How SAP says it helped neighbor Wawa boost retention

Wawa is raising the minimum hourly wage it pays store workers to $10.

Wawa, the regionally-popular food-and-fuel quick-stop chain which employs 25,000 at stores in the greater Philadelphia, Washington, Tampa and Orlando areas, used new data analytics to figure out how to get more of its newly-hired workers to stick around at least a year: By plunging them into the job with more hours in their first weeks. That reversed the chain's earlier go-slow approach, acording to business-software maker SAP.

SAP, whose US headquarters is in Newtown Square, close to Wawa's Media home, says Wawa wanted to reduce its 57% one-year quit rate for new hires. Wawa's tech people applied SAP's SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics database programs to run "predictive explorations across three key areas for Wawa -- employee flight risk, manager performance and career paths."

Wawa store managers had a practice of limiting initial work assignments to one day a week, and adding hours slowly, "because the jobs can be tough and they wanted to avoid overwhelming new hires." But the SuccessFactors data surprised Wawa by showing "a strong [negative] correlation between turnover rate and the hours an employee worked... The amount of hours worked was a greater indicator of flight than the age of employees or the community where they worked...

"Many of the store workers left soon after being hired when they worked only seven to 16 hours a week early in their employment.. The likelihood of them remaining on the job dramatically rose when they worked at least 23 hours a week." Read SAP's case study here. (link fixed)