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How Employers Are Responding To Challenges Created By Labor Shortage: New Survey
From:
Edward Segal, Crisis Management Expert Edward Segal, Crisis Management Expert
Washington, DC
Friday, September 16, 2022

 

Commentary From Crisis Management Expert Edward Segal, Bestselling Author of the Award- Winning Book "Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, and Other Emergencies" (Nicholas Brealey)

The current shortage of workers in North America has forced employers to look for the most effective ways to recruit and retain workers. Recent news  that the number of job openings in the U.S. fell to 10.7 million — down from an estimated 11 million in June—while encouraging, does not mean that the labor crisis will end anytime soon.

"Reasons abound for why workers aren't rushing back to the labor market," according to Business Insider. "Public health concerns continue to fuel caution, especially with monkeypox cases soaring in several cities. Child care costs have sidelined many working parents, and the end of the school year only intensified those pressures in June. Record-high gas prices could've kept some unemployed Americans from seeking work as well."

A new survey by WTW, a global advisory and solutions company, shows how companies have responded to the challenges posed by the current labor market.

The WTW 2022 Mid-year Compensation Survey found that about two-thirds of employees have problems hiring and keeping employees, especially those with digital skills and professional employees. And 61% are challenged in hiring and retaining hourly workers.

To help overcome these obstacles, the survey found employers in North America are taking the following steps:

  • 86% are hiring employees at the higher end of salary ranges.
  • 84% are increasing flexibility in where employees work (e.g., home versus office) and how they work.
  • 81% are offering sign-on bonuses to attract talent.
  • 65% are using retention bonuses to keep employees.
  • 55% are increasing training opportunities.

WTW's survey of 884 organizations in North America was conducted between May 23 and June 16, 2022. The margin of error was 3%.

 

Advice For Business Leaders

Consider Outcomes And Implications

"My advice to business leaders is to consider both the outcomes and long-term implications of today's compensation actions; particularly, those actions that may have led to salary compression or equity issues," Catherine Hartmann, global practice leader for work, rewards and careers at WTW said via email.

Assess Impact Of Salary Decisions

"Ensure that you assess how the immediate and reactionary compensation decisions of the past year—matching competitive offers, starting salaries at the high ends of the pay range, fast-tracking promotions—have impacted pay relative to years of service, gender, ethnicity, etc. and address any gaps head-on," she observed.

Double Down On Compensation Programs

"If needed, double down on defining and/or designing your compensation programs in a purposeful way…". That means "establishing clear objectives for each pay element, focusing on robust pay governance, and providing clarity on how your compensation strategy fits within the broader total rewards (e.g., compensation, benefits, recognition, wellbeing, careers, etc.)," Hartmann advised.

'Recommit To Your Employees'

"Further, recommit to your employees. Take this moment to refine, reboot, and reshape your employee value proposition by bringing together all elements of what you offer to employees."

This includes areas that are often overlooked "like career enablement, skill development, work experiences, leadership opportunities, mentoring, coaching and training, commitment to wellbeing and belonging" that can drive a culture where employees have a rewarding experience while doing their best work," she concluded.

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Edward Segal is a crisis management expert, consultant and the bestselling author of the award-winning Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, and Other Emergencies (Nicholas Brealey). Order the book at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0827JK83Q/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Segal is a Leadership Strategy Senior Contributor for Forbes.com where he covers crisis-related news, topics and issues. Read his recent articles at https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/?sh=3c1da3e568c5.

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