Winning in the job market

After working in the Central Ohio community for nearly 50 years, people often ask, “How has the job market changed?” On one hand, the answer is, not much. On the other hand, it has changed a lot.

The great resignation, combined with the labor shortage, has created a challenge for businesses of all sizes. Some experts say this has changed the job market significantly. At Atlas Butler, we believe that today’s challenges point to what we should have been prioritizing all along — our people. In fact, Cameron Mitchell’s approach, “The answer is YES, what’s the question?” is right on target, and one we use not only for customers but our team members, as well.

We’ve always focused on employees’ needs, but now more than ever we are cognizant of what it truly means to succeed in a competitive hiring market. Our employee-first approach has led to an 18 percent turnover decrease in the past three years, with the average employee staying for nearly six years, triple the industry average. Here’s how to focus on your employees to reduce turnover and create a positive company culture.

Compensation matters

Identify the best ways to compensate people. The key element is how you define compensation. What was good compensation in the 1960s and 1970s has changed dramatically. Decades ago, workers were concerned about their take-home pay to support themselves and their families. I remember my brother putting his paycheck in the kitchen window because he was proud that the net amount was over $100 — even though he had worked more than 90 hours that week at $1.25 an hour. Today, inflation and the rising cost of goods make the bottom line matter. But, workers are considering other elements of compensation, as well. Today’s compensation packages include a variety of items. Work environment, hours worked, location, days worked, days off, etc., all add up. Atmosphere is also important. Does it feel good to go to work? Whether that is in someone’s home, at your office, on-site working for a customer or even in a car, they all count. And if you are not considering all of them, a competitor or another industry is.

Show employees they matter

In addition to perks, appreciation is one of the most important factors for employees today. One study found that 66 percent say they would likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated. Among millennials, this number jumps to 76 percent. Showing employees they matter and that they are not just a cog in the machine goes a long way.

Sometimes a simple thank you works, but appreciation today is tied more to instant feedback and gratification. Today’s employees have been playing video games all their lives and have other learning experiences that provide instant feedback, and they expect this on the job, as well.

I did not grow up with today’s technology, but I watch my 2-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter watch videos and play games to learn how to more effectively work with people. There is nothing wrong with how they are learning. Their expectations are just much faster than what we grew up with. If we do not create work environments that people enjoy, and continue to improve our communication skills, we are effectively telling people to look for another job because we don’t care.

As business leaders, we do care. But it is up to us to show that we do. Our actions, words and timing go a long way. Ask yourself, “What have I done recently to put my employees first?” If you cannot quickly answer, you need to immediately adjust. ●

Mark Swepston is owner and CEO of Atlas Butler Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

Mark Swepston

Owner and CEO
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