Convenience stores are an excellent stop for people who want to get in, make their purchases, and get out quickly. A few of the reasons “C-Stores” are so popular include the flexible hours of operation, quick and easy transactions, available fuel-and-go, and oftentimes a hearty food service. Not only are these one-stop-shops perfect for the daily commuter, but also a refill and restocking site for families on road trips. CSNews estimated during the 2018 holiday season that a record-breaking 112.5 million Americans were going to be on the road last year. With that much traffic on the roads, convenience stores were booming with fuel sales, snacks, and beverages.
Size, Scale, and Turnover
According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the U.S. convenience store industry has 154,958 stores, as of December 31, 2017, which accumulated upwards of $550 billion a year in sales. Average convenience stores, selling fuel food and the typical fare, have around 1,100 customers every day, adding up to over 400,000 annually for many locations.
Despite the massive size and hefty income that these C-Stores bring in, this sector struggles to retain its employees. According to NACS, this industry had a 2017 turnover rate around 155%, which is down from 2016’s 133%.
CSNews found most convenience store industry turnover comes from the entry-level store associates. On average, store associates tend to work in C-Stores for 2.2 years, assistant managers for 3.2 years, and store managers for 6.4 years. With turnover like this, companies are losing time and money in onboarding, training, and knowledge loss.
Bruce Tulgan, founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a management research and training firm, wrote an in-depth article addressing turnover. In his article, Avoid the Five Costs of Unplanned Turnover Among Top New Hires, Tulgan gives examples of why turnover occurs and how to solve it. Tulgan even claims that not all turnover is bad.
“Your goal should not necessarily be to eliminate turnover completely. That’s never going to happen. Your goal should be to take control of the turnover,” said Tulgan.
So how can C-Stores take control of the turnover rates?
The answer seems simple: improve job training.
Research shows 40% of employees who don’t receive proper job training will leave their positions within the first year. The lack of employee development and training is a reflection of the high turnover rate.
So how can employers train their employees more effectively?
Mobile Learning to the Rescue
Technology is one of the forces that hold our society together, and with the increased reliance on our mobile devices, companies must adapt when it comes to their employees. Due to the low-average tenure of many convenience store employees, C-Stores must do all they can to make sure their employees feel trained. This training includes taking advantage of the devices they bring with them from home.
Instead of sealing off an employee in a back room and telling them to read over outdated training manuals or log into some large company-owned LMS, think of a more creative and innovative way to teach. Although on-the-job training from other employees can be useful for the first few days, it’s not always helpful when new employees are alone for the first time. What if they don’t remember how to close the store? What if they don’t know the cleaning policies or where to put stock? Security, safety, and more severe topics also need careful consideration in this area.
What do new employees do when there is no one to ask?
What if the answers to all of their training issues were available on their mobile device? With innovative mobile learning technology, you can quickly develop a custom application containing all needed materials to operate the store. An application with user-friendly design and layout makes it easy for employees to find answers at their fingertips. No more frantic phone calls, missed opportunities, or ignoring vital standard operating procedures.
Not only does m-Learning benefit employees in urgent situations, but also it allows them to be actively learning in the slower hours of their shifts. This doesn’t just keep your employees informed, but also prepares them for the different types of scenarios they could encounter in daily operations.
The concept of micro-learning revolves around bite-sized training resources that can be found quickly and conveniently. If an employee has a question, it should be addressed as soon as possible, and what better way than to have it at their fingertips?
According to Statista, in 2018, training expenditures in the United States cost 87.6 billion dollars, down just slightly from 2017’s $93.6 billion. Traditional learning is expensive and time-consuming and can take away from employee productivity.
Micro-learning is designed to help companies build their training in a fraction of the time it would usually take- at an even higher level of quality. This form of learning and training is spreading into more environments where things must be done promptly and without error. From use in call centers to the hustle and bustle of a restaurant, micro-learning can assist in a wide variety of sectors.
In the hectic and fast-paced culture that we are in, microlearning can be an ideal solution for busy workers. The reason it is such an ideal solution is that it does not disrupt the learner in the same way that a full day or week of training would.
Today there are specialized training products for people in retail and quick service sales roles. Ready Training, Inc.’s custom training solutions for retail, branded. ReadyConvenience, offers a comprehensive learning management solution, the Sunhawk LMS. ReadyConvenience contains a massive library of C-Store training materials, or their production team can be contacted to build a custom training program. Check out their video for more information. That’s just a small sample of some products made specifically for quick-paced learning in the convenience space.
What are some other options you’ve been checking out for your convenience store training programs? Float would love to chat with you about it.
The Float Team
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