Despite high unemployment rates, employee turnover continues to confound many retailers. Not so much for New Jersey-based c-store chain Quick Chek Food Stores, which has been named a great place to work by regional publications several years running.
Quick Chek operates more than 120 stores throughout New Jersey and the southern New York metro area, ranging from corner shops to larger facilities that feature pharmacies and gas stations. Quick Chek prides itself on its “total customer dedication” mission — always delivering what the customer wants – as well as its 40-percent annual turnover rate.
“But even at that rate, we’re on track to hire about 1,200 people,” says Bob Graczyk, vice president of human resources. Because of its constant hiring mode, he says Quick Chek had long contemplated a digital solution to screen and score applicants, reduce paperwork and streamline the hiring process.
The company selected JobApp Network, geared to multi-unit operations that don’t have an on-site recruiting professional at each location. The end-to-end web- and interactive voice response-based talent management solution helps organizations improve the talent selection process, strengthen HR compliance and capture government hiring incentives. After hiring, the company can push HR data to a variety of POS, payroll or ERP systems and deliver e-learning and employee performance management tools.
Prior to using JobApp Network’s talent management solution, Quick Chek’s hiring process was paper-based: Individual store managers were responsible for accepting applications and determining who would get an in-person interview.
“Once we decided to hire somebody, the store manager would have to re-key the information that came off the job application form into the store-level system,” Graczyk says, a time-consuming process that took managers away from assisting customers or their day-to-day duties of running the store.
JobApp’s solution screens and scores candidates using a one- to five-star rating system. “The system screens out the people who either don’t match the job we’re looking to fill or … don’t do well on the assessment,” Graczyk says. “It means they may not be a good fit for our kind of work.”
Candidates who are not willing to wear a uniform or who say no to drug screening — two of Quick Chek’s requirements — fall to the bottom of the applicant pile. “We’re still going to see those applications, but those individuals who say yes to drug screening or wearing a uniform or [show] a willingness to accept stated pay will rise accordingly.”
In other words, he explains, “If I have two candidates for a position that requires weekends and holidays, and one says ‘Yes’ to working weekends and holidays and the other says ‘No,’ I’m going to look at the candidate that says ‘Yes.’”
For Quick Chek, JobApp designed a custom integrated talent management solution to include applicant tracking, behavioral assessments, on boarding, tax credit screening/processing and electronic I-9 and W-4 E-Verify immigration compliance.
“We configured JobApp with a very specific applicant and new-hire workflow” in mind, JobApp vice president of sales and marketing Ken Lang says, “determining what key new-hire data needs to be sent to its third-party system ... as one file. Applicants and managers complete tasks and headquarters can see it all.”
“We appreciate the integration of forms such as I-9 and WOTC [Work Opportunity Tax Credit], assessments and on boarding,” Graczyk says. “We saved 50 percent of our time by not chasing paper any more. We can track everything online if we need to go back.” The new paperless system also allows store managers to share applicants with fellow managers – a feat previously too cumbersome to handle.
Hiring the right people
Graczyk says store leaders quickly acclimated to JobApp. “We figured [they] would need much more training in order to become effective with the system. But we found out they could use JobApp right away, and they loved it.”
JobApp’s ranking of applicants scores with managers too, he says. “They like that they can screen and interview applicants who are five-star [candidates], even though we didn’t tell them they couldn’t interview applicants with fewer stars.”
JobApp is saving front-end managers a lot of time by “allowing them to look at better-quality people more quickly, which means we can fill spots more quickly with the right people,” Graczyk says. “We don’t hire the first warm body that walks in.”
The system was implemented in June, but Graczyk says it’s too early to speculate on ROI. “I think some of our success measures are going to be feedback from the field about [improved] quality of the candidates,” he says. “Certainly we’ll be able to take a look at our turnover and retention rates and look at the change in those.” Still, “There’s no doubt JobApp’s simplicity has been well received by the team.”