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Flash Story:

People Want to Work, Just Not for You: How to Entice People to Work for Your Company and Make Them Stay Around

People Want to Work, Just Not for You: How to Entice People to Work for Your Company and Make Them Stay Around

Written by:
Colton Schlotman
Digital Communications Specialist
schlotman@agma.org

Last time, we talked about training and upskilling your workers in order to attract them and retain them. Today we’ll be discussing the uncomfortable, the unsaid, the bottom line: pay and benefits.

There’s a sentiment floating around that “people just don’t want to work nowadays,” that workers are just too lazy, that they’d rather live on welfare. While there may be a grain of truth in there somewhere, it ignores the hard truth: people want to buy homes and cars, start families, pursue passions, and more. To do that, they need to work. But they don’t want to work for dead-end jobs where they feel disrespected, won’t get living wages, raises, paid time-off, insurance, retirement benefits, work-life balance, etc., etc. That’s not me saying that; that’s what workers who quit are reporting. The non-partisan Pew Research Center surveyed workers that quit their jobs in 2021, asking for the major and minor reasons why they quit. Those surveyed were able to select any number of options that applied to their situations. Here are net percentages of their responses:

  • 63% – Pay was too low.
  • 63% – No advancement opportunities.
  • 57% – Felt disrespected at work.
  • 48% – Childcare issues.
  • 47% – Not enough flexibility to choose when to put in hours.
  • 43% – Benefits weren’t good enough.
  • 39% – Working too many hours.
  • 35% – Wanted to relocate to a different area.
  • 30% – Working too few hours.
  • 18% – Employer required COVID-19 vaccine.

As you can see, all but three of these responses (childcare, relocation, COVID vaccine) are tied directly to the employee compensation and benefits (for exact major/minor reason percentage distribution, click the Pew Survey link above). And just under 1/3 of respondents said they wanted to work more.

Naturally, not all these reasons will apply in any given situation. The manufacturing industry and skilled trades work usually have high wages relative to other industries. However, these fields are notorious for long hours, required overtime, and strict scheduling, all of which are directly related to reasons why people quit.

I won’t pretend to know how to fix the problem of a high turnover rate. Every business has many, many factors to consider when it comes to how it compensates its workers. If you’re having trouble attracting workers or keeping them around, though, it’s worth it to see why that job goes unfilled or why workers are leaving and start changing some things. Better compensation, benefits, and flexibility (or some combination of the three) will attract more workers and make the workers you already have want to stick around. The data on that is crystal clear.

Speaking of flexibility…