What are you doing to keep your workers in this tight labor market?

Companies are getting creative when it comes to keeping their workers.  In the “old days” of recruiting everyone worked 6 days a week, 60 – 70 hours and often didn’t have benefits.  I’ve seen the trends change to attract workers but not like we are seeing now.

Yum! Brands, for example, recently expanded its parental leave policy for birth mothers to 18 weeks at full pay, including six weeks of “baby bonding time.” The new policy also allows birth fathers, partners, adoptive and foster parents to take six weeks at full pay. Noodles & Company also offers parental leave, adoption assistance and breast milk shipment during business travel. In 2019, Noodles plans to roll out a phase-out/phase-in maternity plan for expecting and postpartum mothers.

Mentorship is the focus of McDonald’s new career advising campaign called “Where You Want To Be.” The company is pairing restaurant employees with experts in their desired future career fields, as well as with owner/operators for shadowing experiences. Also, restaurant employees now have access to free career and academic advising services to create a plan to achieve their educational goals.

Jersey Mike’s is also banking on a mentorship program to help cultivate a strong company culture. The STAY (sweat, tears and years) program, started in 2016, provides an opportunity for franchisees to mentor managers with a goal of shared ownership in a Jersey Mike’s franchise.

Jersey Mike’s turnover rate is lower than the industry average because of its focus on mentorship and its culture overall.

“We’re not treating employees as a commodity. Once you have a great culture, people want to be a part of that,” he said. “We’re not trying to reinvent anything, we’re just continuing what we’ve always done.”

“We just try to keep our focus on recruiting the best of the best. Employees just want someone to respect them, compensate them, respect their time and try to teach them new things,” Hoyt said. “As long as we stick with the fundamentals, we’ll be successful. It’s not about a silver bullet. It’s just about creating a great culture – not only employees but also customers are attracted to that.”

It’s been pretty amazing to watch companies try to “top” each other with unique benefits and offerings.  It’s not just about money any longer.  Quality of life and “culture” seem to be the dominating important issues to employees.  With such low unemployment rates today, it’s a “candidate’s market” when it comes to job selection.  It’s no longer all about what a company WANTS in an employee, it’s now but about what a company OFFERS an employee to entice them to work for them.  The days of working long hours with no benefits, long interview processes and tight job requirements are gone.  In today’s market, companies that don’t realize what innovative programs their competitors are offering will never been able to compete for Top Talent.

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