9.1% Unemployment & Open Positions?

On Friday the Labor Department reported that America’s unemployment rate held steady at 9.1%, resulting in 0% job growth for the month of August. Yet for the same month, employers also reported a sharp increase in difficulty recruiting for open positions (SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment).

How is it that companies can’t find the talent they need when so many people are looking for work? The answer lies in what economists refer to as “structural discord in the labor market." Plainly put, the competencies of our current workforce do not match what organizations need to stay competitive in the new economy.

When the economy actually improves, companies will have an even harder time attracting and retaining key employees, especially those from younger generations who view their employers with a consumer mindset. As a result, many organizations are starting to define and strategically position themselves specifically for the talent they want to hire and keep. Often referred to as Employee Value Proposition, the perceived rewards and benefits employees get in exchange for performance is becoming a selling point and key business strategy for companies wanting to stay ahead of looming talent shortages.

Don’t let the unemployment statistics fool you. It will continue to be difficult to find good talent. Are you prepared? Do you know how to define and market your Employee Value Proposition?

- Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group

Eldercare Issues in the Workplace

As more and more Baby Boomers struggle to balance full-time employment and the emotional and financial demands of caring for aging parents, the cost to employers is rising. According to MetLife, the average employee caregiver costs his or her employer $2100 per year in absenteeism, lost productivity and increased healthcare costs. That’s a total loss of $33 billion per year to U.S. businesses.

Unfortunately, the situation is predicted to get worse in the coming years. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services report that the segment of the population most likely to need care (those over 85) is increasing rapidly, from 35 million today to 70 million in 2030. How will employers cope with the disruptions and costs of a growing workforce of employee caregivers? Here are some of the many innovative “eldercare friendly” policies and practices that companies are adopting to address the issue:
  • Flexible work arrangements including telecommuting, compressed work weeks and job sharing
  • Leave-sharing that allows employees to donate a portion of their leave time to others who have eldercare responsibilities
  • Caregiver Employee Resource Groups that enable employees to share resources and emotional support
  • Dependent Care Spending Accounts permitting employees to pay for adult daycare expenses with pre-tax dollars
  • Consultation on eldercare services and counseling on hospice and palliative care
Addressing issues of eldercare is a business imperative. Organizations that respond to employee needs will be rewarded with loyalty, engagement and productivity. Those that force employees to choose between caring for a loved one and devoting themselves to work will sacrifice both their bottom line and their ability to attract top talent in the future.

For more information and tips on recruiting, engaging and managing the different generations in your workplace, contact us at www.interchange-group.com.