“It’s a nightmare,” says the chief operating officer of a popular restaurant with a large menu. The exasperation crept in through our 8am Zoom call. “I’m dealing with restaurants that I have to close because we don’t have enough staff.
Many industries are feeling the pain of The Great Resignation, but people working in traditionally office-less jobs (such as catering services and concert workers) consistently top the resignations rankings. About 750,000 leisure and hospitality workers give up each month, according to this year’s report Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Which give? When asked this question, most will say they need to be paid more, which makes sense. The rising costs are catastrophic in America today. Workers must now earn $ 42 an hour to spend the recommended quarter of their income on an average one-bedroom apartment (as of June 2021, this amount was $ 1,711). Meanwhile, the average hourly wage of restaurant workers is $ 11.52.
Raising wages is a critical piece of the puzzle, but beyond that it boils down to the fact that most companies can’t afford to go from an hourly wage of $ 11.52 to $ 42 an hour. so we need to dig deeper to deliver value to employees.
The hourly workers’ benefits gap
It is clear that companies whose workforce is paid heavily by the hour do not understand the day-to-day problems that their employees face. This discrepancy can be attributed to a number of causes, including the fact that those responsible for choosing advantages are generally wage earners, while those who desperately need them are not traditionally. To avoid staff hemorrhaging, companies must come up with new benefits that cater to hourly workers where they are.
After personally meeting a few workers and employers grappling with the modern workplace landscape, I noticed a few key themes in what these workers were going through.
Income volatility is a growing concern
Alison, an office worker, delivers burritos through one of the large mobile apps while I ride with her. If you are looking to understand user needs, observation is often the fastest way.
“One of my daughters [at the restaurant] convinced me to try the app, ”she laughs. “I tried and I quit [the restaurant] the next day. What I like is that when I make a delivery it shows me how much I earned, like, right away. It’s really motivating.
At the quick and casual burrito, with her schedule so changeable, sometimes Alison would take home $ 800, other times just $ 500. As a result, she found it difficult to plan her finances and often did not have enough money to pay her bills. This problem, known as income volatility, disproportionately affects hourly workers. Not knowing how much money you are going to have and whether that will be enough to make ends meet is incredibly stressful.
Research shows that allowing employees to see the salaries they’ve earned in real time increases both employee engagement and retention, as it gives them a sense of certainty and control over their finances. Employers can provide these modern financial solutions without changing payroll or time and attendance.
Pay on demand
“I lost a lot of people because of them [the on-demand apps]. “Mark, a former manager of a fast-casual establishment, tells me about the applications of the gig economy.” The ‘work today-get paid today’ aspect was hard to compete with. I kept going. no say [the team at] company, we had to do something about it. Basically, delivery apps not only show drivers what they’re doing in real time, but they also allow drivers to cash in instantly.
Hourly workers and those without the flexibility to access earned wages are often forced to resort to predatory creditors like payday lenders to make ends meet between pay cycles. A single payday loan of $ 350 ends up costing $ 575 on average, according to Pew Trusts. It is a regressive tax that hits hourly workers the hardest.
By working with one of the many third-party earned wage access providers, management can help workers alleviate cash flow issues and avoid sky-high fees without changing payroll.
Predictable hours as an advantage
“If you’re in the kitchen, you get decently paid, but your work schedules are never set in stone,” cookery graduate Matt tells me over a text message. We connected through my research process. Matt has a background in culinary arts, but is also a sergeant in the Army National Guard infantry. “You can’t make plans. You can’t look forward to free time. [Each morning,] I would wake up anxious if someone called me. You can’t have a life.
Matt often threatened to quit because of his unpredictable schedule, but cooks with leadership skills are hard to come by, so management gave him raises to keep him going. “I was getting paid, but it got to a point where it wasn’t about it anymore,” he says. “I needed a life. Now he is an apprentice for the carpenters union. In particular, he now has fixed hours.
The value of consistent schedules with guaranteed minimum and maximum hours cannot be overstated. It may seem like a difficult task, but modern workforce management software makes it easier to determine how many people to hire and retain to effectively meet requirements.
The advantages sought by a modern workforce
The truth is, the benefit system we currently have in place is no longer serving us. This shouldn’t be surprising. Most aspects of the way we work have changed since then. We need a new benefit system that supports our modern workforce, which includes gig workers, deskless workers, remote staff and everything in between. When employers look to rehire, they must look for ways to support and add value to their staff, or risk losing employees to those who are.
Employers can start by researching their own workforce. For example, what specific problems do workers face? Which of these problems can the employer help alleviate? Companies responding to employee satisfaction, like TalentKeepers or People Element, can help get to the root of what employees really need and provide employers with information they can take action on. Now more than ever, employees are expressing what they need from their employers. In order to replenish our workforce better than it used to be, employers must commit to listening.
Jon Schlossberg is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Even, a financial benefits platform for hourly workers offered by employers like Walmart, Compass Group, PayPal and Humana.