It’s no secret that there is a major labor shortage right now. By the end of April 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an unprecedented 9.3 million job openings nationwide. This is the highest number recorded since the Bureau began gathering data in 2000, and unless you are tuned in to the increasing value of “work perks,” it may be a hard one to understand. Let us explain…
The national work shortage is impacting the service industry more than any other. This, despite the fact that unemployment continues to exceed pre-pandemic levels and worker pay has risen considerably in recent years.
Anyone who follows financial news—or, really, any news at all—is familiar with the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Since February 2020 average pay for those employed by supermarkets, liquor stores, meat markets, retail outlets, restaurants, etc., has jumped far above this value. The Department of Labor (DOL) reports that employees of sporting goods and musical instrument stores now earn an average of over $17 per hour, while those at car washes and laundry services average over $16.50 per hour. Despite these gains, workers aren’t willing to come back to work. The reason? It’s not about the money.
Service sector employees, just like every other class of employee—including those at law firms—are no longer satisfied with a fat paycheck. The Covid-19 pandemic has irreparably altered worker priorities, and work perks and employee benefits now matter at least as much as hard cash. Employers who have missed this memo can’t fill open positions, while those who haven’t are bagging top talent as easily as if they were fishing with dynamite.
When Hiring Strategy and Employee Benefits Strategy Fuse
After more than a year and a half of comfortably working at home while living in fear of a deadly virus, workers have learned that work-life balance is priceless. Newfound freedom coupled with an appreciation for life’s fragile nature has meant that folks want a job that bolsters their well-being as much as their retirement account. This means your benefits strategy just became inseparable from your hiring strategy (whether you like it or not).
Employee incentives that bring top talent through the door now include flexible scheduling, remote work possibilities, in-office work perks that emulate the benefits of being at-home (think childcare, an inviting office, appropriate technology, etc.), as well as recognition that comes in the form of upskilling and professional growth (instead of just a simple raise). In addition, the best of the best are looking for an office that engages with their values and practices a communication style consistent with emerging norms. Leaders of previous generations are at odds with a rapidly-shifting culture, which means leadership development is paramount to staying on the cutting edge.
To learn more about how to stay ahead of the ever-changing job market—and about how implementing strategic work perks can assist with hiring and retaining top talent, don’t hesitate to book a call with me. There is still time left this year to turn around your firm’s hiring and employee retention strategy, but you have to book a call with me today to find out if you qualify for our nationally-recognized 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround program!