Customers

How to Make a Convenience Store Profitable

How to Make a Convenience Store Profitable 1016 528 Sprockets

Convenience store revenue totaled $663.5 billion and grew almost 25% in the last year, according to the 2022 Convenience Store News Industry Report. It seems like the industry is finally picking back up again and returning to pre-pandemic levels. Continue reading this blog to learn how to make your convenience store profitable and successful. We’ll even explain how one hiring software can help you stabilize staffing levels so you can allocate resources elsewhere. 

How to Make Your Convenience Store More Profitable

The average convenience store gross profit margin sits around $450,000. Keep in mind that this is just one location. Eventually, you’ll want to expand to multiple locations to maximize profits. Here are four ideas to help your c-store thrive in 2022. 

1. Increase Your Food Selection

One in four consumers stop at a c-store for lunch and 30% will purchase fast food items over refrigerated products. In fact, foodservice makes up 23% of c-store sales. No wonder convenience stores are now competing with quick-service restaurants. If you aren’t already doing so, think about adding more fresh food meal options. You could even have an associate greet customers at the front doors with samples!  

2. Up Your Prices on Popular In-Store Items 

This might feel strange — especially since gas prices are skyrocketing — but c-stores only make two cents to every gallon of gas sold! Consider increasing the price on in-store items, (especially food options). Don’t feel like you have to match price points with your local grocery store. Remember, customers are paying for the convenience of your goods, not just the products themselves. 

3. Understand Product Placement

You’ve probably heard the common saying “eye level is buy level”, but are you applying it to your c-store? Products that are placed at eye level are more likely to be selected and purchased by your customers. Why? Eye-level products have more visibility than those at your feet or knees. One study found that it only takes 8 seconds for a person to make a buying decision and if you think about it, it makes sense. A majority of c-store customers are traveling or on the go. They likely don’t have time to think too long about what snack or beverage they want. Consider placing your best-selling items at eye level to better catch your customers’ attention.

4. Drive Sales With the Best C-Store Employees

If you want to profit off of your convenience store, then you need to reduce costs where you can. One bad hire can cost $5,000, according to Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research. Avoid these expenses and end the cycle of costly employee turnover by hiring the right c-store associate every time with Sprockets’ solution. It reveals which applicants will succeed and stay long-term based on shared personality traits with a location’s current top performers. Ultimately, the platform empowers owners and operators to build reliable teams, reduce labor costs, and improve profit margins. It’s more accurate than other hiring solutions and even proven to increase employee retention by 43%, on average.

 

“If you’re on the fence, just the price should push you over because if it saves you one bad hire per year, you’re up money. That’s a no-brainer.”

– Curtis Wilhelmi, McDonald’s Franchise Operator

Convenience store

The Ultimate Guide to Convenience Store News: Publications and Trends

The Ultimate Guide to Convenience Store News: Publications and Trends 1016 528 Sprockets

You’re on a road trip and notice your gas tank is almost empty. There are two gas stations within the next ten minutes. Would you go to the closer one or drive a few more miles to stop at your favorite c-store? According to the 2022 NACS Consumer Fuels Survey, 74% of drivers would drive the extra miles to their preferred brand, regardless of price. 

If you want your business to be the winner, then it’s important to follow convenience store news and take note of what other c-store brands are doing. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know and will even explain how one hiring solution can increase your associate retention by 43%, on average.

Where to Get Your C-Store News 

While there are many c-store news outlets, we recommend these two reliable publications: 

Convenience Store News

For more than 40 years and counting, the number one industry publication continues to provide its audience with a plethora of resources like magazines, newsletters, meetings, conferences, and more. Their mission is to “deliver the insight, analysis, market research and business intelligence that helps c-store retailers stay ahead of what’s next — critical information to grow sales and profits.” Every year, they announce their Convenience Store News Best New Products Awards to recognize high-quality food items that exceed customer expectations.

NACS Magazine

The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) offers “industry knowledge, connections, and issues leadership to ensure the competitive viability of its members’ businesses.” Their next trade show will take place on October 1 through 4 in Las Vegas — our Sprockstars will see you there! 

Convenience Store Industry Trends

Which of these 2022 convenience store trends is your business following?

1. Increase in Restaurant Quality Food

The c-store industry continues to see a decline in fuel profits as they currently sit 7.2% below pre-pandemic levels. With fewer people on the road and rising gas prices, getting customers to walk in your door can be quite a challenge. Now, c-stores are adding more food options to compete with quick-service restaurants. Seven out of ten customers who stop to pump gas also make their way inside and one in four consumers visit c-stores for lunch. Additionally, 30% will purchase fast food compared to other c-store food items like made-to-order meals and refrigerated items. 

Top brands like Wawa and 7-Eleven are attempting to be a one-stop shop for consumers. No wonder they both recently launched drive-thrus! Wawa even added a dinner menu to their list of food options. “It is critical to provide new ways to access Wawa, increase convenience and provide new options for service,” Wawa Director of Construction Terri Micklin said.

2. Digital Loyalty Programs

If you want to retain customers, then you need to incentivize them to continue to shop at your location. Some c-stores have found success with digital loyalty programs, and others are quickly catching on. Huck’s Convenience Stores, for example, implemented Huck’s Bucks Bigg Rewards and received 20,000 signups when the program first launched in 2020. Loyalty customers receive 10 cents off every gallon of gas and points with almost every purchase to earn discounts, free food, and other program prizes. The chain found that loyalty customers typically spend $5 more than non-loyalty ones. 

Tip: Partner with third-party delivery services like DoorDash or UberEats, so your customers don’t even have to leave their houses! 

3. Frictionless Technology

Current trends in convenience store technology include artificial intelligence and frictionless checkout. Texas and New Mexico c-store chain Delek US, for example, has cut checkout lines by 67% using a combination of these two solutions. Customers are able to scan and pay for their items in just 15 seconds! 

Emerging technology like Sprockets uses artificial intelligence to supercharge the hiring process. The platform identifies shared personality traits between a location’s current best employees and its applicants. Then, the solution reveals which potential hires will succeed and stay long-term before the interview and without a resume. On average, Sprockets boosts employee retention by 43%, ultimately saving c-store owners and operators thousands of dollars.

Hotel staff tends to hotel garden

How Hoteliers and Guests Can Reap the Benefits of Hotel Sustainability

How Hoteliers and Guests Can Reap the Benefits of Hotel Sustainability 1016 528 Sprockets

Suppose a guest asked you how your hotel is positively contributing to the environment and  what green practices your brand currently follows. What would you say? It’s important to not only be prepared to answer these types of questions, but to have sustainable practices in place as 73% of U.S. travelers believe sustainable travel is now “vital.” Take a look at these sustainable ideas so you can reduce your hotel’s carbon footprint and attract more travelers. 

Of course, hotel sustainability starts with employees who truly care about bettering the environment. Find more passionate, driven individuals that will succeed and stay long-term with this hiring solution that’s proven to increase staff retention by 43%, on average. 

 

 

What Is Hotel Sustainability? 

“Going green” is much more than a marketing strategy or trendy buzzword. Sustainable hotels are eco-friendly lodging businesses that truly make an effort to reduce their energy, water usage, and waste to benefit the environment.

Why Is Hotel Sustainability Important? 

Since the pandemic, sustainable hotels are more important than ever to travelers. When stopping to rest at a hotel, resort, or motel, 48% of travelers are frustrated when they discover the business fails to follow green practices such as recycling or composting. Additionally, 67% of guests would actually spend more money if it would “reduce the environmental impact of their stay.” Your guests have spoken — it’s time to implement eco-friendly concepts at your hotel.

Sustainable Hotel Ideas and Solutions

1. Encourage Staff and Guests to Recycle

This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many hotels aren’t already recycling. 14 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year. Reduce the amount of waste that gets thrown into landfills (that inevitably ends up in the ocean) by recycling as much as possible. Encourage guests to do so by placing small recycling bins in common areas, outside the building, and small ones inside every guest room.

2. Try Composting 

Does your hotel or resort offer a complimentary breakfast or meal? If so, composting will be a piece of cake. Hang a “Compost” sign near the trash and recycling bins. Guests can add banana peels, fruit cores, egg shells, and any other compost-friendly materials. Composting improves plant growth, reduces water runoff, locks in minerals and nutrients, and helps control soil erosion. You can even mix your compost into the soil of your hotel garden or around the landscape perimeter. 

3. Buy Food Locally and Start a Hotel Garden

When people travel, they want an authentic experience. What better way to show the taste of your location than by sourcing all your food and beverages from local farms and grocery stores? For example, say your hotel is located in Door County, Wisconsin. You could showcase the town’s famous cherries, cheese, and wine. Or, if you really want to get your hands dirty, consider planting a garden at your hotel, providing your guests with fresh fruits and vegetables. This sustainable practice reduces greenhouse gas and fossil fuel emissions because food trucks aren’t traveling thousands of miles to your hotel. You’ll save money on shipping costs and the food will be fresher (and healthier) for your guests.

4. Implement Biodegradable Straws

Even small changes like this can have a big impact. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Marriott International eliminated plastic straws from their locations worldwide, removing about 1 billion plastic straws from the oceans and landfills. IHG CEO, Keith Barr, stated, “There is always more we can do to minimize waste, but the work we’re doing to reduce single-use plastic is a powerful example of how we can come together with guests, owners and colleagues to drive positive change.” 

5. Place Occupancy-Based Sensors in Every Hotel Room

These sensors are an energy conservation technology that can easily be placed in hotel rooms. They’re able to detect when a room is unoccupied and shut off the power. It’s a plus for eco-friendly guests because they can relax without having to worry about wasting energy (or turning lights on and off). Occupancy-based sensors also benefit hoteliers because they dramatically reduce hotel energy cost per room. 

6. Switch to LED Lighting 

Energy-efficient LED lights are a growing technology in the hotel industry. Why? They save up to 20 to 25% of energy compared to traditional, iridescent lighting. LED lights even last longer, saving you time and money you would normally spend on high electric costs.

7. Add More Houseplants to Your Common Areas

Not only are live plants aesthetically pleasing and relaxing, but the right ones can purify your air through photosynthesis. The process converts the carbon dioxide we breathe out into oxygen. Plus, houseplants clean your air, removing harmful toxins. Especially during a pandemic, adding live plants to your lobby, guest rooms, and other areas of your hotel will positively impact the environment and enhance your guests’ experience.

8. Go Paperless With an Automated Hiring Process

Say goodbye to piles of paperwork when you transform your hiring process with Sprockets! Our Applicant Matching System empowers hoteliers to predict applicant success before the interview and without a resume. How is this possible? The process is simple — your current top performers answer three brief questions and receive a Fit Score out of ten. Their scores will then be used as a benchmark to predict the success of incoming applicants who take the same survey. It’s proven to work and trusted by top brands like Taco Bell to increase employee retention by 43%, on average. In fact, we’re so confident in the accuracy of our solution that we hire and retain our own team members with Sprockets.

Hotel front desk staff happily helps two guests.

Enhance the Guest Experience at Your Hotel With These Terrific Tips

Enhance the Guest Experience at Your Hotel With These Terrific Tips 1016 528 Sprockets

Think back to your best hotel guest experience. What did you enjoy about your stay? What, specifically, made your time at the hotel memorable? Maybe you forgot some basic toiletries, and the staff provided you with complimentary products. Or maybe the front desk employee struck up a conversation that really resonated with you. These small, but meaningful details are the difference between a good and great stay. Avoid the dreaded hotel horror story and learn how to enhance the guest experience at your hotel with these three tips. You’ll even discover how our hiring platform can increase staff retention by an average of 43%.

 

Importance of the Guest Experience in Hotels

Guest satisfaction in the hotel industry is crucial. Good hoteliers should constantly think about how to improve the hotel guest experience as it is pivotal to maintaining your brand. Excellent experiences leave guests happy, drive customer loyalty, and increase revenue. In fact, one study found that positive online reviews significantly increase the number of bookings at a hotel. When guests are happy with their stay, the next time they need to book a vacation or travel for work, they’re more likely to return to one of your locations. If they feel they had an exceptional experience, they may even recommend your hotel to a friend, coworker, or family member. 

The same study found that word of mouth from a “good friend” can outweigh the opinion from the online majority. But beware, the same is true for negative experiences — which can severely damage your brand’s reputation — as a friend’s opinion can outweigh a majority of positive online reviews. 

How to Improve the Hotel Guest Experience

Be sure to take the time to really wow your guests. This could be their first lodging experience since the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow these three tips to ensure a smooth, satisfied hotel guest journey. 

1. Hire Hotel Staff for Fit 

Of course, enhancing the guest experience at your hotel starts with your employees. They are the foundation of your business, and without a strong foundation, your hotel could easily crumble under pressure from industry challenges. 

Hiring for fit focuses on job seekers’ mental makeup, rather than their industry experience. You may want to hire people who are empathetic, outgoing, and adaptable for your hotel. Consider asking applicants specific questions during the interview process to evaluate whether or not they will mesh well with the rest of your staff. 

Tip: Use Sprockets’ hiring solution to reveal which potential hires are the right fit for your hotel based on shared personality traits between applicants and your current top performers, empowering you to retain a strong, cohesive staff that will stay long-term.

 

2. Personalize Each Guest’s Experience

Once you have the best staff for your hotel, train them to personalize each guest’s experience. This is especially important for your front-desk staff as they are likely the first hotel employee your guests will see. Encourage your team to strike up a conversation (another reason why hiring for fit is important!). This could be as simple as asking where they are from, what their plans for their stay are, or offering restaurant recommendations. When they check out, you might even follow up on the chosen topic. Regardless, you want your interaction to be memorable so your guests can see your staff truly cares about the quality of their hotel experience. 

3. Encourage Guest Feedback

What better way to understand how you can enhance your guests’ experiences than by asking your guests themselves? Feel free to get creative with this. For example, you might promote a campaign on your website that if your guests leave a review, they get a certain amount off on their next stay. Or maybe you simply ask them if they enjoyed their stay upon check-out. Whatever the case, be open-minded and willing to listen. Remember, not all feedback is going to be a glowing five-star review, so active listening is key. 

 

Enhance the Guest Experience by Hiring the Best Staff From the Start

Sprockets’ hiring solution empowers you to predict applicant success — before the interview and without a resume – so you can easily build long-lasting staff for your hospitality location. Check out The Essential Guide to Attracting Hourly Workers: Hotel Edition to learn how to optimize job postings to fit your ideal hire and retain high-quality staff before your competitors.

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign

March 2022 Trade Show Breakdown: Will We See You There?

March 2022 Trade Show Breakdown: Will We See You There? 1016 528 Sprockets

Our Sprockstars are attending several more trade shows in 2022, and the first one is just around the corner. But before we dive into details, we want to take the time to explain how these trade shows will benefit you, our customers, and the platform itself.

If you aren’t already familiar with our hiring solution, Sprockets is an AI-powered platform that uses natural language processing to match incoming applicants to your current top-performing employees. Trusted by some of the biggest brands in the world like Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A, Sprockets is proven to boost employee retention by 43%, on average. 

 

 

What Does This Mean for You?

Each trade show helps us understand how we can better serve our customers. We’re thankful for the opportunities to build relationships with business owners, operators, and other hiring professionals. Our team is constantly refining our platform as we continue to expand our knowledge of the current hiring challenges within each industry we service. 

March 2022 Trade Shows (In Order of Attendance):

1. International Restaurant and Foodservice Show (March 6 – 8)

What better place to start our trade show season than New York City? That’s exactly where you’ll find us from March 6 through 8, sampling the hottest menu trends. International Restaurant and Foodservice Show (IRFS) attendees can expect plenty of creativity and passion for food with live culinary performances, smart kitchen designs, the Rapid Fire Challenge or Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender, and over 570 leading vendors. Bon appétit! 

2. Association of Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisees (March 7 – 10)

For the first time since the pandemic, the Association of Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisees (AKFCF) trade show will return better than ever with an energizing theme of the “Power of Opportunity”. According to AKFCF president, Brandon Robertson, attendees will “celebrate the brand’s success, participate in game-changer discussions, network with industry leaders, and experience hands-on workshops designed to take us into the digital future.” Don’t chicken out; say hi to our Sprockstars from March 7 through 10 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

3. Bar & Restaurant Expo (March 21 – 23)

Next, we’ll attend the Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, from March 21 through 23. Featuring educational workshops like 2023 Menu Trends to Know Before Everyone Else Does and Mental Health in Hospitality, the show’s focus will be how bar and restaurant owners can “recover and reforge” post-pandemic. Plus, attendees can listen to dozens of experts speak on six different topics:: Food & Beverage, People & Staffing, Operations, Guest Experience, Marketing, and Technology.

4. International Pizza Expo & Conference (March 22 – 24)

We can’t wait to share a slice of Sprockets and some delicious pizza at the world’s largest pizza event of the year. Our Sprockstars attended the 36th Pizza Expo in 2021 and we dough not want to miss the 37th. The event features more than 90 workshops, seminars, networking events, and pizza-making demonstrations with a show floor as long as eight football fields! We’ll catch you from March 22 through 24 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

 

5. Multi-Unit Franchising Conference (March 29 – April 1)

Our team attended the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference (MUFC) last year, and there are several reasons why we’re returning. Nearly 2,000 franchisors, leaders, suppliers, and investors are expected, making this the largest multi-unit trade show. The event will feature an exhibit hall of almost 300 smart solutions, educational workshops, and guest speakers like three-time Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith and bestselling author, CEO, and founder, Jim Sullivan. Join us at Caesar’s Forum from March 29 to April 1 in Las Vegas to learn how to hire the best employees and drive revenue growth at all of your franchise locations. 

Replicate Your Top Performers

Our Applicant Matching System reveals which potential hires will thrive in your business just like your best employees. Essentially, it’s like replicating your top performers so you can focus on daily operations. In fact, Sprockets users spend 37% less time on the hiring process. Say goodbye to wasted interview time and hello to 43% higher employee retention. 

 

A phone with a QR code next to food and text reading "How Has Technology Changed Restaurants?"

How Has Technology Changed Restaurants?

How Has Technology Changed Restaurants? 1016 528 Sprockets

It’s easy to see how innovations like smartphones and social media platforms have changed the way we socialize, but what about the dining experience? How has technology changed restaurants? It’s crucial for owners and operators to explore this topic so they can learn lessons from the past, stay ahead of the latest trends, and implement the best solutions for their business. Find out everything you need to know about innovations in the restaurant industry and schedule a free demo of our hiring platform to discover how technology can boost your employee retention by 43%!

Restaurant Technology and Trends

1. Mobile Ordering

Looking back now, the world seemed entirely different just five or ten years ago. The idea of ordering food on a phone before going to the restaurant might have seemed absurd. Fast-food restaurants and technological advances have changed that.

The first major tests with mobile ordering began in 2014 when Taco Bell and Outback Steakhouse announced that customers would be able to order using an app so their food would be ready when they arrived at the restaurant. The popularity of mobile apps for restaurants caught on, and many companies have created their own apps since then.

The trend grew steadily over the next few years but skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for eating inside restaurants. Thanks to new technology in the foodservice industry, we could be looking at the future of restaurants and food delivery. Ten years from now, people might wonder why people ever waited to get to the restaurant before ordering at all.

2. Self-Service Kiosks

In addition to mobile ordering, many restaurants have implemented self-service kiosks. These can be free-standing displays at the front of QSR establishments or touch-screen devices at tables. These kiosks make it more convenient for customers to order food and pay their bills. It can also help speed up operations by saving time in the ordering process.

While this new technology in restaurants has been met with some concerns that it replaces human labor and eliminates jobs, this isn’t the case. It simply enhances the experience for employees and enables them to spend more time providing spectacular customer service. The technology will also prevent the staff from being overworked and lead to a better work-life balance.

3. QR Codes

While paying through a tablet or a phone app is a popular solution, some restaurants have chosen another route and created a payment method based on QR codes. Every restaurant does this their own way, with some of them putting the codes at every table and others having a few codes posted in specific locations at the restaurant.

These QR codes can be scanned from a phone and will open an interactive menu. After ordering, you can then easily pay for your food. They are a great way to save time and, much like a self-service kiosk, should help keep your workers from getting overwhelmed.

4. Scheduling Technology

Poor planning can turn a successful business into a disaster overnight. The good news is that we now have more technology to help with time management. Scheduling software is a great way to manage employees and decide what shifts they should work without spending hours staring at a computer document or calendar.

Much of this software can even be found in the form of phone apps, which makes it that much more convenient. Phone app or not, these types of software solutions often come with some very useful features, like a group messaging function that you can use to communicate with employees and an availability tracker to remind you which employees can and can’t work certain shifts.

5. Voice-Assisted Ordering

Ever since the creation of voice-assisted technologies, such as Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, people have been looking for new ways to incorporate voice technology into their lives. One interesting innovation in the restaurant industry has been voice-assisted food ordering.

This technology is convenient for customers and allows restaurant workers to track customer orders and note any dietary needs they might have. This allows the staff members to get their customers the foods they like as quickly and safely as possible. Some voice-assisted ordering solutions even suggest additional items that the customers might want to pair with their meal, creating a better customer experience and generating additional revenue for the restaurant.

6. Sprockets’ Predictive Hiring Platform

Someone on a laptop hiring hourly employees with SprocketsProductive employees are the gears that make your restaurant run as efficiently as possible, and Sprockets makes it easy to build these top-notch teams. Our AI-powered platform uses a brief, three-question survey to identify which applicants will succeed like your top performers. Then, you can simply look at the red-yellow-green scoring system to see who you should hire. It empowers you to make the best hiring decisions every time and improves employee retention by an average of 43%. Get your free demo today!

A picture of AJ Richichi and text reading, "Scribble Features Sprockets’ CEO as a Leader of Innovation"

Scribble Features Sprockets’ CEO as a Leader of Innovation

Scribble Features Sprockets’ CEO as a Leader of Innovation 1016 528 Sprockets

How does a dorm-room project evolve into a rapidly growing tech startup that’s changing the way people think about hiring? The team behind Scribble, a project launched by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, sat down with AJ Richichi to find out. Check out the interview below to discover the story behind Sprockets and its innovative solution. You’ll meet our CEO and hear his thoughts on the current state of hiring, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship, and more.

AJ Richichi: Creating a More Effective, Equitable Hiring Process Through Artificial Intelligence

How Hiring Is Flawed

Change isn’t easy, especially when it comes to changing a process that businesses have trusted for years, but it’s necessary if we want to fix a broken system. The traditional hiring process is biased, time-consuming, and ineffective. Plus, companies are struggling to maintain staffing levels and lose thousands of dollars each year due to high employee turnover. AJ Richichi helps people solve all of these issues using the Sprockets platform.

As Richichi mentions in the interview, “White-sounding names get 50% more callbacks than non-white-sounding names. The average general manager will ask between seven and nine illegal interview questions every single phone call. We want to give everyone a fair shake, regardless of where they’re from, where they went to college, and what they look like, to get employment.”

Richichi’s Innovative Solution

Sprockets users don’t need to worry about staffing issues, wasted interview time, or potential bias. Our AI-powered platform reveals which applicants will succeed like a location’s top performers using a three-question survey and a simple scoring system. It empowers business owners and operators to hire the best workers every time without even looking at a resume. Plus, it’s proven to boost employee retention and reduce the amount of time spent on the hiring process so people can focus on daily operations.

Eliminate Bias, Save Time, and Reduce Employee Turnover

The Sprockets platformA lot has changed since Richichi’s days in the dorm room, but one thing remains the same: his passion for matching people to possibilities. Sprockets is now a trusted hiring solution for top brands like Domino’s and Taco Bell. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with other popular HR tools, such as McHire and TalentReef.

“We have been empowered to more quickly focus on the candidates that closely match our hiring profile, generating a higher success rate of new hires in our system and eliminating wasted interview time. We feel great about our progress, and the impact was nearly immediate.”

– Bob Fenzel, VP of Wingstop

Schedule a free demo today to predict applicant success with Sprockets, ultimately reducing costly employee turnover!

A woman showing a laptop screen of the Sprockets hiring platform

SENTIO Becomes “Sprockets” as We Set Our Sights Even Higher for 2021

SENTIO Becomes “Sprockets” as We Set Our Sights Even Higher for 2021 1016 528 Sprockets

Big things are happening here at Sprockets! We recently received a $3.4mm venture raise after all of our success in 2020. This investment puts us in an even better position to serve customers in the new year with feature expansions and integrations with other major hiring tools that you utilize. During this time, we’re transforming ourselves to convey our mission more effectively: to harmoniously unite the right people with the right possibilities.

Whether you’re an applicant or employer, you can rest assured that Sprockets has what you need. We’re defining the future of the hourly workforce with our Applicant Matching System.

New Name, Same Mission

While our name has changed, our commitment to you has not. People need to get back to work, especially after such a turbulent year, and you need to find the best of the best for your business to achieve success in 2021. Our data-driven platform is still the go-to solution for matching the right people to the right possibilities with pinpoint accuracy. When you succeed, we succeed!

Change isn’t always easy, but this one is. We want to assure our current customers that this doesn’t affect how you interact with our hiring platform. You don’t need to do anything differently besides enjoy the new and improved look of our company. Use our platform, as usual, to continue finding the right candidates for your team. Of course, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have. We’re always here to help, especially during transition. 

The Story Behind “Sprockets”

Have you ever really watched a relay race? It’s a thing of beauty to see a group of athletes working together, seamlessly handing off to one another with perfect choreography, moving forward in tandem toward the same goal. Like a relay athlete or a sprocket in a machine, the right employee joins colleagues to drive an organization forward in efficiency and harmony.

Simply put, “Sprockets” represents our mission more clearly. “Sentio” means “to understand,” but we go far beyond understanding workplaces and candidates. We determine if candidates will fit — and work harmoniously — with other coworkers, thrive in their unique environments, and stay long-term.

Exciting News and Plans for the Future

We’ve always been a forward-thinking company, and that remains the same as well. The updates to our name and appearance offer a taste of what’s to come as we shape the future of hiring. You can look forward to many more improvements and enhancements to your experience with our platform, especially since Sprockets recently acquired a $3.4 million raise from venture-capitalist investors. We’d like to thank the following companies for their contributions and confidence:

It’s rare for any South-Carolina startup to receive investments from outside the Southeast, which is why it’s truly remarkable how a company such as ours was able to attract world-class funding during a global pandemic. This invigorating news has us excited for the future as we look to make 2021 the best year yet for Sprockets and all of our loyal customers!

Sprockets: It’s Not Magic — It’s Logic

If you don’t currently use our platform and are interested in enjoying the success that so many satisfied customers have achieved, we’d love to help. Take a moment to book a meeting with one of our team members to learn more about how Sprockets’ sophisticated solution to hiring can reduce employee turnover, saving you time and money. It might be the best decision you make for your business!

A businessman

Home-Health Staffing Roundup: Insights From Sprockets’ Home-Health Providers

Home-Health Staffing Roundup: Insights From Sprockets’ Home-Health Providers 2048 1365 Sprockets

As COVID-19 pushes through the United States, home health and assisted living providers are facing new operational challenges. For our clients, caregiver staffing is at the forefront of these demands as more patient care shifts to one-on-one assistance.

While Sprockets continues to help home health providers replicate their top-performing caregivers and navigate their immediate hiring needs, we want to share the insights and industry outlooks uncovered along the way. This article is a collection of those insights and outlooks as they relate to caregiver staffing.

 

Caregivers consider unemployment

Over the past few weeks, the federal government went to great lengths to provide relief for both individuals and business owners negatively affected by COVID-19. An unfortunate side effect of this relief effort is individuals considering unemployment as a more lucrative option than remaining employed. 

This is due to the extra $600 in relief given to individuals who file unemployment as a result of losing their job due to COVID-19. In the hourly workforce, this could mean making more while being unemployed than to remain in a current position. 

Not many of our clients have mentioned this issue, but those that have are reacting in a couple of ways:

  • Hazard Pay – Increasing caregiver hourly rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Staffing Up – With increased unemployment nationwide, providers are seeing an influx in candidates. By ramping up interviewing, they are prepared to replace caregivers that are unable to work for any reason.

 

Digital caregiving

Providing care is a hands-on task, but in a world where minimal contact is required, providers are having to quickly adopt a digital-first mentality. Sprockets’ clients are reporting their digital transformations in a few key areas:

  • Recruitment & Onboarding – Hiring managers are shifting to online screening and interviews with caregivers. This means using tools like Sprockets to quickly match applicants against current top-performing caregivers, conducting video conference interviews with Google Hangouts or Zoom Meetings, and handling onboarding through training videos and web-enabled documents. 
  • Caregiving – Operations managers have implemented digital check-ins via surveys or video conferences to ensure a caregiver working remotely is fit to visit with a patient. In other words, they are asking a series of questions to determine if the caregiver may be at an increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and potentially not able to provide care.
  • Compensation – COVID-19 has placed additional strain on individuals’ ability to meet their financial obligations. As a way to meet the immediate needs of their caregivers, some providers are embracing software that allows employees to be paid in an on-demand fashion. Tools like DailyPay and FlexWage allow employers to provide a flexible digital alternative to their typical pay frequency.

 

Recruiting from other industries

As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has created an unfortunate opportunity to meet the staffing demands that previously and currently face home health. With other industries dependent on hourly employees like restaurants and hospitality forced to layoff employees, home health providers are finding a new applicant pool for sourcing. 

While recruiting in other industries is a great way to counteract the previously tight labor market for caregivers, we are advising Sprockets users that screening is more important than ever. Understanding an applicant’s mental makeup before they shift into a caregiver position helps providers know they have the “right skill set” for the job.

 

As we continue to get insights from other home health providers using Sprockets, we will post another staffing roundup in the weeks to come. If you have any current strategies you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

Home Health Care Staffing during COVID-19: Lessons from our clients

Home Health Care Staffing during COVID-19: Lessons from our clients Sprockets

Home Health providers are no strangers to working in the face of acute outbreaks. Providers previously showed their ability to protect patients during the SARS outbreak in 2003 and again during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. According to industry experts, home health providers should be prepared for an influx of patients due to COVID-19.

Now is one of those times where the industry, its leaders, and their staff are truly being tested. With that in mind, our team spoke with some of our home care clients about how they are handling staffing during this trying time. Our hope is these insights help owners and managers strategize for how to handle an influx of patients as well as people applying to be caregivers.

**These insights have come from conversations with owners of Home Instead, Visiting Angels, Right At Home and other home health brands nationwide.**

 

“We lost a few of our caregivers one day, and the next we saw 100s of new caregiver applicants. We are needing to be agile when it comes to hiring.”

BrightStar Care Operator in California

 

Be prepared to over-staff
Just about every owner I spoke with is increasing their hiring in preparation for some subset of their staff getting sick, needing to be out of work, or deciding they are not comfortable seeing patients. Also, with kids staying home from school, many of their caregivers are looking to reduce or rearrange shifts in order to accommodate the new normal.

Our clients are taking a page from other industries that ramp staffing during the holidays and bringing on applicants under the agreement that they are temporary for the foreseeable future. One tactic they are using is messaging all previous applicants and asking them to reapply. Previously, our team has found that 32% of previous applicants will reapply through the Sprockets platform when prompted.

 

Handling an influx of applicants
As other industries dependent on the hourly workforce scale down their staff, Home Health care locations are seeing an influx of applicants. Not all of our clients need this many staff members, but don’t want to miss out on what they are calling “an unfortunate opportunity”. When asked to explain, they helped me understand that they don’t want to miss out on quality applicants. Sourcing is not always easy in Home Health, so they want to make sure they don’t pass on an applicant that could be a great hire in the future.

What we found is these locations are still sending applicants through the Sprockets system to be scored and archived for future hiring needs. The prevailing thought is that when they need to potentially over-staff, or a staff member gets sick, they will have a group of pre-qualified applicants to call.

 

Who’s suited to provide patient care?Someone providing home healthcare to an elderly woman on the stairs

Asking a caregiver to go into someone’s home in the face of a pandemic can be just as unnerving for that person and it is for the patient that is allowing them into their home. What our clients have found is that a certain subset of their staff is not comfortable providing care during this time period.

With that said, other caregivers don’t waiver. This all comes down to the personality of the individual. What we have started to advise our clients to do, is understand the personality profile of the caregivers that are still willing to work and compare the influx of new applicants to those individuals. Home health owners are using Sprockets to help them isolate which applicants have the right mental makeup for this type of work in the climate of COVID-19.

 

Making the difficult choice
While most of the owners I spoke with are positive about how to handle staffing, some are worried about how to keep their best staff members should they need to suspend operations. Responses ranged from making choices based on past performance to simply instituting a last-one-in, first-one-out policy.

Of course, the advice our customer service team provided was to add objective data to the mix. By knowing who your top performers are, regardless of tenure, you have a better understanding of who is working well for your location.

 

Patient care and hiring will continue…
Our clients feel prepared to handle the trying times that COVID-19 has brought. They know they will continue to need quality caregivers and that hiring will remain as constant in their business as demand for in-home care. Again, our hope is the lessons our clients have taught us will be helpful to you and your business.