The company said it also works with employees to create work/flex-time schedules that meet their needs and the needs of the business.
"We care about our people and their quality of life. The balance of work and home is tricky," Mr. Harper said. "Everyone should be more aware of our people's mental health at work and at home.
"Our goal is to be the preferred tire and automotive service retailer in every community we are in while making Big O Tires an incredible place to work. This message is well-understood amongst our staff and creates an attractive environment that helps us retain and hire quality employees."
Despite state-issued stay-at-home orders last spring that slowed down business, MFA retained its entire staff.
"We wanted to assure our employees they would have a job and retain their benefits throughout the pandemic," he said. "We did not lay off or furlough any of our employees, and because of that, our stores have performed well once the communities we serve were allowed to reopen."
The company also offers mentoring and training for its employees.
"We consider every day an opportunity to be a mentor. All employees receive two days off per week. Our leadership team views this as an opportunity to mentor, train and give feedback to other employees filling in roles while their co-workers have the day off. These opportunities allow our team members to increase their knowledge and expand their skill sets.
"Additionally, our employees are given access to training from TBC (Corp.), and our own internal university training program further develops their business skills and knowledge of the automotive industry," Mr. Harper said.
MFA said it believes it gets its "best buy-in" with employees when it shares its success with the employees.
"Our staff receives a percentage of the overall profitability of our stores. This has proven to be a strong incentive that drives our teams to manage all aspects of their respective stores as if they owned the business themselves. Our monthly contests are also popular," he said.
To boost employee engagement, the company hosts monthly contests with rewards such as Yeti coolers, barbecue grills and premium apparel. "But our most popular prize is a steak dinner cooked by our leadership team," he said.
"We are continually looking for ways to keep moving our people and business forward together. We try to keep our incentive program as simple as possible so that employees can easily understand what they need to do to be rewarded."
MFA also hosts an annual awards banquet to recognize its highest performing teams.
"We invite employees, their spouses, special guests, and vendors to attend the banquet and help us celebrate our top teams. Raffles and prizes are drawn throughout the night for everyone in attendance," he added.
MFA said its biggest human resources challenge is finding new employees.
"Earlier this year the unemployment rate was around 3%, but we have a great recruitment team that consistently contacts trade schools and colleges, and utilizes social media to identify quality candidates for our business," Charlie Alexander, director of operations, said.
To attract new employees, the company has made improvements to its online recruiting profile on job search websites and on social media.
"This has helped us find new applicants. Our employees are typically our best recruiters.
"We have an incentive program that rewards current employees with up to $500 for the recruitment and retainment of new hires," Mr. Alexander said.
"It's all about getting our name in front of the right people in the right places. Timing, and a bit of luck, play a role. We've found that a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook are helpful."
Columbia-based MFA Oil is a farmer-owned co-op, whose main business is supplying its members with propane, fuel, oil and lubricants.
It expanded into tires and auto service in 1998, forming a joint venture with TBC Corp. to open Big O outlets in Missouri.
It bought out TBC's share of the venture in 2015, when it had 14 stores.
MFA recently sold eight Jiffy Lube quick-service oil change stores it had operated in Missouri.