Earlier this week, Bluecrew’s Chief Customer Officer Matt Laurinas and Marketing Director Michael Vaynerman led a webinar to discuss how hourly worker retention has changed during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, what hourly workers want (and what employers can do to retain them), and how we anticipate the labor landscape to change post-COVID.
With high labor market competition; climbing wages; and many hourly workers still hesitant to work due to the COVID-19 virus, childcare challenges, and more, workplaces are struggling to hire the talent they need. This means retaining talent - especially top workers - is critical for businesses looking to stay at peak productivity.
View the full webinar recording here or scroll down for some key takeaways from our discussion.
In the webinar, we discussed the current high demand for warehouse and fulfillment workers, and how this increased competition has forced workplaces to be more flexible and accommodate workers’ needs.
In response, many employers have raised wages to stay competitive. Early in the pandemic, hazard pay and bonuses for frontline workers were common. Now, we’re seeing wages climb due to high unemployment benefits from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan as well. Employers need to offer wages and benefits that will entice hourly workers in order to stay fully staffed.
Key Takeaway: This is a job seeker’s market, and hourly workers have lots of different work opportunities right now. Anything workplaces can do to make their jobs more attractive - from raising pay to offering increased flexibility and benefits to lowering barriers to entry like additional interviews or drug screening - can make it a lot easier to attract and keep hourly staff.
Historically, we’ve seen our Crew Members place the greatest value on the location of their workplaces, W-2 benefits and protections, and having flexibility and choice in their job selection.
Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve also seen workplaces’ COVID responses impact their workers happiness and engagement. You can dig into the stats deeper in our recent hourly worker retention survey. What we really saw was that workers whose employers had a poor response to the pandemic were more likely to be job searching, worried about virus exposure at work, and intend to leave their jobs within the next 6 months.
Workplaces that are engaging workers well right now are focused on making them feel appreciated and safe at work. This includes measures like providing temperature checks, promoting COVID-19 safety protections, offering paid time off to get vaccinated, and giving workers lunches or contests to show appreciation.
Key Takeaway: The things workers have always found important - like location and benefits - will continue to be impactful. However, the way employers have handled the pandemic will be important to workers for a long time to come. Taking basic steps to make workers feel supported and protected in the workplace now will pay dividends in the long run.
In the short-term, we’re focused on the competitive hiring market. Companies that are adapting well are aware of the current challenges, using labor market data to support wage changes, and helping to lower barriers to entry that are making workers less likely to accept their jobs. Right now, filling jobs requires awareness of what workers want most and additional flexibility.
For the future, we believe increased vaccination and re-opening will give workers more flexibility but also more options for employment. With new buying habits here to stay, the hiring market will remain tight, and workplaces that focus on offering what workers want, retaining their best employees, and engaging their workforce will have the greatest success.
Key Takeaway: Even as businesses reopen and more hourly workers feel safe returning to work, companies will need to focus on workers’ needs and offer them the benefits and opportunities they want to keep them engaged.
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