Employers have been in largely uncharted waters for the past couple of years as their employees have been uprooted from their routines at the same time that a particularly tight labor market only gets tighter with each new report. Unemployment numbers haven’t been this low since the 1960s and workers now have more choices in how they generate income than at any time in history. Wages are increasing in an attempt to retain and attract talent, but workers are no longer in search of the highest salary when it comes to the criteria they use for their job search.
With competition only getting stiffer and employers increasingly finding ways to get creative with their compensation, benefits, and lifestyle packages for employees, businesses will either have to start looking for robots to run their operations or they will have to get creative themselves. For anyone who relies on talent to thrive, the sooner they figure out the right equilibrium for their employees, the sooner they’ll be able to introduce stability in their business – and eventually the larger economy of talent.
Here are some ways employers are making low-risk changes to their business model that are yielding surprising results.
The Four-Day Workweek is Here, Don’t be a Late Adopter
Headline after headline is touting the benefits of a four-day workweek for employees, but how could a business cut an entire day of labor out of the equation and remain productive and profitable? It turns out, companies that adopt a four-day workweek largely report higher productivity and profitability, and most companies that try the new model stick with it. It’s been a huge success for Richmond digital marketing agency, Xponent21 (Xponent21 is the owner of RichmondHires.com), which rolled out a 4-day workweek in February of 2020 and saw productivity increase immediately. CNN recently reported on the insights of a global study and the results were quite shocking.
Even an RVA restaurant, The Cocky Rooster, moved to a 3.5-day workweek based on an article the owner read about a Chic-Fil-A that had success with it in Florida. Another Richmond team that saw success in a 2022 4-day workweek pilot is Colab, with CEO Morgan Witham choosing to adopt the model permanently this December.
Back-to-Work, Work-from-Home, or Hybrid? Let Them Choose!
As the old saying goes, “no matter what you do, you can’t please everyone.” The same is true for employers looking for the best physical working place for employees. Shocker: it’s different for everyone. Some may prefer a traditional office setting, others crave flexibility with work-from-home days, and still, more would rather split their time between the two. The key for employers is to provide options that give employees as much control over their work environment as possible.
Companies such as Capital One, Carmax, and Dominion Energy offer hybrid working models that allow employees to work from the office or their homes – depending on what works best for them. Smaller Richmond employers like Atlantic Union Bank, The Martin Agency, and SimpliSafe have also been having success with a hybrid working model.
Workflow Management Systems Improve Productivity and Employee Satisfaction
Workflow management systems like Asana cut out a lot of the mundane responsibilities that historically fall on workers: repetitive tasks that don’t really take a brain and that with today’s technology should be automated anyway. Cutting out the boring stuff makes more time for creativity and problem-solving – something human brains are really good at, but that machines are not. Workflow management systems have the added benefit of data insights and logging around tasks completed for total visibility into the productivity of teams.
Build Flexibility into the Work Model and Improve Retention
Because everyone’s needs are different, having flexible benefits is a great way to ensure your employees’ needs are met and that they remain loyal to your company. There are a lot of ways to offer flexible benefits but the more personalized, the more costly they are to administer. Richmond start-up Fringe is onto a solution with its flexible benefits platform. Customers report 50% less turnover than their competitors who do not use Fringe – a massive boost in retention.
Other ways to introduce flexibility include flexible working hours that allow employees to tend to life matters when most people are working – in exchange for the time made up in the evening hours or on a day off. Trusting employees to be responsible for their work is part of the dance. No one wants a manager breathing down their neck over a series of doctor’s appointments for a sick family.
Let Your Employees Invest in Your Company’s Stock to Make Them Stakeholders
When employees own a piece of the company they work for, their interests and those of the business become one and the same. This can be incredibly beneficial to both parties. It allows employers to reward employees with material gains while also providing personal financial security during times when the company is doing well. This type of meaningful ownership makes employees feel valued and incentivizes their productivity, which can provide a huge boost to the business in the long run.
Overall, it’s important for Richmond businesses looking to succeed in an ever-tightening labor market to make sure they are competing with other employers on more than just salary. With remote work opportunities on the rise, they aren’t just competing with Richmond employers and they aren’t competing for talent just in Richmond anymore either.
It’s essential for Richmond employers to offer flexible working solutions and benefits that are tailored to their employees’ needs. By giving workers a sense of ownership in the company, providing thoughtful workflow management systems, and offering flexibility with hours and remote work options, businesses can ensure they have happy and productive staff who feel valued by their employer. This will give them an edge over other local companies that are slower to change as well as those from further away who are successfully poaching talent from the area. With these strategies in place, Richmond businesses should be able to compete successfully in the tight labor market and continue to drive growth in talent development in our region for years to come.