Over the past two years, the pandemic sped up changes in behaviors and expectations. The “silver tsunami” of Baby Boomer retirement forced companies to adjust to different motivations of younger generations of workers and pushed wages higher.
More of us want to work from home and avoid the commute. As a result, we’ve grown increasingly impatient with waiting in line and often prefer shopping from the comfort of our homes. And at the same time, we appreciate a friendly face and being greeted when interacting with businesses and the public.
These changes are readily apparent to our convenience store (c-store) friends.
Many people made their favorite place to buy gas a one-stop for common household and food items. The reasons include avoiding larger crowds (for social distancing), simple purchasing decisions (instead of multiple brands of the same product), and fast checkout.
Naturally, with growth comes challenges. In recent surveys, c-store operators identified the top three ongoing concerns:
Supply chain issues will be around for a while. Because the supply chain is affected by everything from raw materials and manufacturing to warehousing and transportation, there’s no quick fix.
Both labor and inflation are linked. The job market and some Gen-Xers are vying for support and pay raises, even for relatively unskilled labor. A bigger payroll means smaller profits and ultimately pushing those labor costs to consumers through higher prices for goods. Fifty-five percent of store operators view labor as a long-term problem.
The New C-Store Workforce
- Millennials value flexibility and work-life balance. They want to maximize skills and professional development. They want to work for companies that demonstrate inclusive and ethical leadership.
- Gen-Z seeks job security and relationships. They are motivated by intrinsic factors, such as the desire to effect societal change.
How Are C-Stores Addressing Workforce and Labor Supply Challenges?
According to the CSD/Humetrics HR Benchmarking Survey, convenience store chain operators stay competitive in this tight labor market by:
- Ramping up recruiting via referrals, social media, job sites, and in-store and outside signage
- Creating incentives for employees to pick up extra shifts
- Offering flexible schedules
Upping the recruiting game is always a good idea. But staff taking on more work, even with incentives, is only sustainable for the short-term and increases the chance of burnout.
What if technology could help workers do more in the same amount of time while making their jobs easier?
Automation is the Secret Sauce!
Remember that the next generation of workers, the Millennials and Gen-Zs, are comfortable with technology. By implementing automation tools to streamline or even eliminate repetitive tasks, c-store operators can improve staff job satisfaction. Happy workers make recruiting even easier, and customers feel more at ease (and likely to buy more, too!).