A local retailer in Arlington, VA had revised store hours posted on the front door. The manager, who most customers know well, said he had to reduce the hours because he can't find people to staff the store during normal hours. "My customers love our store and ask about the staff they meet when they come in," he added, "but it's hard to find the right people and training them is a significant up-front investment."
Another nearby retailer reports that because her store sells age restricted products, she has had a difficult time finding people 21 and older who can do the job and are willing to work on a part time basis. "I've had to increase the amount I pay my employees to be competitive in this labor market," she added. These retailers aren't alone. Across America, thousands of convenience retailers are working double time to find good employees and putting programs into place to keep them happy in the job. The good news is that most customers are understanding and compassionate about the the challenge of hiring and keeping good employees. But when it comes to retaining employees and selling age-restricted products, good training, management support and positive reinforcement go a long way.
Here are some tips for building a strong work environment that attracts high-quality employees:
- Make sure your employees feel comfortable doing their job. Training them on how to responsibly sell age restricted products is vital. (Best Practice #2)
- Reward employees for a job well done. (Best Practice #11)
- Make sure employees understand your store's commitment to the community and how important it is to your company values. (Best Practice #16)
- Make Make sure employees know your company policy, the laws in your state, the new federal U21 law, and how to use any new scanning technology. (Best Practice #4)
- New POS systems that scan IDs are fantastic, but training is vital to make sure employees match photo IDs to the customer and know how to refuse a sale when the ID is not valid. (Best Practice #13)
For more information on how to train and support employees, take our Best Practices Survey which can help you make sure your store is prepared and read through our Guide to Best Practices.