Employers cannot find employees and it will get worse before it gets better. The national restaurant trade group recently announced that their industry would need 500,000 more workers just to get “business back to normal.” Where these workers will come from, no one knows.
This blog series will provide a leadership perspective of what your organization can do ASAP to deal with this worsening situation. Since this is likely affecting you, I want to provide you with concrete solutions on what you can do to minimize the damage that this employee shortage can cause. After I provide a high-level strategy, I propose one or two tactics.
Strategy 4: See Employees as an Asset, Not a Cost
The challenges of the widespread shutdown caused by COVID resulted in many white-collar employees working from home. It was anticipated that once a vaccine was available, these employees would return to ‘the office.’
But Murphy’s Law intervened. Many employees loved the convenience of working from home – No commute! A less rigid worktime schedule! No dress code! An abundance of snack food at hand! The downside was having to attend 17 Zoom meetings each day. Loss of social connection! Juggling at home daycare or schooling and work! Using garages, closets, or bathtubs as office space!
But now that employers are saying “come back,” employees are resisting. Some companies benefited by reducing their footprint in floorspace. Some experts believe that remote working is here to stay. “According to a recent Upwork survey, about 1 in 4 Americans (26.7%) will be working remotely.” It was at 7% before the COVID shutdown. “Twitter, Shopify and Dropbox have already announced that they will be moving to permanent work-from-home setups.” Meanwhile these organizations are publicly saying that they will require employees to return to ‘the office’: Barclays, Cisco, JPMorgan Chase & Co, U.S. Tiffany & Co. (Source Forbes)
There is a compensation storm brewing in organizations that have many remote workers. This will impact employees working from home permanently and temporarily. Some executives believe that if employee “John” is no longer living in… say, expensive Silicon Valley and who now WFH in Des Moines Iowa, they plan to reduce John’s pay since his cost of living is lower in Iowa than California.
This is a huge mistake!
Doing this would be the equivalent of going back the days when employers paid men more than women using the justification that the man was the breadwinner, and the woman was not.
Leadership SOLUTION – Instead of focusing on your past practices or a pay scale based on location, you can solve your talent problems by calculating what the ‘right answers’ are worth to your organization and you customers. In other words, a job has the same value no matter where it is performed when the employee is adding value to your top line or your bottom line, and to your customer or product.
Implementing this odious plan will have a detrimental effect on your company’s reputation. When it gets known that you do not pay employees their worth, I guarantee the flow of job applicants will dry up.