The Wills Group’s Director of Corporate Communications and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Rayma Alexander, participated in CStore Decisions’ panel discussion with Angie Cody, Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at Pilot Co., and Erin Del Conte, Editor-in-Chief of CStore Decisions on the topic of how c-stores are incorporating DEI programs into their labor management plans.

The Wills Group, parent company of Dash In, recognizes the need to understand and acknowledge the values, needs, and experiences of their stakeholders, as well as what motivates and inspires them. DEI is not just seen as an initiative but a lasting cultural norm, a way of working, doing business, and engaging with communities.

Dash In approaches DEI by making it a central part of their mission statement and promise, which extends to all companies under the Wills Group umbrella, including Dash In, Splash In ECO Car Wash, and SMO Motor Fuels. The company emphasizes that diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to becoming the preferred choice for employees, customers, and business partners in their markets and geographies. They commit to having teams that reflect the diversity of their communities and to providing equitable opportunities and a sense of belonging for everyone. Furthermore, they actively engage their employees in the process, valuing their input in delivering exceptional products, services, and experiences.

In addition to these commitments, Dash In is implementing a learning curriculum that includes relevant courses on topics like the business case for diversity and inclusion, inclusive leadership, and addressing microaggressions. These training sessions are conducted quarterly to ensure that DEI remains a fresh and actionable focus within the organization.

Impact of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Dash In 

Rayma Alexander also notes that Dash In’s commitment to DEI initiatives adds depth to employee and community engagement, decision-making processes, and the overall customer experience. It is a fundamental aspect of the company’s culture and has a lasting impact on the company’s success.

Dash In has been recognized with the prestigious Great Place to Work distinction for two consecutive years, and most recently added the Best Places to Work in Retail by Fortune Magazine honor to its list of achievements, a source of immense pride for the company. This recognition resonates positively with employees, potential hires, customers, and the community. The process of seeking this designation encourages introspection and highlights the various ways Dash In is investing in its employees, including offering enhanced benefits, implementing a DEI learning track, focusing on diversity in hiring, and actively engaging with the community.

Regarding employee retention and satisfaction, Dash In’s focus on DEI is making a noticeable difference. Employees are aware that the company is actively promoting DEI and holding itself accountable through initiatives such as the annual Great Place to Work certification, diversity-focused hiring practices, and community engagement efforts. The appointment of leaders dedicated to driving DEI, such as Rayma Alexander, underscores the organization’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming workplace.

Looking Ahead   

Rayma Alexander explains that Dash In’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals for the future involve maintaining a deliberate focus on hiring, promotions, learning, and inclusion practices. Their intention is to integrate strong DEI practices seamlessly into their culture and operations with the belief that celebrating diversity and using it as a growth catalyst is essential for both their team and the company.

For other chains interested in DEI programs, Rayma Alexander advises starting with thorough research. This includes actively listening to employees at all levels of the organization, bringing in neutral experts and DEI leaders to assess talent flow, customer propositions, and DEI opportunities. “Be open-minded, patient, and courageous. Take your employees on the journey with you,” she says. “Ultimately, the goal is to advance humanity and promote inclusion and equity for all.”

Watch the full CStore Decisions panel discussion here:

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