An article published on the Inside Indiana Business website described five ways companies can rebuild their workforces and maximize success on the heels of pandemic induced labor shortages. You can read the full article here: https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/articles/five-ways-companies-can-win-the-war-for-talent-coming-out-of-the-pandemic

Labor shortages caused by the pandemic are a significant challenge for companies looking to meet rising customer demand. The article notes that “Today, there are approximately 4.6 million workers missing from the labor force due to employer shutdowns or cutbacks driven by COVID-19, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

Businesses may expect an increase in available workers as those sidelined by COVID-19 begin to seek employment. Companies should begin to plan for this new style of work, which includes hybrid schedules, wage growth, training, and other critical priorities like workplace safety and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I).

The article sites the following five steps that companies can take as they rebuild their workforces:

Listen to the Needs of Your Talent. The pandemic has permanently shifted how we prefer to work and which benefits we find most important. According to a Morning Consult survey, 39% of workers, and half (49%) of Millennial and Gen Z employees, would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. Likewise, workers are demanding more from their employers and the facilities they work in with respect to worker safety, health, and well-being.”

“Employers should engage employees at all levels in return-to-work policies and decisions – so approaches are rooted in their preferences. Key areas to consider include more flexible working policies, enhanced benefits for working parents and caregivers, extended paid leave, and safeguards to ensure work-life balance.”

Prioritize Skills Assessments and Trainings. BofA Global Research estimates that approximately 700,000 workers left the labor force due to a skills mismatch. Combined with record disruption driven by the pandemic, reskilling and upskilling the workforce is paramount.”

“Employers should assess how an employee’s job may have changed during the pandemic and then invest in ongoing training for employees to boost learning and address expertise gaps. Companies today have a critical opportunity to use the best of corporate America’s resources to equip workers with the skills, technologies, and mindsets to succeed.”

Keep Pace with Wage Growth. A smaller pool of workers combined with strong labor demand is fueling wage growth, and the greatest wage lifts are being seen in roles that experienced the highest demand during the pandemic. Average annual salaries stood at $50,150 in April 2021, up from a low of $47,400 last year, according to Revelio Labs.”             

“In today’s war for talent, employers must ensure their wages are competitive and in line with a growing economy. Important steps include conducting regular industry benchmarking, reviewing benefits and salary growth plans, and performing company-wide audits to uncover and address pay inequities.”

Support Financial (and Overall) Wellness. According to Bank of America’s latest Workplace Benefits Report, 62% of employers feel “extreme responsibility” for employees’ financial wellness, up from 13% in 2013. Still, only 49% of employees say they feel financially well today, down from 61% two years ago.”

“In a post-pandemic environment, employers must reimagine approaches to financial wellness. To start, ensure any program addresses common employee challenges that go beyond retirement, such as rebuilding savings, emergency funds and healthcare costs. Acknowledge that needs may differ based on gender and age, and think about wellness more holistically, recognizing the interconnected nature of financial, physical, and mental wellness.”

Champion Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) – The pandemic and racial injustice movements have brought DE&I awareness to an all-time high. Employers agree that offering meaningful DE&I programs is critical to attract and retain talent. Studies have also shown that a more diverse workforce leads to better financial performance.”

Companies should consider putting these practices into place to be competitive in the war for talent and ensure they have a talented, diverse, and productive workforce.

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