You have heard about buyer and seller markets in real estate. Is there anything similar in the labor market? You bet. Even though we do not have a formal name for it, there are times when the labor market swings in favor of employees and other times when it is more favorable to employers. Right now, employees are in the driver’s seat.
What is being called the Great Resignation is forcing employers to pull out all the stops to keep employees happy. From large corporations to the smallest of small businesses, employers cannot afford to lose any more staff. So many are already working on a shoestring staff as it is.
So, what’s the deal? According to Dallas-based BenefitMall, employees are leaving their jobs in droves in hopes of finding something better elsewhere – whether that means a better job at a different company, a self-employment opportunity, contract work, or just pursuing other interests. Keeping them employed is really a matter of keeping them happy.
A Four-Day Work Week
CNBC’s Michelle Fox recently put together a piece describing some of the steps companies are taking to slow down employee resignations. One of the companies she profiled has begun offering employees a four-day work week. It turns out that most of the company’s sixty employees have taken the offer. But instead of making their four days longer, they are learning to become more efficient.
Employees and management have worked together to trim meeting times. They have blocked off some hours during the day as meeting-free, allowing employees to get their work done without having to change a whole lot in terms of scheduling, deadlines, and goals. Together, they have managed to trim the work week to 32 hours without missing a beat.
Flexible Work Locations
Companies whose business models do not require employees to physically be in an office are figuring out that offering flexible work locations is a big plus. They are allowing workers to work from anywhere in the world. Obviously, this is not an option for certain types of industries. A coffee shop employee cannot work online, for example. But where the model works, it is being widely accepted by employees.
Hand-in-hand with flexible work locations is flexible scheduling. Where possible, employers are starting to allow workers to set their own schedules. As long as they get their work done up to standard, and in keeping with deadlines, employees can ‘punch the clock’ when it is most convenient for them.
Again, this is an option that doesn’t work for every industry. Hospitality workers cannot come and go as they please. They must keep tight schedules so as to keep everything on track. On the other hand, plenty of office-based jobs can be worked at any hour of the day or night.
Surprisingly, a growing number of companies are beginning to offer contract work to employees who do not want to come back after COVID lockdowns. Fox says some of them are even offering benefits, eliminating one of the objections states like California have to contractor arrangements. Contract work with benefits gives employees many of the freedoms of self-employment but with the stability of having one primary employer.
Companies are doing other things to slow down the Great Resignation. When all is said and done, they are beginning to realize that workers are no longer satisfied with the status quo. They are coming to terms with the fact that their employees want more say in how things are done. They have little choice but to respond accordingly. Otherwise, they face an insurmountable worker shortage.