The job market is strong in our state with an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent. While that is good news for workers, it puts pressure on employers looking to hire and keep a talented workforce.
Steve Franklin is part of the QuikTrip Red Shirt Brigade, setting industry standards for customer service and employee satisfaction.
“I like that it’s a competitive, fast paced environment. It’s fun and you're well rewarded,” said Franklin.
The average pay plus benefits for store managers like Steve is close to $80,000 annually. Starting pay for full-time workers is $39,000 dollars, more than an Oklahoma school teacher with a decade of experience.
“It is true. We've always believed if you want the best employee you have to pay,” said QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh.
But, pay is only part of the package that has consistently landed QuikTrip on Fortune Magazine’s list of the 100 best places to work in America. The convenience store chain was number 76 in the latest survey. Thornbrugh says putting employees first is key.
“The philosophy and culture has not varied. The only thing that's really changed is from one employee now to 20,000,” said Thornbrugh.
As the company has grown, it has offered employees the chance to grow as well. Many of the employees in the corporate office began as store clerks. Their move up the company chain was fostered through free education benefits, generous bonuses and company stock.
“If you have the skills and the drive, QuikTrip will give you the tools you need to make it into a career,” said Thornbrugh.
If you're looking for something a little more off beat, maybe it is time to go high tech.
Welcome to Consumer Affairs and “Baconator Friday”. It is a gather of employees who share carbs, bacon fat and the occasional beer, surrounded by pounding music and panoramic views of downtown Tulsa.
“This is why you should only do things that make you happy,” said CEO Zac Carman.
When Carman decided to move Consumer Affairs from southern California to his hometown of Tulsa, investors had one big question.
“Why would you put a technology internet business in Tulsa?” said Carman.
Carman said it is because Tulsa has a rich talent pool. And, he goes to great lengths to keep that talent happy. From their showcase offices in the renovated petroleum club to the kind of work flexibility most can only dream about.
“I think it’s pretty hard to be creative when you're sad about where you're going,” said Carman. “We treat people like adults. We give them the freedom to make their own choices.”
That means no set hours, unlimited paid time off and the freedom to do your job from almost anywhere in the world. If you have an internet connection... you can do your work.
But, this is no slacker's paradise. The motto is “work hard, play hard” and it is working for people like Sarah Dyer.
“I'm an early morning person so i go to work at 5 am at my house. I have very focused concentration,” said Dyer. “And that increases productivity.”
Carman sees all this as the future. Good employees, he says, are increasingly reluctant to be stuffed into a corporate mold. He won't be satisfied until he turns his company into a billion dollar enterprise. And he'll have the talent to do it. Consumer affairs is flooded with more than 400 applications a month.
“If you make work fun and you have a mission driven organization, people just flock to it,” said Carman.