How to Find Good Employees in 2021
Although our national unemployment rate of 5.9% isn’t as low as the less than 4% pre-COVID rate, many companies are struggling to hire staff. Higher unemployment means more people are looking for work, so theoretically, it should be easier to hire now than in June 2019. What’s going on?
Why can’t you find people to staff your convenience stores?
First, you have to look at the demographic that was displaced during COVID. Not all businesses closed their doors; in fact, many rearranged their workforce to accommodate customers’ needs better or implemented work from home practices. Some of the primary types of businesses that cut jobs in 2020 include:
- Travel industry: airlines, cruise lines, and hotels, for example.
- In-person entertainment: amusement parks, gyms, theaters, casinos, etc.,
- Indoor seating restaurants and catering services
- Oil industry: from production facilities to service stations
This is important because those displaced employees are many of the same people looking for work now. Many of those are reluctant to re-enter the same industries that laid them off in 2020 because they fear the same thing will happen again when a new disaster strikes.
Next, it’s interesting to consider where these employees went. As consumer behavior shifted during COVID-19, new industries and work environments formed. For example, as of October 2020, 57% of convenience stores offer last-mile fulfillment services–often providing delivery to customers via a contracted relationship with DoorDash, Favor, Postmates, or UBER Eats.
Let’s look at DoorDash. DoorDash drivers or “Dashers” make between $2 to $10+ per order delivered, plus 100% of tips received and other promotional incentives. DoorDash released a new compensation plan in August 2019 and estimated its Dashers would receive an average of $18.54 per hour. One such driver in Washington DC estimated he earns between $18 to $25 per hour. On top of decent pay, Dashers make their own schedules, work as many or as few hours as they desire, have no restrictive dress code, and drive around in their own cars listening to the music of their choice. As of May 2021, DoorDash fulfilled 45% of all food delivery orders.
Remote working environments offer another challenge to companies trying to hire staff. Companies that successfully implemented work-from-home strategies and tools can now hire the best talent regardless of where the employee lives. From online interviews to cloud-hosted software, the pandemic pushed companies to consider new ways of getting work done, and for many of them, there’s no reason to turn back. Remote working environments typically come with more scheduling flexibility, creature comforts of working from home, and zero time wasted on expensive commutes.
Last-mile fulfillment opportunities and remote working environments are just two examples of new opportunities that absorbed much of the workforce previously displaced by the pandemic. There are many more that quickly swept up available labor over the past year. The moral to the story is that there’s not a massive surplus of employees in most parts of America just waiting to take back the jobs they lost in 2020 because they found new kinds of work.
What can you do to find good employees?
The bad news is you can’t just put a help wanted sign on your window and watch the stack of applications role in. However, the good news is that there are people actively looking for work–it’s just a matter of attracting them to your business. With so many companies trying to hire employees, you must find ways to stand out from the competition. It truly is a “candidate’s market.” Here are some things you can do to bring more applicants to your business:
- Offer benefits that are affordable to your company and desired by prospective employees. Some examples include childcare assistance, flexible working hours, caregiver benefits, and education assistance. Providing in-house employee development programs that lead to promotional opportunities is also attractive to those looking for work.
- Create compensation programs that will increase pay over time based on tenure and skill attainment. People are highly motivated by challenges. Offering step-pay-increases based on completing training programs and showing mastery of skills is a win-win for your team and your business. Of course, you’ll need to reassess your beginning pay if it’s too low to attract people at all.
- Do good work for your community. People want to work for companies that volunteer locally or provide financial support for essential community programs.
- Be professional. Ensure your store management and the supervisory team are well trained in leadership and present themselves professionally to customers and employees alike. Extend training programs past basic supervisory skills to include other areas such as integrity, compassion, and motivation.
- Advertise your job openings. If you rely on the local newspaper’s “help wanted” section, it’s time to modernize your recruitment efforts. Use a marketing agency to create promotional signage and handouts about your business that focus on why your store is a great place to work. Use online job boards relevant to your community, such as LinkedIn. Create a referral program to reward your current employees for promoting employment opportunities to people they know who would fit in well.
Are you interested in learning more about how GP Energy can help your business achieve its goals?
Succeeding in the convenience store industry is challenging. By partnering with GP Energy, we can help your business unlock its potential with new opportunities and achieve unimaginable success. Our experienced team can assess your business and the markets each location resides in and recommend programs that will add more profits to the bottom line. Contact us today, and let’s get started.