There’s no way to sugarcoat this – these past six months have been the toughest for workers and employers since the Great Recession. We’re in Q4 of a year that for most of us presented unforeseen challenges and setbacks. Whatever ambitious goals your business may have had for 2020, they most likely went out the window some time in Q2.
But all of that doesn’t mean you can’t finish the year strong.
Economic recovery is slowly gaining momentum. At Kelly we’re seeing customers ramping back up, and demand for workers is actually outpacing supply in some industries. There’s a real battle for talent unfolding. This is true in manufacturing, logistics and retail where companies are finding it critical to get more creative and generous in order to recruit and retain workers.
You can’t afford to lose that battle if you want to finish the year on a high note and position yourself for a more successful 2021. Now is a critical time to invest in meaningful talent attraction and retention strategies that can set your business apart from competitors. Let’s look at the most effective ones.
1. Create safe, comfortable and flexible work environments.
Kelly is placing more than 400,000 workers every year, and we’ve seen workers’ priorities shift significantly over the past six months. Workplace safety is now their main concern. Everything else is secondary. Employees want to be assured factory floors and office spaces are clean and safe. Social distancing norms and disinfecting protocols are an expectation, and additional safety measures like temperature screening and contact tracing are becoming standard practice.
Think about how you can reorganize workspaces to allow for safe interactions between co-workers and determine if changes are needed to improve things like air quality. Also consider creating flexible work schedules that allow workers to solve childcare issues or care for sick family members while still working fulltime. If you demonstrate commitment to worker safety and wellbeing, you’re that much more attractive to job seekers.
2. Pay a competitive wage.
With unemployment still at recession levels, many are wondering why businesses are struggling to find talent. The reality is many workers have dropped out of the labor market because they have health concerns, struggle to find childcare, and receive enhanced unemployment benefits. In other words, workers are carefully weighing whether or not they can “afford” to work.
Now more than ever companies must make it worth coming to work. That means analyzing market rates and determining if you need to increase pay to stay competitive.
Kelly recently partnered with a Fortune 500 customer to double its applicant rate in one week through a 30-35% increase in pay rates. If your prospective labor pool is in the lower pay bands, expect the increase required to draw talent to your company to be in the 60-70% range. Businesses resisting to pay fair wages not only struggle to attract new talent, but also risk losing workers to competitors who are paying up.
3. Introduce bonuses, perks and benefits.
Many Kelly clients have introduced sign-on bonuses and other perks to boost their recruiting and retention efforts. We’re seeing attendance and completion bonuses of more than $2,000 for assembly workers after just 90 days on the job. It’s strategy that can be implemented immediately, and it’s one that benefits both workers and employers. Workers receive much needed financial assistance during these volatile times while companies retain their talent, thereby increasing productivity and reducing rehiring expenses.
Expanded benefits are more costly and more challenging to implement, but they may have an even bigger impact on attracting workers and boosting morale. As a result of the pandemic, workers are now more concerned about health coverage, mental health support, childcare savings accounts, and financial counseling. Employers offering these benefits do stand out.
4. Provide opportunities for career development.
In a competitive job market workers are always looking for what’s next. They switch employers for better pay, for better work-life balance, for fair and equitable treatment and for career advancement. The fewer reasons you give workers to leave, the more likely they are to stay. Therefore, a career development program is crucial in your efforts to retain top talent. Are you currently offering reskilling and upskilling opportunities? If not, now is the time to put them in place for next year.
None of these ideas are revolutionary, but in many cases employers have resisted them. For some, the pandemic has been a catalyst for change. Their willingness to invest in workers’ financial, physical and mental health, is allowing them to finish a tough year on a strong note and lay the groundwork for a more successful 2021.