EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth in a four-part series that will explore the reassessment of labor standards as well as turnover rates and retention challenges facing local businesses. It will look at what counties, states and neighboring countries have tried to address the apparent labor shortage. The first part can be found here. The second part can be found here. The third part can be found here.
MOUNT VERNON – Many companies in the Knox area have adapted their recruiting strategies – adding hiring and referral bonuses, increasing wages and giving discounts – in an effort to encourage more people to apply.
Southside Diner has a sponsorship program, for example, which allows employees to earn bonuses of up to $ 500 if the employee and the employee who sponsored them are still in post after six months.
The remaining Southside Diner staff have also embarked on new marketing strategies to engage candidates, Frank Winter said, including redesigning applications and posting job openings on external sites such as Indeed and Facebook.
Similar to Southside Diner, Taco Bell offers referral bonuses and discounts to other companies including AT&T, Payless, Six Flags, and AVIS. But Josh Lester, the manager, is hesitant to say that these incentives help a lot with hiring.
Businesses in Knox County, Ashland County and across the country have raised wages to attract workers.
Ashland and Knox both have publicly accessible resource rooms, where job seekers can receive assistance with certain aspects of their job search, including resume preparation, career counseling, internet. free, clothes and gas coupons to help them with the application and interview process, et cetera. These resources predate the pandemic.
The Knox County Area Development Foundation is creating a manufacturing and healthcare-only job board for Knox County, which is due out in the fall of 2021, Gottke said.
What have other domains tried?
To discuss the reassessment of labor standards:
Like some businesses in North Central Ohio, restaurants in Philadelphia, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC and South Carolina have attributed their ability to hire workers to raise wages to $ 15 the hour or more.
Specifically for manufacturing jobs in rural areas, factories have tried to change negative perceptions of factory jobs by opening their factories to the public, like Minnesota-based Alexandria Industries.
Alexandria Industries has looked beyond the jobs it offers to develop a work culture and overall benefits, such as on-site child care and health care, refurbishment of cafeterias, installation of equipment such as pool tables and investing in Wi-Fi enabled buses to provide easier commutes for workers who live far away.
Some local and municipal governments have adopted financial incentives to encourage workers to relocate or return to their rural roots. For example, Kansas has designated 95 counties as “rural opportunity areas,” meaning workers who move there receive additional benefits, including student loan repayment assistance and income tax exemptions. state revenue.
To address turnover rates and retention challenges:
Some regions have turned to young people as a solution in helping students take advantage of employment opportunities.
A program in St. Louis focuses on connecting students with employers through summer jobs that can translate into careers. Almost 95% of program participants felt better prepared to seek work after the program due to improved confidence and skills, according to the program’s website.
Turning to young people to fill labor shortages is not necessarily new. When there were shortages of election workers in 2020, for example, several cities relied on teens for help.
Some businesses include immigrants in their out-of-state hiring of workers, including a small family-owned construction business in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
Research from New American Economy, a bipartisan research and advocacy organization, found that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a limited negative effect on the growth of industries that often depend on highly skilled foreign workers due to chronic shortages of workforce.
Other companies brought the work to the workers.
In London, the Good Hotel, located in a low-income and poorly educated area, offers long-term unemployed people vocational training and jobs in the hospitality industry, and is responsible for helping its trainees find employment in order to that they can stay in the industry.
Some companies have voluntarily recruited workers from other fields when faced with labor shortages.
For example, Colorado cybersecurity companies began recruiting and training veterans after recognizing the similarities between the jargon and tactics of the two industries.
In terms of government involvement, other countries have provided wage subsidies to avoid layoffs during the pandemic.
Germany has done so, allowing employers to continue to employ their workers by reducing hours for everyone. Unemployment funds that typically went to those who are made redundant have instead been directed to employer payrolls, allowing workers to return to work full time when the health crisis was under control.
Locally, employers, job seekers and leaders in the Knox area have a range of reasons why there appears to be a shortage of workers meeting available jobs, and quick fixes do not seem plausible.
Trevon Logan, professor of economics at Ohio State University and associate researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research, said the country was emerging from a period of employee learning. A job isn’t just a job for many anymore, Logan said, noting that the decisions employees make are complex.
“I think people are now asking a much more nuanced question,” Logan said, “which is, ‘is work quality work? Is it really worth my time? ‘ “