Across multiple industries, organizational types, and work place sizes businesses, governmental entities, and nonprofits are struggling to fill positions. After some thoughtful consideration by the Emporia Main Street Board of Directors, our Business Enhancement Team with assistance from IM Design Group, we are introducing a new tool to help (CLICK HERE). But, before we get into the tool discussion we need to take a few moments to identify some of the root causes of the employment issues that we are facing, and some solutions that can be generated to combat underlying issues.
- Childcare issues are taking some people out of the workforce.- If people have to choose between kids and work, kids often win. Finding quality childcare can be difficult for some work environments. Can you establish a relationship with an existing child care facility to refer potential employees? Can your business work with other local businesses to offer a child care option? Some large businesses in other areas have invested in on-site childcare that provides a powerful employment and loyalty incentive for staff members.
- After being cooped up for an extended period, some people want to spend a summer doing things other than working.- Cabin fever is a thing, and a good portion of the public had to forego activities last year. Instead of cash bonuses or traditional performance incentives, can your business work with events, concerts, or regional travel destinations to generate incentives for employees? Experiences can be a powerful motivator for staff, and all those people going on trips now may find out that they need good employment to pay their bills later…
- Inconsistent scheduling is hard to reconcile with family and personal time.- When local COVID infections were at their peak, people were locked down in a pretty regimented schedule. Schedule uncertainty makes it difficult for people to plan anything from time with family to simple enjoyment of activities. Using technology to clearly communicate employment expectations with plenty of advance notice is key to maintaining a stable workforce. Having a smaller “on call” group is necessary for some business types, but the more unstable the schedule the less loyalty a business will enjoy.
- Workers are (at least temporarily) exercising their power.- The United States has become much more efficient over the past few decades, but workers in some business types haven’t always reaped the rewards of that efficiency. When some warehouse workers for large internet retailers saw their bosses net worth increase by billions while their paychecks remained the same, some animosity grew. Small businesses generally had a different pandemic experience (not many small business billionaires these days). It’s important to communicate with your staff about the needs of the business and how to balance business needs with staff needs. Regular communication that is interactive can go a long way towards producing a better work environment.
- Potential employees have more research tools at their disposal than ever before, and they use those tools to research culture.- Chat rooms are full of threads asking “what’s it like to work for XX company?”. People that are passionate about their work experience with a company (whether they had a negative or positive experience) will generally reply. Employers are being scouted as much as employees. So, what are your employees saying? Are you offering referral bonuses to high functioning employees that can attract their high functioning friends?
- “Forever loyalty” isn’t common in the workplace anymore, and managing employment lifecycles is important.- Fifty years ago it wasn’t uncommon for a person to go to work for a company and retire with the same company. Now “lifers” are the exception, not the rule. Understanding the reality of transient employment allows businesses to more effectively manage expectations. If you know that your employment window for staff has a finite lifespan, it is important to manage the different stages of the employment cycle for staff, and celebrate “graduations” to maintain a positive work environment and attract new employees (or ascension of existing employees).
- Folks are tired (both physically and emotionally).- This past year has been absolutely brutal for a lot of people. The energy necessary to maintain high levels of productivity isn’t something that automatically comes rushing back. The more emphasis on training and support at the beginning of employment (that slowly tapers off over a well defined time frame) the more likely you will retain new hires. I know ownership/management is exhausted too, but finding the extra gear for training staff is one of the most effective ways to ensure you will eventually get off the hamster wheel.
So, let’s talk about the new tools developed. Businesses and employees have different needs depending on the nature of the employment. Full time positions, part time positions, and contract “gig” labor are all significantly different. A “one size fits all” approach didn’t seem appropriate for the local needs of our member businesses and organizations.
We know that employees sometimes gravitate towards high capacity employers because they are “always hiring”, and that occasionally puts smaller businesses at a disadvantage when seeking quality employees. By forming a collection point with specific information, businesses can collectively attract more interest from a broader group of potential applicants. We understand that these job offerings have a finite lifespan, and the system developed automatically deletes job listings after a specific period. Jobs submitted must be authorized by Main Street staff for the job to display on the web based listing, so we will look through jobs submitted to ensure that they support our local businesses and that “gig” based submissions don’t compete with members that provide the same (or similar) ser
There is a difference between the employment base looking for a full time job, and those looking for part time work. Throwing all types of jobs together can be confusing for potential applicants, so some separation should make the hunt for employment easier.
Sometimes businesses are simply looking for help to accomplish a specific task for a limited time. Artists drawing on sandwich boards or doing window displays, people putting together storage shelving, or folks moving fixtures doesn’t always require a traditional paid staff member. “Gig” hires can help businesses complete specific tasks for a a limited time period on a contract basis, and those types of employment are popular with folks that want to make some quick cash.
Some individuals in the community have skills that businesses might not know that they need. New “gig” potential contract laborers can use the new system to highlight their skills to local businesses and organizations needing assistance from contract labor.
If your business or organization can use this new system, please take some time and CLICK HERE to add your needs to the new board listing. This new system is a work in progress, so if you have suggestions, let us know.
We have posted individual job listings in our newsletter and on social media channels with limited success. We know how important attracting quality employees is to the health of our local businesses and organizations, so Emporia Main Street made the investment in a more robust tool to help our members and the community. We take your needs seriously, and Emporia Main Street is willing to take the time and make the investments necessary to help your business or organization obtain resources necessary to run a successful venture.