Retail Observer

November 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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Page 47 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM NOVEMBER 2021 48 W e've all heard the arguments over the expectation of a $15 minimum wage. And honestly, hourly wages are important, but they aren't the be-all, end-all. What other benefits are the big-box companies offering, and what can independent rent-to-own dealers do to compete? According to 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 competitors such as Target and Walmart have increased their educational benefits as the job market has heated up. Are education assistance benefits the new silver bullet for attracting and retaining a great team? In another article, a Walmart representative revealed, "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 this mean for the independent brick-and-mortar rent-to- own store operator, and how can they step up their game in the 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 in much the same way we approach attracting customers. We put a portion of our advertising budget 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 without the other." Michael Bennett, CEO at Buddy's Home Furnishings said, "The days of the 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." Like all great leaders, Michael pays close attention to the trends and directions 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 that's connected to your company's main website. "Presenting videos of our coworkers building, marketing, selling and managing our products is a simple solution that explains exactly what we do," Carrico said. "All of us have a website for our products – why not a special site for our potential employees?" "Hiring is not rocket science," he added. "However, it does require a serious sense of urgency, due diligence and high expectations. Potential hires need to know that we consider them essential! How promptly and professionally we respond to their inquiries will make a difference in winning them over. Reply in the method they contacted you, whether they phoned, texted or emailed." A continuing trend that started prior to the pandemic is a virtual interview, at least to begin the hiring process. Is the independent rent- to-own dealer still scheduling in-person initial interviews? While it seems important for a candidate to put their best foot forward by being on time and appropriately dressed, today's trend is for virtual interviews. If your company has experience and education requirements that you've been using for years, maybe it's time to revisit those requirements to make sure you're casting your net wide enough to attract potential employees. CVS recently announced that it had dropped the education restrictions that were keeping some people from landing jobs in 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 extras like an education/tuition assistance program, referral bonus, robust time-off program, flexible schedules and an aggressive employee discount or purchase program may be a key to creating a winning culture for your company. Keven Dalke, Director of Rent Direct, Nationwide Marketing Group RECRUITING AND ENGAGEMENT CHALLENGES FOR RENT TO OWN What are the big box retailers doing to attract and retain new talent? Do similar strategies make sense for the independent rent-to-own dealer? RO Keven Dalke Rent-to-Own Trends

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