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Desperate staffing times call for creative measures

Monica Nieporte with captionBy Monica Nieporte, OMNA President and Executive Director

Are you having problems finding people to hire and retain staff?

You’re not alone – every industry is facing the challenge of hiring and retaining skilled staff. But there are some things you might be able to do to make the position you’re offering more attractive and to keep your existing employees happy where they are instead of out looking for greener pastures across town.

  1. First – Make an honest evaluation of what you’re offering as pay and how that compares in your market. Are you requiring a college degree and prior experience but paying less than what other businesses are offering to pay for unskilled labor?
  2. Second – Make an honest evaluation of what you’re offering to reimburse for mileage. If you’re paying 25-30 cents a mile and gas is $4.40 a gallon, you’re not really reimbursing much of anything there. Consider implementing a sliding scale rate that goes up or down based on that month’s average gas prices in your area.
  3. Are your PTO benefits generous and flexible? If you can’t pay that extra $2 an hour they are asking for but can offer 2 extra paid days off, that might mean something to your candidate and might result in the candidate choosing your offer over someone else’s. It can also take the sting out of having to turn down a request for a raise and keep a good employee from jumping ship.
  4. People got used to working remote. Is there an option for you to offer the position as a hybrid position – in office so many days per week and remote the others?
  5. Are there little perks you can offer your employees from time to time that send a message to them they are a valued member of your team? Recognizing birthdays, springing for lunch, tickets to a ballgame or other destination, rewarding someone with a gift card who went above and beyond, even having a “dress up for Halloween”, holiday party or spirit Friday where everyone is encouraged to rep their favorite team – these are all things that fell by the wayside during the pandemic but are things that employees value and miss. Bring them back. One of my favorite “spur of the moment” events at my former paper was when we had a picnic on the front lawn during a solar eclipse. Get creative. Ask your team for ideas.

It is a job seeker’s market right now and we will have to adapt to that and be more creative to hire and retain reliable, qualified employees. Share your best ideas with us and we will share them in the bulletin.

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