Tanner Krause Talks Adjusting Regulations for Today’s Workforce


Tanner Krause Talks Adjusting Regulations for Today’s Workforce

Kum & Go sees success with eliminating random drug testing and relaxing dress code rules for employees.

By Erin Del Conte, CStore Decisions | April 28, 2020

In today’s labor market, many convenience store chains are re-evaluating and loosening old rules — from random drug testing to tattoo bans or hair color requirements — to ensure they’re not discounting quality employees who might otherwise be an ideal fit.

CStore Decisions caught up with Tanner Krause, president of Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go, which operates 400 c-stores in 11 states, to learn more about how the chain has adapted policies to accommodate a new generation of employees. 

CStore Decisions (CSD): You tweeted last year that one of your first moves as a senior leader was to end drug testing. When did you end drug testing for employees, and why do you think this decision was important? 

Tanner Krause (TK): Kum & Go stopped its random and proactive drug-testing program in 2017, shortly after I took over as the leader of our Grow People (HR) Department. We still reserve the right to drug test our associates with proper cause, but what we want is to build a culture around trust and empowerment. Performing your job, internalizing our core values of passion, integrity, teamwork, caring and excellence is what’s important to us — and that’s how we select, train and develop our talent. 

CSD: How does ending drug testing help create a more trusting work culture? 

TK: We hire associates to bring Kum & Go’s purpose to life. By trusting and empowering them to make the right decisions, we believe we can get a workforce that is happier, more engaged and more committed to that purpose.

CSD: Are you doing anything to relax dress code rules, allow tattoos, piercings or purple hair? Why or why not? 

TK: Connecting with people is an important part of our culture. Interesting hairstyles or body art are quick and easy ways for our associates to make connections with our customers. They make for great conversation starters. Plus, it’s important that our associates reflect our customer base so that all feel welcome in our convenience stores. 

CSD: Why is creating a more trusting work culture important, and how does it benefit Kum & Go? What have you seen improve since working to create a more trusting work culture? 

TK: We were shooting ourselves in the foot when it came to turnover. We had good associates get randomly selected for testing, only to have them fail and be forced out of the company. 

If our people show up to work under the influence of any substance, or if they bring narcotic activity to our stores, those are mistakes that will have serious consequences. However, we believe in trusting our associates. And so far, that decision has really paid off.


Source: CStore Decisions