Attracting Great Employees Despite the Labor Shortage

Smiling business people looking at sticky notes on glass in meeting room at creative office-1The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted business as we know it in a big way. Social distancing guidelines and safety protocols forced many companies to shut their doors, and many employees were let go in the process. Now that vaccines are making the rounds, companies are hiring again, but doing so is easier said than done due to a national labor shortage.

The last year has changed people, and now they want to find a job at a company that really cares about them and rewards them appropriately for their efforts. If your organization does not differentiate itself from the competition with improved benefits and job perks, you will have a tough time acquiring the staff you need in 2021. Let’s talk about some tips for attracting high-quality talent during these unorthodox times.

Better Pay

To attract top talent, companies must first understand why there is a labor shortage in the first place and how they can overcome the hurdles. There are many reasons for this shortage. It includes an aging workforce that is turning to retirement, a lack of interest by young people in certain jobs, such as the trades, and the fact that many are sticking with the unemployment benefits provided by the government until they can find a job at a company that they know genuinely cares about them.

One of the most significant motivations that can lure in good people is having a pay rate that translates to a living wage, so people aren’t forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Currently, there is a lot of talk about a minimum pay rate of $15 an hour as a standard for employees to support themselves and their families. If you are paying below that, consider raising your rates. Better yet, research your competition and find out how much they are paying, and if you can afford to do so, raise your rates a bit higher to draw people in.

Some companies may read that and immediately believe that they cannot afford to pay their employees more, but some strategies can create more cash. For instance, you could raise your products' prices or adjust your operating hours, which would save costs on supplies and utilities. You could then use some of that newly-found money and add it to your employee wages.


Better Benefits

While a solid pay rate will do wonders to attract more talent, a bold and vast benefits package is just as important. A company can show that they care by going beyond vacation and sick days and considering what employees need, such as child care assistance and tuition reimbursement. In addition to beneficial perks, employees also want to prepare for the future, so retirement and 401k plans with matching contributions are essential.

Employee assistance programs are another vital part of an attractive benefits program. A company can show that they care by providing access to programs that guide employees with financial planning and tax assistance. There should also be a mental health component involved, such as access to doctors and therapists if the need arises. Of course, your human resources team should always have an open-door policy so they can help employees understand what they are entitled to receive.

Excellent pay and an awesome benefits package can help you attract quality candidates, but you also have to effectively spread the message that your company is a great place to work and enjoy these perks. You need to effectively promote your brand and benefits via online job boards and in-person job fairs where candidates can find the type of work you do. The best idea is to create a referral program within your own company. Your top employees can recommend highly qualified friends and family members to fill necessary positions while mentioning the great benefits.


Understanding Current Employee Needs

While health coverage and 401k plans are essential, companies that want to draw in the best candidates during these difficult times must evolve their ways of thinking regarding the benefits they mention in their job listings. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic taught us all a lot about health and safety, and people value those ideas now more than ever. So, make it a big point to mention that your company prioritizes employee health with clean offices and the chance to work remotely if they have children or pre-existing conditions and they are uncomfortable returning to a physical office.

Also, building flexible schedules is another big talking point these days. People want the ability to see a doctor or bring their children to an appointment without having to go through a big hassle with their job. So, if your organization can afford the option of moving away from the standard 9-to-5 schedule, then consider allowing later starts or earlier departures as long as staff completes their work. This ability to allow a suitable work-life balance will be a major draw on your job listings.

Along with looking for a higher minimum wage, many candidates these days are looking for a company that will allow them to grow within an organization so they aren’t left on the ground floor. Your business can make this a reality by developing career paths and ladders that show employees exactly what steps they can take to move up within your organization. If your job listing explains not only that advancement opportunities exist but also that these career paths can be introduced as soon as they are hired, you will likely bring in some of the go-getters that you have been looking for.

It is important to try and not think of this work shortage as a bad thing, but as a chance to look at your internal processes and benefits programs and see how you can improve to draw in the best talent. Make it a point to show potential employees that your company is a place where they can thrive, and they will come flocking.

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About the Author: Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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