The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped not only how we work, but where we work—and live. As the virus infiltrated some of the U.S.’s most populous cities, many Americans uprooted their lives and moved to more wide open spaces.
While the sudden switch to remote and hybrid work enabled many employees to work from anywhere, those who were deemed essential remained working on the front lines. Meanwhile, many hourly employees, such as restaurant workers or those employed at small businesses that were forced to shutter, lost their jobs due to government-mandated shutdowns or travel restrictions. Indeed, there are about 3.5 million fewer people in the workforce relative to February 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Now that the pandemic is waning, businesses are beginning to reopen and/or return to normal levels of operation. But many face a new crisis: attracting new employees during a labor shortage. From restaurants and retail to tourism and hospitality, employers (large and small) are finding it difficult to attract and hire new employees.
So, what can businesses do to overcome the challenges presented by the current labor shortage? We’ve taken a closer look at three ways employers can take action now to find new employees.
1. Increase pay to be more competitive
In some industries, the answer is simple: show job candidates the money. For businesses that are struggling with attracting talent but are only paying a minimum wage to their hourly employees (we’re looking at you, restaurant owners), consider offering a pay rate that competes with other businesses in your area.
While many employers point to the availability of enhanced federal unemployment benefits (i.e, people are making more money by not working) as to the reason why there’s a labor shortage, this also serves as a wake-up call to pay your employees a living wage.
And availability of unemployment benefits is just one of the many reasons there’s a labor shortage in the first place. In many states, workers had to change jobs or careers just to find work during the pandemic. To overcome this, consider how you can make your compensation package more attractive (read: competitive) to the talent who have experience or skill sets in your field.
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2. Expand your benefits package
Of course, compensation is not the only factor that attracts talent to your business or organization. Benefits, including health insurance, paid time off, wellness programs, Employee Assistance Programs, retirement plans (with a company match), and more, all complement employee compensation.
More specifically, employee mental health and well-being have been impacted immensely by the pandemic—and we’re just starting to see the effects of post-pandemic burnout and employee attrition. Your company can get ahead by implementing programs and initiatives that support employee well-being now—programs that will help you not only retain the talent you have, but become an attractive employer for your forward-thinking offerings.
3. Offer employees more flexibility
If your organization or business can operate with employees working remotely or in a hybrid (some days in the office, some days remote) schedule, consider offering this type of flexibility to attract new employees.
Some employees prefer to work solely at home or solely in an office (or physical workspace), but many people have enjoyed the freedom of choosing where they work best during the pandemic. Accommodating a flexible work model can help you not only attract employees that thrive in these various environments, but also retain happy employees for the long term.
Still have questions about how to compete for the best talent right now? Send us a message and our HR Professionals will get back to you as soon as possible.