Talent Management

Embracing the differences that minority candidates offer can help stores attract new customers.


I recently received a thin, white letter with the logo of my employer on it. While I have received many letters and packages from my employer, the thinnest of them all is, for me, the most important of them all. That’s right, it’s bonus time! 

Bonuses are handed out quarterly to management, and determining who gets bonuses is dictated by factors such as profit before overhead, sales, gas prices and more. The most interesting determinant, perhaps, is employee turnover.

Employee turnover can be voluntary or involuntary. Managers have to make tough decisions daily about hiring so they can have a positive impact on sales and profits. This topic came to light for me when I was discussing with a colleague the different metrics that need to be measured when evaluating employees.

She had experienced high turnover in her business unit (85%), but the interesting thing was that the individuals were let go because of improper cash handling, theft, insubordination and other company violations. This was, in my view, “good” turnover.

As we assessed her bonus breakdown, it was apparent that turnover was not differentiated in terms of good or bad. Companies spend much in hiring the right candidate, but it doesn’t always work out. Fair or unfair for managers—given the high costs incurred from a bad hire—there is accountability when it comes to selecting the right candidates.

Finding the Right Fit
High turnover is bad for a brand for many different reasons: excess training costs, not enough employees to cover shifts and even a poor reputation with consumers. All avenues need to be explored when it comes to hiring and retaining talented individuals, and that includes having a firm grasp on diversity.

Companies that are novices in diversity and inclusion initiatives find their attempts to hire diverse candidates eventually fail because they lack the ability to meld the strengths of minority candidates with the company’s overall business goals.  

With the growing Hispanic population and the related issues of immigration and language barriers, hiring is becoming increasingly more complex. The Hispanic population provides the c-store industry with challenges that didn’t exist 10 or 15 years ago, as they did not make up such a large customer base. But things have changed. 

Companies that want to effectively sustain their recruiting efforts in the Hispanic population must understand what attracts this group, as it’s a group that is clearly eclectic and has enormous buying power. Convenience stores—especially their frontline workers—struggle with the language barriers and are often frustrated, particularly during transactions.

Some managers do little or nothing to address discrimination issues, while more contentious issues such as employers mandating an English-only policy are debated everyday. 

The Hispanic population has surpassed the African-American population, so there’s no way around these tough issues. Hiring practices have to be shaped effectively in-house before being publicized and executed. Language and professional development issues need to be assessed and mapped out accordingly. 

Chain executives must remember that one size does not fit all. Store managers need to address the complexities of diversity and recognize that talent strategies must promote a holistic approach. Hispanic representation is crucial if companies are to remain competitive. Don’t act as if you are being forced into change; rather, take the necessary steps to move the business in the right direction.

Tonya Brown is a business unit manager for The Pantry Inc./Kangaroo Express in Sanford, N.C. She can be reached at (843) 364-8417.



  1. Interesting comment here about good and bad turnover. It was noted that manger she talked about had 85% turnover which is not bad for the industry and most of the turnover she said was good turnover because it was for some violation of the rules or misconduct. I agree that this was a good reason for letting people go but if most of the people were let go for the reasons state I have to tell you there is a hiring problem here. Edward Deming reported that the system always gives you 100% of what the system is designed to give you and here we have a system that is hiring the wrong kind of people. There is a need to develop a better hiring system.

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