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How to Hire and Retain Employees in a Tight Labor Market

By Brink's

20 Sep 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked seismic shifts in the ways we live, interact with people, and work. Stores, restaurants, and other businesses are adapting to new cultural norms, including finding and retaining new, high-value employees.  Since early 2021, there’s been a mass exodus of workers voluntarily leaving jobs, and finding replacements has been tough for many. In April of this year, there were a whopping 11.4 million job openings1, and as of May, the Bureau reported the U.S. unemployment rate was at just 3.6 percent.2  

Here are some simple ways to stand out to potential employees, simplify employees’ duties, and retain staff.

Prioritize safety

In light of the pandemic, offering paid sick leave can make employees feel cared for should they come down with an illness. If you can’t offer that, assure them that they won’t be penalized or lose their jobs should they become sick. 

While most states no longer have mask mandates in place, you may still want to give employees the option to wear a mask at work if it makes them feel more comfortable. If your store requires masks, make sure you prominently display signs stating that, and have a backup plan in place for employees if customers become unruly about wearing a mask. You may also want to establish cleaning protocols and have supplies like hand sanitizer readily available. 

Spend more time onboarding, asking for employee feedback

First impressions are everything, especially to employees who are starting new jobs and evaluating their new companies. To help create a smooth onboarding process for new hires, the Human Resources team at Brink’s has updated training and onboarding materials. Brink’s focuses on communicating with new hires regularly to see how they’re doing, taking their feedback into consideration. 

“We’re checking in with new hires, asking them to complete surveys to see how onboarding went, if the job they’re in is what they expected, how things are going, and what we could be doing better,” said Rob Hess, Vice President of Human Resources—Field, at Brink’s. “The more enjoyable, consistent, and productive those early days are for employees, it builds a stronger relationship between the company and employees. From a retention standpoint, we’re doing everything we can to understand those early days.”

Offer flexibility

An ongoing debate in the workforce revolves around whether it’s best for employees to work in a corporate office, remotely at home, or a hybrid schedule that combines remote and in-office work. For some roles, remote work isn’t an option: grocery store cashiers and truck drivers, for example, can’t exactly work from home. 

Some companies are asking employees to come into an office a minimum number of days a week, while others are letting employees work from home full-time. At Brink’s, it depends on the specific role and department, and managers decide what makes the most sense for their teams. “Different needs have to be balanced, and we want to find the right fits for different departments and different roles,” said Hess. 

Create open lines of internal communication

From calling to texting, emailing, and more, there are all kinds of ways to connect with people these days. Giving employees more options to communicate shows you’re open to what works best for them, because you want them to do their best work for you. After all, employees are likely to feel more valued when they believe their managers are easily available. 

Consider having one dedicated phone number just for employee texts or calls for emergencies, late arrivals, work concerns, etc. Having Google Voice or a dual SIM phone allow you to have two numbers on a single phone, and Google Voice also connects phone to a PC. Additionally, you could create a shared Google sheet only accessible to employees where they can share work ideas, updates, swap shifts, etc. 

Provide perks

Depending on the size of your business, offering retirement plans, health insurance and other benefits simply may not be economically feasible. But there are lower-cost ways to make your business stand out to potential employees. Assuming you’re already paying a competitive wage, common perks include offering discounts on the products or services you sell, or discounts you receive from business partners you can pass on; keeping coffee, water, and snacks available, or providing a weekly meal; and giving a one-time sign-on bonus—contingent upon staying for a set amount of time, like at least six months.

Brink’s held several events this past spring to celebrate employees who were returning to the office. “We had food, fun activities and a number of ways to celebrate employees coming back to the office,” said Hess. “We held Brink’s-branded giveaways, trivia contests and scavenger hunts, with prizes like backpacks for laptops. Not only was it fun for the company, but employees appreciated it too.”

Leverage new technology  

There’s no question that technological advances are helping employees become more efficient, while cutting down on tedious or repetitive tasks, and keeping employee safety in mind. One example is restaurants using QR codes to direct customers to online menus for ordering, eliminating the task of cleaning menus over and over.

Another challenge many staff members can relate to is the handling, counting, and administrative responsibilities of managing cash, which can be tedious. But with the right technology, these tasks can be simplified. Employees at all levels appreciate the convenience, efficiency, and security that comes with the digital cash management solution, Brink’s Complete, for example. 

It’s a simple, cost-effective solution that reduces the hassles of managing cash and lets employees drop cash into an in-store smart safe. Once integrated into your business, Brink’s Complete gives you and your employees more time to focus on customers instead of handling cash. Here are some highlights: 

  • Cash can be registered and dropped into the smart safe by the hour, shift, or any time of day.
  • There’s no need for employees to make bank trips to drop off bank deposits, which helps minimize safety risks and keeps them in-store, serving customers.
  • As soon as you place cash into the on-site smart safe and the device registers the same, you receive Automatic Clearing House (ACH) credit for the cash within one business day to the bank account of your choice.
  • Brink’s employees discreetly pick up your cash on a regular basis, meaning no interaction is needed with your employees.
  • Cash dropped into the smart safe is digitally recorded, and no ledgers, bank deposit slips, or paperwork are required.
  • You’ll have fewer worries about employee cash mismanagement or theft.
  • Once cash is inside the smart safe, it’s insured by Brink’s.

Additionally, Brink’s Complete shows you the status of your cash, available cash reserves, and data-driven insights you can use to grow your business—all of which are available on our 24SEVEN app, accessible on most mobile devices or computers. Learn more about how Brink’s Complete can help you transform cash management for your business. 

[1] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
[2] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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