Keeping Your Star Employees

melWhile it seems logical that chains would retain their best workers, here are the top 10 ways the c-store industry gets its best people to quit.

By Mel Kleiman, President, Humetrics.

Now that job security is of prime importance to job seekers nationwide, the industry’s ability to weather this latest economic storm would be an effective recruiting message to attract top talent at all levels. But many convenience store chains miss these opportunities by making key mistakes that causes them to miss out on attracting talent and, more importantly, losing their current top employees. Here’s a look at the top 10 mistakes I see most often.

• Treating all employees equally. This may sound good in theory, but your employees are not equal. Some are worth more because they produce more results. Some prefer hands-on management while others would rather take the ball and run with it. The key, then, is not to treat them equally, but to treat everyone fairly and with respect.
• Not recognizing outstanding performance. Remember Psychology 101 where you learned that the behavior you want repeated must be recognized and rewarded—immediately? Also, the Hawthorne Effect posits that anything you pay attention to improves, so pay more attention to positive behaviors and results. The one thing that doesn’t cost a cent and every manager has 100% control over is recognition. Use this powerful tool.
• Not developing an employee retention strategy. Make a list of the people you don’t want to lose and, next to each name, write down what you are doing or will do to ensure that person stays engaged and on board. The person who is going to find it easiest to leave you is your best employee. He could leave today and have a job tomorrow making more money. How many of your competitors would love to hire your top performers?
• Putting up with mediocrity. A-players don’t have to or want to play with a bunch of C-players and will come to resent having to carry the load created by those who do just enough to scrape by and collect their checks. When this goes on too long, A-players start looking for a new team. Then what have you got?
• Not conducting employee retention interviews. Better to skip the exit interviews and make it a point to do employee retention interviews with your most valued people every six months. Ask them how things are going, what they enjoy most, what frustrates them most, is there anything you could do to make their jobs easier. You get the idea.
• No one has any fun at work. Where’s the written rule that says work has to be serious? The notion that work cannot be fun is actually counterproductive. The workplace should be fun. Find ways to make work and the work environment more relaxed and enjoyable and you will have happy employees who look forward to coming to work each day.
• Micromanaging. Too many supervisors squash creativity and innovation by telling employees exactly what they need to do. To make matters worse, they don’t tell them why it needs doing, why it’s important, or ever ask for their input on how it might be done better. The great philosopher Dilbert says 80% of success is depends upon hiring the right people and the other 20% is the ability to leave them alone and let them do their jobs.

As the onetime owner of three different businesses (including the largest group of Hertz Rent-A-Car franchise locations in the U.S.), Mel Kleiman’s expertise is based on his personal experience as a business owner as well as his extensive research and consulting work helping companies design successful employee recruiting, hiring and retention programs. He can be reached at


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