, which has been proven to influence 70% of buying decisions, drive customer loyalty, and fuel sales.

2. External financing

  • If your employee retention and recruitment efforts can be rolled into an overall business expansion, you may be able to fund capital expenses like software through a Small Business Association loan.
  • The SBA’s CDC/504 loans were begun as a way to stimulate job creation and improve small business success. Gas station financing can be hard to get through a traditional lender – many banks shy away from the cash turnover in the business, and the environmental and safety risks involved in operating gas machines. But 504 loans are partially backed by non-profit organizations with community involvement goals.
  • Gas station and convenience store owners can use CDC/504 loans for purchasing land, building new facilities, and for certain other capital expenses to be used as part of a business expansion effort. For example, you may be able to capitalize software expenses for expansion and include them in your loan request.

So what is the bottom line? There are many ways to solve your employee retention problems, from the simple to the complex. However, with dedication, you can lower your employee turnover rate and improve the satisfaction that employees need to remain your most valuable assets.

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