By David Bennett, Senior Editor
A human relations specialist plays a critical role in determining adequate levels of employee satisfaction, resolving staffing conflicts, maintaining workforce management costs and devising plans to measure individual performance.
Convenience Store Decisions is honoring Robert Nye as a leader in human resources (HR) as part of its 2017 Human Resources Awards.
In his 41 years at Holiday Cos., headquartered in Bloomington, Minn., Robert Nye has been critical to helping implement programs that have accomplished all of the aformentioned tasks. For the last 31 years, Nye has led the company’s human resources department, a vital generator that drives the chain’s success.
Company subsidiary Holiday Stationstores operates 522 convenience stores in 10 states including Michigan, Washington and Alaska.
For the first decade of his career, Nye worked in retail operations.
“I started in an entry-level management position in a retail division of Holiday, which is no longer part of our business,” Nye said. “I worked my way up through store management and became the head of operations for that division before moving into human resources.”
Often, it’s a joining of traditional values, guiding principles and modern workplace concepts that help a company’s culture achieve success. So it is at Holiday Stationstores.
Since Nye took the HR helm at Holiday, the retailer has worked to nourish its company culture. The result has been a business that’s more productive and operates more efficiently. Within its geographic footprint, that culture has given the company a leg up on the competition.
“A respectful environment with opportunities for growth and competitive wages all add to the likelihood of an employee choosing to stay,” said Nye. “Through the years, countless employees have landed at Holiday at various points in their working life and have chosen to make us their career destination. Employee turnover is simply part of the c-store industry, but our tenure rivals the best-of-breed companies and we have many employees with over a quarter-century with the company; in fact, we have had several who have exceeded the 50-year mark.”
To support its company culture, Holiday boasts rigorous-hiring processes. Once an individual is on board, training commences.
Early on, employee training at Holiday Stationstores was achieved largely through paper-based workbooks, accompanied by a series of proprietary training videos.
“In 1997, we launched our computer-based training ‘Holiday University,’ which covered most of the skills needed to perform work in the stores,” said Nye. “At that time, keeping training programs current was a challenge, especially given the frequent changes in (point of sale) systems.”
The company in 2014, implemented a Learning Management System (LMS), utilizing a blended learning approach similar to those earlier learning strategies.
“The LMS-generated reporting is used to identify opportunities and strategize solutions, especially as it relates to store turnover and employee satisfaction,” Nye said.
Store managers are also afforded educational opportunities. Holiday has a staff of certified-training managers who work with new managers upon promotion or hire.
“Manager training consists of multi-week in-store training with a mix of live coaching, video training, reading material, classroom and knowledge quizzes,” said Nye. “This is all hosted in the LMS and reportable from the corporate office. Following in-store training, a field trainer spends time with the new manager helping implement what has been learned.”
During his long tenure at Holiday, Nye can point to many accomplishments.
“The growth of our benefits plans to enhance our employees’ security, well being and preparedness for retirement, is among the most significant contributions we have made to our team members,” said Nye. “Also, I am very pleased we have managed to reach a truly paperless employment process, from application, assessment, onboarding, training and ultimately paperless payroll for 100% of our employees.”