Chris McKinney, chief human resources officer at Sprint Mart, is championing new programs within his role that aim to positively impact the employee experience at the Ridgeland, Miss.-based chain, which operates 115 stores across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Recently promoted to chief human resources officer this past winter, McKinney was involved in numerous technology-based human resources (HR) initiatives during his tenure at Sprint Mart, which began in the
summer of 2016.
CStore Decisions is recognizing McKinney as one of our HR award recipients due to his drive to add value to Sprint Mart through technology-based programs.
McKinney’s HR career trajectory began at The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., where he served as a cast member.
“Disney discovered an ability I didn’t even know existed within me, the ability to combine my experience as a former entertainer and musician and translate that into world-class training, delivery and facilitation,” he said.
After multiple learning and development opportunities, McKinney joined the Sprint Mart team as the assistant director of human resources. He was soon promoted to director of human resources, a title he held for just over four years until his promotion to his current role.
His current position entails leading strategic vision and daily operations for the full scope of human resources-related functions across the company. This includes functions such as people operations, talent acquisition, payroll and more.
McKinney’s dedication to supporting new programs was discovered after passing on his passion for training facilitation to the current Learning & Development team.
“As a former trainer, training facilitation will always hold a special place in my heart as something I truly love doing,” he said.
However, his shift in focus has allowed him to contribute to projects such as the redesign of the company’s HR technology strategy and the implementation of the Sprint Mart Learning, Engagement and Acceleration Program (Sprint Mart LEAP), the company’s 90-day learning and onboarding program.
The redesign of technology strategy involved McKinney sourcing Sprint Mart’s new platform and installing it from the ground up.
“During this process it became clear from our peers that managing integrations between disparate HR related platforms (ATS, HR, Time Keeping and Payroll) can be a full-time job in itself. So we made the early decision to try and find an all-in-one technology platform, where we could keep the data in one place, and eliminate the effort required to keep it in sync,” McKinney explained.
With this accomplished, McKinney was then able to kickstart Sprint Mart LEAP, the company’s solution to employee turnover, which occurred primarily during the first 90 days of employment.
The six-module learning program reinforces key concepts provided in the instructor-led company orientation. Sprint Mart incentivizes participation in Sprint Mart LEAP by offering pay increases with each milestone completed.
“Each module is designed to deliver key content, check for understanding via a quick learning assessment, provide a two-week time period to allow the employee to fully implement the learnings and provide an immediate pay raise,” McKinney said.
On par with McKinney’s goal of positively affecting employees’ experiences, he also helped install a digital-scheduling tool, allowing better communication between store employees and their managers, in response to employees requesting work schedules in advance and attendance accountability.
“Today, we commit to all employees a schedule 10 days in advance and have implemented a no-fault attendance policy, which holds everyone to the same attendance standard,” said McKinney.
Sprint Mart also rewards employees with perfect attendance at the end of each month.
Adapting to Today’s Market
Currently, Sprint Mart is working to address labor management issues such as competing with 100% remote work and the desire for gig work within younger generations. McKinney noted that the company is working to adapt its management strategies for 2022.
“We are actively exploring new functionality within our workforce management strategy to attempt to bridge the gap between fixed shifts and the desire for flexibility,” he said.
Total rewards is also a large focus in 2022 for Sprint Mart. It’s debating the right strategy to meet the needs of employees at all levels, while balancing costs at the same time as providing the options
employees care about most.
McKinney remains optimistic about the adjustments the industry will make in the face of today’s realities. He believes creative strategies will emerge while Sprint Mart attempts to be open as much as possible.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this conversation,” he said. “Ultimately, my goal is to keep Sprint Mart
relevant as an employer-of-choice within the communities we serve.”