Weigel’s takes employee recruiting and retention seriously and is rewarded with top-notch employees who work hard to carry out our chain’s mission to deliver guests an unparalleled experience that consistently exceeds expectations. Based in Powell, Tenn., with 68 locations in the east Tennessee region, Weigel’s — CStore Decisions’ 2019 Convenience Store Chain of the Year — employs 1,000 team members.
As the director of recruiting at Weigel’s, I know firsthand that we need the best talent available to provide great customer service and, being a local company, that it is important to serve and represent our community well. As an employer, that means being willing to adapt with the times to better accommodate the needs of a changing workforce.
In 2012, we started using Paylocity, a provider of cloud-based payroll and human capital management software solutions. In addition to using Paylocity for payroll, we also use it for training, continuing education, scheduling and employee recognition. Schedules can now also be placed onto the Paylocity online platform and shared with employees electronically.
The program allows managers to copy forward the schedules. This saves time and gets scheduling information to employees sooner, which allows them to better plan their lives. This feature is still a pilot program for us and only certain locations are testing it. We are encouraging managers to start posting schedules at least one to two weeks in advance to give cashiers and foodservice employees advanced notice.
Some old-school managers are not up to speed on technology and don’t see the benefits of this change, but we are teaching them as we go. We stress the importance of using technology, especially when it comes to retaining millennials and Gen Z, who expect to receive information electronically. We explain how these changes help with employee retention and benefit our managers by helping them reduce turnover. We also continue to look into text message options that allow employees to trade shifts, if needed, to reduce call outs.
One of the most successful retention programs we’ve implemented is allowing entry-level employees the opportunity to move up to shift lead and/or assistant manager after 60 days with the company.
Because they are being promoted from inside the company, they already know our culture well, and we have a greater chance of them staying with us — compared to an outside hire — because they are aware of our standards. If they are a shift leader, they can advance to an assistant manager through the same process.
On the recruiting front, we are trying more open interviews in the stores, meaning walk-in interviews can happen any time on a given day. We’ve also raised the rates on our employee referral program and are working on an employee loyalty discount program.
Adapting to changes and implementing new retention and recruiting programs, ideas and technology can help set c-stores ahead of the competition.