How To Stay Fully Staffed In A Tight Labor Market

Part 2 – Training, Benefits, and Referral Bonuses, Oh My!

Deliberately retain your people. In the current economic environment, keeping your business fully staffed is now a significant priority. Since we all know that it is much cheaper to keep existing staff than it is to recruit and train new staff, it only makes financial sense to put a serious effort into retaining your people. Other than increasing wages, which is a good start but not the final word in employee retention, what else can you do? Many workers look for other things than pay when assessing their work situation.

            Training- are you investing in a quality training program that provides your employees with career skills, or even simply better equips them to succeed in their current role in your organization.

             Benefits- this can get expensive in a hurry, so you will need to do some careful research, but start by evaluating the benefits you offer your employees, and then see if there are any gaps that you can fill to make remaining with your organization more attractive. Companies are finding creative benefits to offer their employees that reflect the changing economic and social landscape in which they are competing for workers. According to the New York Times, the restaurant industry in certain regions is resorting to a variety of benefits, including tuition reimbursement and extra training that is both fun and job related.

            Promotion path- we’ve already discussed investing living wages in your “most valued peeps”, now we are talking about offering them a formal promotion with a new title, expanded responsibilities, and the related training to help make then successful in their new role. Obviously this will be limited by the size and scope of your business, but it’s worth a serious look. In the long term it can also help you to delegate some things and maybe improve your quality of life. Win – win!

            Referral bonuses- this subject ties in with recruiting, which we will discuss later, but it also is a retention tactic. Those MPVs we keep discussing can also be your best recruiters (are we beginning to learn just how valuable they are to our businesses?) Talk to them one on one, keep it discreet, and offer them a significant referral bonus for any new employees that they help to recruit and retain over a period of time. Stagger the payments so that they are incentivized to help retain the new employees. By helping with this process they are now invested in your organization.

Consistent / engaged leadership- employees are human beings that have emotional and other, intangible needs. Most people want more from their job than just a paycheck. They want to feel valued; they want to make a positive contribution; they want to be treated fairly; they want there to be no favoritism and their supervisors to be immune to “brown-nosing”. Nothing demoralizes employees faster than for them to work hard, day after day, only to see a “butt-kisser” succeed, get promoted, or receive preferential treatment. Get to know your people, find out what makes them motivated, let them know how valued they really are.

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