As the world is beginning to reopen, businesses of all types and sizes are finding that they don’t have enough staff to handle the demands of a public that is desperate to get back to normal. Hardest hit are the travel, hospitality and restaurant industries who had to dial back significantly during the pandemic and now are struggling to ramp back up.
The shortage has also affected the supply chain – there aren’t enough truck drivers to move gasoline, materials and other products from origin to final destination.
Even Disney, the world’s largest theme park operator and the “happiest place on earth” is finding it a challenge to bring people back to work, especially housekeepers and cooks. About 20 percent of service trade employees at Walt Disney World have not returned to work. To attract workers, the company is offering $1,000 sign-on bonuses.
So, what’s causing the labor shortage? According to economists, there are a number of factors that may be contributing. Lack of available/affordable childcare, concerns about going back to work when we’re not quite through the pandemic, early retirements, and health complications for COVID long-haulers.
Another factor is that the past 16 months or so have given many workers time to reassess their careers – what they do, whom they work for, and where they do their work.
According to a McKinsey & Co. report, 26 percent of workers in the United States are preparing to look for new employment opportunities and 40 percent of workers globally are considering leaving their current employers by the end of the year.
This is a pretty shocking statistic and should be of concern to business leaders who don’t want to lose their talent. It’s much easier (and less costly) to retain top talent than to replace it.
Two of the key reasons cited for this “resignation wave” by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) are better compensation and benefits and better life balance.
As you develop your plan to return to the office, let flexibility be your mantra. McKinsey & Co. found that there was a significant disconnect between what employers perceive as the best way forward (in the office) and what employees want (a hybrid model).
To bridge the gap, carefully evaluate which roles require being in the office and which can be performed partially or fully remotely. Take each employee’s personal situation into account. For example, parents may have childcare issues until schools are fully reopened. Consider delaying their return to the office until then. Offer a flexible work schedule. And follow the advice I gave in a previous article about best practices for the post-COVID return to work.
If you have questions or need help putting together your return-to-work plan, please consider Connect to HR’s 3-hour Just in Time Advisory Service. Many of my clients found this service helpful last year as they made the shift to a remote work model or needed to keep their essential business open safely.
You do not have to do it alone!
Contact us today for a FREE 45-minute consultation to see how Just in Time: Your Guide to HR can benefit you.