HR managers: the workforce shortage is your crucible moment. “Now Hiring” signs are everywhere. 9 Million jobs were open in July 2021 and companies are doing whatever it takes to find employees. If you are hiring, you know this problem intimately. It is not uncommon to see a place like Wendy’s offering $22/hour or a warehouse job with $500 sign-on bonuses.
I have been spending a lot of time at manufacturing and logistics companies in rural areas. If you ask them, finding people to fill jobs is the #1 problem. Businesses of all types are struggling to fill all of the open jobs. WHY companies can’t fill jobs is complicated. In a recent report about the workforce shortage, Emsi coined the term “Sansdemic” meaning ‘no people’. The full report is worth reading and it can explain why it has been such a nightmare to fill open jobs and reduce employee turnover. The Emri report is also going to help you realize that the workforce shortage is not because of COVID and it’s not going away anytime soon. HR managers have an opportunity to lead the workforce transformation and after reading a few paragraphs, I hope you will start to consider 3 things:
- Where do your prospective employees live?
- What are the commuting options?
- How much do employees spend getting to work?
The robots are not coming for your job. Instead of eliminating jobs, technology and software have produced more jobs. These are jobs that can not be virtual and many of those jobs require physical presence. Automation actually creates bigger and better jobs. It definitely creates big buildings with a lot of jobs inside. Consider Amazon, one of the most advanced technology companies on the planet. Amazon’s growth is dependent on people and they compete with Wal-Mart on share of workforce more than share of wallet. Look at a distribution center or manufacturing site on a population density map and it is clear no local workforce is available to fill the jobs.
The solution is that you have to go to where the prospective employees live. HR managers can do this by considering the annual earnings of the positions and finding neighborhoods with matching household incomes as well as high unemployment. Because of the workforce shortage, employers have had to go even further to find employees and it results in an awful and expensive commute. When hourly employees cross a county line to reach work, they will likely spend upwards of 30% of their annual income on transportation. Instead of commuting as a burden, employers can make it an advantage. By offering transportation for employees, companies can improve the reliability of their workforce while taking away the largest employment-related expense. When you know where your prospective employees live, you can make more informed plans for recruiting and retention.
People love options. When it comes to commuting, most companies just default to “you need a car”. Transportation questions are in the legal danger zone for HR and hiring managers. Employers can not ask if applicants have a car because it could be considered financial discrimination. “Do you have reliable transportation?” is the generally accepted transportation question. But if you are being honest, you know this is still discrimination because ‘No’ is not an acceptable answer. No car means no job, so everyone just says ‘Yes’. Even worse, employees don’t realize how much the employee will spend on transportation when they take a new job.
Driving Miles X $0.55 = Total cost of commute.
Have you done the math for your employees?
Up to $270/month can be paid pre-tax for qualified commuting services like SHARE Mobility or the public bus. 85% of companies do not take advantage of this program because they do not offer a commuter benefits program. HR Managers can improve their recruiting efforts by being helpful with transportation. Transportation, like healthcare, just makes sense as an employee benefit. Take away the decision of “how to work” and give your employees a better commute.
Imagine what it must feel like to be an employee that has accepted a new job, but has no idea how they will get there. Stop the first day-no show. HR Managers can be the hero by just sharing commuting options. Start with the bus and consider if employees could use biking, walking, carpooling, scooters or multimodal trip planning to get to work. Think about how you and your company can support the needs of employees that are choosing an alternative commute. SHARE Mobility gets involved when there are no public transportation options. We create private transportation services for employers that can save employees $2,500 or more per year vs the cost of driving alone. The cost of our service is less than the cost of turnover.
If your company is ready to consider commuter benefits, we would like to show you how we use data to diagnose your transportation problems. We provide a commuter analysis at no cost to you. Learn more and talk to our team
BE THE MOBILITY LEADER FOR YOUR COMPANY
Does your company have a “Mobility Leader” or “Commuting Manager”? If you answer no and are reading this, IT IS YOU. Put up your hand right now and be the mobility leader that your company needs.