With more than 15,000 store locations and growing, Dollar General continually looks to leverage new opportunities to retain and engage its more than 135,000 employees while recruiting new talent to help fuel the business. As such, the Dollar General human resources team is leveraging its best-in-class and award-winning training programs, targeting technology and implementing new employee benefits, all aimed at supporting Dollar General’s operating priority of investing in its employees as a competitive advantage.
Identifying Top Talent
Among a quickly-changing retail landscape, Dollar General HR found new, creative avenues to identify top candidates for external leadership positions. The team utilized technology, which combines targeted advertising, data science and the predictive modeling of an organization’s top performers to identify potential candidates to find and attract candidates.
“Candidates interested in joining Dollar General should see a company that offers a path forward to start or advance their careers,” said Lori Bremer, Dollar General’s vice president of talent management. “We believe the opportunity to build a long-term career at Dollar General is the most important currency we have to attract and retain talent, and our organization creates seemingly endless opportunities for employees to grow and develop their careers alongside our growing business.”
Additionally, the team sought to identify top talent for leadership positions across the country, particularly in field operations. By spring 2019, approximately 11,000 current store managers had been promoted from within. To complement that momentum, the training and development team worked to create a pathway for recently-hired sales associates to be promoted to a lead sales associate in six months, an assistant store manager in one year and the potential to be a store manager within three years. They also identified high-performing store managers as candidates to become district managers.
“After implementing new software into our recruitment strategy, we were able to better identify ideal candidates from across the country to lead our field teams, to grow within our company and support our overall business,” said Bremer. “This strategic investment in technology helps give us the tools to seek out candidates who are a great fit for our business, our objectives and our mission.”
Engaging and Retaining Employees
In addition to attracting talent, Dollar General also looked for new methods to engage current employees. In summer 2017, Dollar General launched DG Voice, a new continuous feedback survey where employees now stay engaged year-round by providing feedback on a quarterly basis through the new software. Participants can see their feedback in action, often by the following quarter of the latest DG Voice survey.
“As our business continues to grow and we continue to make strategic investments in our employees, we identified a gap of eliciting employee feedback and having a better understanding on what employees expect from the Company as their employer,” said Kimberly Huffman, Dollar General director of human resources. “With the new quarterly surveys, we are able to make more real-time adjustments based on what our employees need. As a result, we have seen overall engagement scores and retention rise across the organization.”
Dollar General further demonstrated its commitment to employee development through expanded and enhanced training programs, including an improved store manager training program, a new recruitment management system and situational simulation training course for field management teams.
“The expanded store manager training program resulted in a significant improvement in store manager retention within the first year of its implementation,” said Bremer. “Similarly, our innovative simulation game created challenges for our district manager population, which required them to focus on strategy in dealing with issues that frequently occur in a consistently changing retail atmosphere. Helping our field leaders navigate difficult situations allows them to be better prepared for real-life scenarios in a safe and cost-effective environment.”
A culmination of all of Dollar General’s training and development efforts came in early 2019 with a worldwide recognition in Training magazine, a professional development publication written for training human resources and business management professionals across all industries. Each year, the magazine publishes a list of Top 125 companies that ranks the top learning and development programs in the world. In 2019, Training magazine recognized Dollar General as the top corporate curriculum for training and development. Dollar General has been consistently ranked in Training magazine’s Top 125 list for the past eight consecutive years.
Expanding Employee Benefits
Still looking to further invest in and engage employees, Dollar General turned its focus to providing expanded benefits for its workforce.
First, expanded parental leave and adoption assistance benefits were announced in March 2018, which are available to all eligible full-time and part-time employees throughout the Company. The new benefit provide birth mothers with a total of eight weeks of paid leave, all other parents with two weeks of paid parental leave and up to $4,000 in adoption financial assistance.
By spring 2019, Dollar General continued its benefit expansion for all full-time and part-time employees through new eligibility of telemedicine. Through this new offering, eligible employees now have an avenue created through technology to chat with a licensed medical doctor for minor health issues instead of visiting an urgent care or primary care facility. Full-time and part-time employees can pay a low monthly cost for this benefit, resulting in quicker attention to health issues and potentially lower healthcare costs.
In looking toward the future, Dollar General’s Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, Kathy Reardon, believes new employee investments, including the use of technology and constantly evolving training programs will continue to play a role in the way the Company invests in its employees.
“From our humble roots as a local, small town business in Scottsville, Kentucky, to a Fortune 120 corporation, we have adapted and changed to provide our employees with better opportunities to grow and develop their careers within a growing organization,” Reardon said. “Through the utilization of best-in-class training programs and new technological software, we can continue to best serve our employee population in a way that drives efficiency and improves employee satisfaction, year after year.”
Come Grow With Us
For more information on joining one of America’s fastest-growing retailers, please visit www.dollargeneral.com/careers.