Last week, Offspring #1 and I had an appointment that ended around noon. We decided to grab some Subway on our way home, and not only could we order food, but we could sit in the actual restaurant and eat it. Just like it was 2019 or something. (Switzerland has been more cautious about reopening than the US and our vaccinations still lag behind US vaccines.)
We were positively giddy.
We’re not the only people who are excited about eating in a restaurant these days, and that’s good news for the restaurant business and great news for restaurant employees. The Wall Street Journal Reports
Restaurants and other hospitality businesses added a seasonally adjusted 343,000 jobs in June, the department said Friday. Retailers added 67,000 jobs last month, including strong gains at clothing stores, indicating Americans are getting dressed up to go out and back to offices. Similarly, personal-services businesses such as salons and dry cleaners added 29,000 jobs.
Woo-hoo! And that also means increased wages, including signing bonuses for fast-food workers. Of course, increased labor costs mean increased prices and decreased profits for businesses that were destroyed by the pandemic. But, it’s great news for employees themselves.
And it’s bringing up some essentials in hiring: If you can’t find employees, you need to change something.
Amusement parks are doing it with free french fries for their employees. (Admittedly, this would probably encourage me to get a job. I mean, a paycheck is good, but french fries? Yum. Throw in some brownies, and I am there.) Of course, that’s free french fries with an increased wage and some family passes.
If you’re struggling to hire people for any position, you really need to look at what you can offer that your competitors cannot. (Remember, when hiring, competitors are not only companies in the same sector, but companies that would hire the same type of people.) While free french fries are probably not going to lure in your new Chief Human Resources Officer (unless, you know, it’s me you want to hire), there is something out there that can put you ahead of other companies. For example:
- Bump your salaries, so you’re not paying midpoint but above midpoint.
- Increase your weeks of vacation.
- Ensure that you have options for working from home (most employees actually want a hybrid situation).
- Forget that crappy hotdesking thing. (A friend’s company bought Ikea carts for all employees so they could wheel their stuff around and find a different place every day. Do not do that. Employees hate it.)
- Train managers so that you have good management. Fire bad managers.
- Ask your employees what perks they want (not just what your French fry scarfing CHRO wants).
- Ask your candidates what they look for in a job.
- Forget about purple unicorns. Forget about unicorns altogether. If you have a unique position, be willing to either pay a freaking fortune for it or to train a horse to sit still while you tape a horn on its forehead.
I know you don’t have unlimited budgets to bring people in. But, how much money do you lose not having key positions filled? How much money do you lose when employees quit because your managers are untrained or just plain bad? Make sure you look at the whole picture. Take a page out of the restaurant business and make your business more attractive to potential employees.