The Next Trend in Employment – Retaining Workers in a Tight Labor Market

Express Employment Professionals today released a new analysis of the labor market, focused on the growing challenge of retaining good employees as the labor market tightens. Express has identified three actions employers are increasingly taking to improve employee retention.

Oklahoma City, OK (PRWEB) July 08, 2015 - Express Employment Professionals today released a new analysis of the labor market, focused on the growing challenge of retaining good employees as the labor market tightens.

As the unemployment rate declines, workers are increasingly willing to change jobs for pay increases or better benefits. In many cases, this is because the demand for skilled labor is increasing, while the supply is not. “We’ve been seeing musical chairs in the local community,” said Mike Nolfo, an Express franchise owner in Parsippany, New Jersey.

Based on interviews with Express franchise owners in regions across the country, Express has identified three actions employers are increasingly taking to improve employee retention.

1. Raising Pay

“It’s a wage war right now,” said Jeff Rey, Express franchise owner in Howell, Michigan. “Even small increases in wages can be enough to entice employees to change jobs if they don’t feel invested in their current companies.”

As such, employers are more frequently evaluating their pay rates in comparison to their competition and prevailing wages in their communities. Those who aren’t re-evaluating are more likely to lose skilled employees.

“Overall, wages are increasing for both recruiting and retention reasons,” said Dave Kehlor, Express franchise owner in Indianapolis. “There is a shallow pool of quality unemployed workers available to meet the high demand for people. So employers are trying to attract workers who are already employed through higher pay rates.”

2. Recognizing Generational Differences

Compared to older generations, Millennials are more willing to change jobs frequently and to leave a job after a brief period of employment.

That is due in part to the increasing burden of student loans. “Millennials are chasing money due to high college loans,” Kehlor said.

But that’s not the whole story.

Employers who recognize that Millennials and Baby Boomers often value different things in the workplace are more likely to be successful at employee retention. “However, most managers are 40-plus years old and they are not in tune with the Millennials,” Kehlor said. “It's critical to keep Millennials engaged with what is going on in the company.”

For Millennials, “The grass is always greener,” Nolfo said.

Whereas previous generations were more likely to remain loyal to an employer, Millennials are less likely to feel that sense of loyalty. Team building, effective communication, and providing a sense of direction are all key components to earning the loyalty of the younger generation.

3. Building Relationships with Employees – and Training Them to Move Up

Janis Petrini, a franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan, explains that not all benefits are tangible.

“Retention has to do with the company’s responsibility of providing a strong culture and high engagement for their employees - that they have an excellent talent strategy for each one of their employees,” she said. “A lot of issues could be resolved by examining the culture. Money is not the only reason people leave. Workers are leaving because they’re not feeling engaged.”

“Retaining employees means thinking about more than their financial needs. It means allowing for a good work-life balance, a positive company culture and opportunities for personal growth, Nolfo said.

When employees join a company, managers should take the time to discuss their long-term opportunities for growth and advancement. Successful companies give employees frequent chances to voice frustrations, share concerns, and receive feedback.

Weekly one-on-one meetings, when possible, can make a significant difference.

Employers who invest in training their employees to improve their skills also report better retention. While employers may see training as an investment in the company, employees also recognize that the company is investing in them.

Mentoring plays a similar role. “A really robust mentoring program is a great opportunity,” Petrini said. “If you have a connection and you’re being mentored, you’re less likely to leave that relationship.”

When employees see their jobs as relationships, they’re less likely to leave without a second thought.

“It is indeed becoming a workers’ market,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Employers who don’t recognize this and take the necessary steps to improve employee retention are going to find themselves losing workers to greener pastures.

“It’s absolutely essential to know if you’re offering competitive pay. Likewise, you have to recognize that not all employees approach the workplace in the same way, so take the time to understand their needs and priorities. If you invest in them and their well-being, I can guarantee, more often than not, you will get a return on that investment.”

If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bob Funk to discuss this topic, please contact Sherry Kast at (405) 717-5966.

About Robert A. Funk

Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has 725 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than five million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.

About Express Employment Professionals

Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $2.85 billion in sales and employed more than 456,000 people in 2014. Express ranks as the largest franchised staffing company and second largest privately held staffing company in the United States. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually.

SOURCE Express Employment Professionals


Sherry Kast
Express Employment Professionals
+1 (405) 717-5966


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