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For most of the pandemic, the biggest challenge businesses have faced has been getting workers. Now, with employment levels similar to those before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, companies are shifting their focus to employee retention. But the old way of thinking about retention doesn’t work anymore.
Previously, during the pandemic, the struggle for hiring affected almost all industries. Business thrived in commodity-related industries as consumers relied heavily on e-commerce and delivery services. But in-person workers faced the risk of fatal illness in the workplace, as well as requirements for personal protective equipment and vaccinations. As a result, the supply of labor did not always match the demand. And when the economy outside the home finally reopened, millions of service workers left or left the workforce altogether.
The job market is generally as tight right now as it was before the pandemic. unemployment rate again exceptionally low, and share of adults in employment almost the same as in 2019. Workers were able to choose; V the rate at which they leave their jobs peaked in April 2022 and is still higher than ever before the pandemic. In our recent Hospitality staffing reportnearly half of respondents said they lost 25% or more of their workforce in 2022 due to layoffs.
To be sure, the Federal Reserve’s high short-term interest rates have pulled the sails off the economy a little, and the labor market is starting to calm down. But it’s still hard to keep up. This is also extremely important – no one wants to spend time and resources training a new employee only to have him go to another job. So, here are some effective retention strategies taken from our research.
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1. Incentives matter
Many jobs already offer year-end bonuses for employees, but 12 months can be a long wait when work experience is steadily declining. Now some of our business partners are planning payments that employees can receive as early as three or six months, provided they remain at their jobs. Incentives can also take the form of promotions, but it is more difficult to reconcile expectations about what a promotion entails in terms of pay, timing and responsibilities. On the contrary, everyone understands cold, hard money.
2. Height is optional
The previous section didn’t say that workers aren’t interested in advancement—they are definitely. A business that lays out a clear career path for new employees is more likely to win their commitment if they can see other employees following the path successfully. Especially today, when workers have more choice and more autonomy, they should be able to imagine how they acquire skills and responsibilities as they get older.
Providing opportunities for growth has become more difficult as the labor market becomes more flexible and multifaceted. Some workers may work full-time, others may work part-time, and others may work in shifts with their own flexible schedule. However, these days even flexible hourly workers like those on our platform search for career paths.
Companies often offer training shifts to begin with, and then regular shifts for workers who complete the training. These workers can then be added to lists, offered long-term assignments, and finally hired permanently. Workers also want to move up the corporate ladder; we see workers on our platform moving from prep chef to line chef or from warehouse assistant to an intermediate position.
Related: How I increased staff retention by 5% last year while the nation hit an all-time high number of layoffs
3. Be positive
As we sifted through thousands of job reviews for our first State of the Agile Workforce Report, we found two things that mattered most to workers besides money: the attitude of their teams and the atmosphere that surrounded them. Workers attached great importance to colleagues who helped, supported, entertained and taught. They also commended businesses with clean, well-lit, well-organized, temperature-controlled spaces.
4. Little things matter too
In the past year, businesses have raised wages, added benefits, increased flexibility and offered additional training. all to increase retention. These strategies may work, but they are expensive. Sometimes cheaper perks can give companies more bang for their buck and even set them apart from the competition.
Many years ago I interviewed Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, on his strategies for attracting and retaining players. He could pay big salaries, but money alone didn’t make players want to come to Dallas. So he made sure his stadium had the most comfortable bench seats, the most plush towels in the lockers, and a host of other inexpensive amenities that no other team offered. These perks only cost a couple of thousand dollars per player, but they have completely changed the hiring dynamic, turning the heads of visiting players throughout the season.
On the subject: Companies should be better at hiring, not firing. 7 Tips for Selecting and Retaining the Best Talent in Tough Economic Times.
Most businesses can do something like this for a lot less. Just think of things like the quality of your coffee, the feel of your break room, and even mundane things like the ease of scheduling shifts. If you can do big things right, then you can do small things right. The workers will notice – and then you will notice when they stay nearby.