How to Attract and Retain Workers Amid Labor Shortage

by | 22 July 2021

The lack of part-time and seasonal staffing has become the most significant challenge in a high-stakes game between local and national businesses across industries, fielding a lack of job applicants. I’m sure you’ve seen the surplus of “Help Wanted” signs at restaurants and retailers in your cities.

Demand for a living wage tops the growing wish list for per diem employees in the restaurant and retail space. But, unfortunately, the average minimum wage in the U.S. is tough to live on, let alone take on  today’s economy. And after such a rough year, many workers are considering their options.

Workers have an unprecedented opportunity to negotiate with employers to secure company benefits like a decent wage, paid sick leave and a 401(k), in line with their corporate counterparts. President Biden’s recent remarks on the June Jobs Report suggest that employers will need to meet applicants’ expectations for “higher wages and…the demand to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.”

The Road to Happiness

Nearly 63% of respondents to The Happiness Report prioritized communication and empathy, with 56% “receiving benefits like health insurance and paid time off” as a close second in their needs to be happy in their work. Perhaps inspired by these sentiments and others, some companies have risen to the occasion by offering incentives to their part-time and seasonal employees, including signing bonuses. The industry is also seeing big retailers like Walmart, Under Armour, Best Buy, Target and Southwest Airlines increasing the hourly wages of their workers.

How to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Based on Glassdoors’ 2021 Best Companies to Work list, several retail and hospitality businesses rank high within the Top 25. We highlight some of their best practices for attracting and retaining top talent below:

  • The Vans® footwear company recently launched its first sustainable shoe collection made from vegan-friendly materials. With a nod to its mission of promoting creative self-expression through youth, its founder Paul Van Doren believed “people are the key in everything we do” and set out to create an inclusive culture revered by its employees. The retailer offers flexible work schedules and matching 401(k) contributions.
  • In-n-Out Burger’s CEO, Lynsi Snyder, strives to create a quality experience for both employees and customers. Snyder held to its mission throughout the pandemic, moving forward with business plans and expansion efforts to increase new hires for its popular drive-throughs. This year, the regional chain expanded its business east into Colorado, where it hired 130 new employees and increased hiring across its 363 locations with a starting hourly rate of $14.50.
  • Texas grocer H-E-B, which stands for Here, Everyone Belongs, considers each employee a partner and whether they are part- or full-time, awards stock options and health benefits on day one. With over 420 stores in Texas and Mexico, the company also offers commuter benefits, tuition reimbursement and matches a percentage of 401(k) contributions.

Celebrate Youth!

The Department of Labor reported a significant increase in May, as over 33% of teenaged Americans joined the workforce. The hospitality and retail sectors hire the most teens, with more than a third (35.1%) representing the estimated 5.4 million teens employed last summer.

Tapping the creator economy for new hires, TikTok’s pilot program ‘TikTok Resumes‘ leverages the trend of video creation as a utility recruitment channel for brands like Target and Chipotle. Creators are encouraged to authentically showcase their personality, skill sets and experiences in video-based resumes of up to three minutes in length, efficiently connecting hiring managers to potential candidates faster.

What is the Long-Tail for Future Hires?

According to The Demographic Drought Report conducted by Emsi, on the future of the U.S. workforce, the rise and fall of specific U.S. demographics will have long-lasting effects over the next generation with far more significant impact than the ripple effects of the pandemic. Their findings highlight baby boomer retirees and a declining U.S. national birth rate together with the sizable decrease of labor force participation by prime-age (25-54) Americans compounding talent shortages long-term. Are we as humans accelerating more need for robotics?