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Job vacancies loom; here's how to retain workers

This guest editorial was written by the Alexandria Echo Press, a Forum Communications Co. newspaper.

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Here’s some bleak news on the job front.

A new online survey shows that nearly six in 10 U.S. workers are concerned their paycheck is not enough to support themselves or their families as employees look to keep up with the rise of inflation.

The online survey was conducted by the American Staffing Association (ASA) Workforce Monitor.

When asked, 58% of employed U.S. adults expressed concern that their paycheck is not enough to support themselves or their families. This number was even higher for parents with children under 18 (66%).

According to the association, as the cost of living increases, workers are looking to change their circumstances. Twenty-eight percent of employed U.S. adults plan to search for a new job in the next six months, while 27% plan to start a second job to supplement their income and 20% plan to ask for a raise from their current employer.

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This should send a signal to employers, including those in northern Minnesota, that they should prepare for a few rough months ahead and focus on retaining the workers they have now.

“Workers are concerned about the effects of inflation, and they’re planning on taking action,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Employers need to provide competitive compensation and work flexibility, and invest in employees’ professional development, if they want to keep and recruit quality talent in this labor market.”

Employers should keep in mind that the time and cost of recruiting new employees has more downside than keeping their good workers.

Employers need to invest their time, money and focus on retaining staff, according to Ambrion, a Twin Cities-based recruiting firm. Nothing that money isn’t everything, it offers these strategies to help employee retention:

Check in with your best talent. It is easy to ignore your best employees to focus on the problems of the business, but losing sight of these individuals will quickly leave you at risk of losing your best talent. Top talent seeks to build and grow their careers. When is the last time you stepped aside to meet with the best talent on your team to ask them questions about what is challenging them and where they strive to be?

Consider adjusting your remote environment. If you work for a larger organization, you may not have the autonomy to change the corporate decision to mandate three days a week or more in office. However, what control do you have over your immediate team to allow for more flexibility? While you can not make your position 100% remote, can you manage most weeks on two days in office?

Attempt to mitigate burnout. 2022 has brought on a surge of awareness of mental health. Employees are feeling stressed and burnt out by the demands caused by COVID. Instead of a regular business meeting, check in on an employee’s wellness and how they are feeling. Make sure to listen, engage and seek to understand what challenges they face in their personal lives and in business and possibly wait on having conversations regarding the project that is due.

Employees want to be seen, heard and valued. While you may not be able to provide a 20-30% increase in compensation, you can provide the culture and support that someone might need. According to Harvard Business Review data, employee turnover costs range between 100% and 300% of the replaced employee’s salary. With about 23% of new hires turning over before their first year on the job, it means that now more than ever, hiring the wrong person can quickly become costly. Investing in your current team in this competitive hiring market might take some additional effort, but will pay off immensely.

Related Topics: BUSINESSJOBS
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This guest editorial was written by the Alexandria Echo Press, a Forum Communications Co. newspaper.