We have all heard the discussions around the $15 minimum wage expectation and, honestly, hourly wages are important, but they aren’t the be-all end-all. So, what other benefits are those “big box” companies offering out there today, and what the independent rent-to-own dealer do to compete?
According to an article from Chain Store Age, “Amazon is following the lead of other big retailers who are adding more benefits and perks to attract workers in today’s tight job market. Starting in January 2022, Amazon hourly employees with at least three months’ tenure no longer have to worry about the cost of their ongoing education”.
Amazon’s competitors like Target and Walmart have also increased their educational benefits in recent months as the job market has grown more competitive. I wonder if providing education assistance benefits is the new silver bullet for attracting and retaining a great team?
In another article from CSA, Walmart was quoted as saying, “The overwhelming majority of our associates say their hourly wage is the most important part of their pay and by folding the bonus into the overall pay raise, associates receive consistent, predictable pay.”
What does all of this mean for the independent brick and mortar rent-to-own store operators, and how do they step up their game to fight in this super competitive marketplace?
Dan Singh, CEO of Dial Rent to Own, offers a hiring bonus – paid after 90 days of employment to get good talent! “At Dial, we approach attracting employees much the same way we approach attracting customers,” Singh concludes. “A portion of our advertising budget is put aside to promote our company to prospective employees. Our bottom line is: Spend as much energy attracting employees as attracting customers – because there cannot be one with the other.”
In a conversation with Michael Bennett, CEO at Buddy’s Home Furnishings he mentioned, “The days of a typical 50-hour work week in rent-to-own and retail are changing, the coworkers today value a competitive hourly wage, a 40-hour or less work week and personal time away.” Michael, like all great leaders, pays close attention to the trends and direction in the rent-to-own community as well as big box retail and constantly looks for ways to compete in today’s tough recruiting and retention environment.
At SKC Enterprises, Inc., dba Rent One, owner Larry Carrico recommends building a simple career website connected to your main company website. “Presenting videos of our coworkers building, marketing, selling and managing our products is a simple solution that explains exactly what we do,” said Carrico. “All of us have a website for our products, why not a special site just for our potential employees?”
“Hiring is not rocket science,” he continued. “However, it does require a serious sense of urgency, due diligence, and high expectations. Potential hires need to know we consider them essential! How promptly and professionally we respond to their inquiries will make a difference in winning them over. Reply in whatever method they contacted you: if they called, then call them, and the same for inquiries via text or email.”
One trend prior to and through the pandemic is a virtual interview, at least to begin the hiring process. Is the independent rent-to-own dealer still scheduling initial in person interviews? While it seems important to me that a candidate would put their “best foot” forward by being on time and dressed appropriately for an in-person interview, the trend today is a virtual interview process.
In addition to updating the initial interview process, if your company has experience and education requirements in place that you have used for years, it may be time to revisit those outdated requirements to make sure you are casting a wide enough net to attract more potential employees.
CVS said it recently dropped education restrictions that kept some people from getting a job at its stores. It eliminated the requirement for a high school diploma or GED requirement for most entry-level roles, and this year it plans to end its GPA requirement when recruiting at universities.
Finally, offering a few things like an education/tuition assistance program, referral bonus, robust time off program, flexible schedules and an aggressive employee discount or purchase program may just be the key to creating a winning culture for your company.
This article was first published in the November 2021 issue of Retail Observer.
Keven Dalke is director of Rent Direct at Nationwide Marketing Group