Where Are the Workers? Asked and...Answered.

Let's visit about the Labor Shortage.  A couple of weeks ago I was at an event organized by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. It is one Now Hiring of the largest business groups in the nation. The breakfast was designed to outline their legislative wish list for 2022.

During the Q & A session one business person asked this: “Everywhere you look there are businesses looking for workers but they are not there.  Where have these workers…gone?”

Well, the answer is complex but let’s take a shot but I can tell you it all starts with...money.

An MIT and CNBC analysis earlier this year found that even a $15 minimum wage wouldn't be a living wage for many families. Anecdotally, businesses paying higher wages haven't struggled as much with labor shortages and understaffing.

Show me the money…is what we’re hearing.

Man BoredThe love, hate your job issue is real. According to an Indeed survey of about 1,000 people who "voluntarily resigned from at least two jobs since March 2020," most of them (92%) said "the pandemic made them feel life is too short to stay in a job they weren't passionate about."

Flexibility is important:  One of the industries feeling the most pain is leisure and hospitality. Even if employers in that sector increase wages, they may have trouble finding workers because those jobs have to be done in person…and there isn’t much flexibility in scheduling.

According to one survey of 10,000 knowledge workers from Future Forum, workers want flexibility in both location and schedule.

Child care is an issue. First will the children be safe and secondly child care is so expensive that many parents have done the math and it makes more sense to stay home than  pay child care costs that may be more than their mortgage payment.

Fear of illness: As the pandemic stretches on…many workers just don’t want to chance getting sick. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that, in November, 1.2 million people didn't look for work because of the pandemic. In addition, some workers may be quitting or staying out of work because they're hesitant to get the vaccine, as more businesses put requirements in place.

Early Retirement: More workers have…also…retired early…we covered that moments ago…and now some may want to come back into the workforce…time will tell.

Immigration is also a root cause of the shortage: There are about 1.2 million adult foreign workers or work-eligible immigrants who are just not here because of the restrictions that have been imposed during the pandemic.

Job Disconnect: There is also a job disconnect between available workers and the jobs that are open. 48% of jobseekers surveyed by FlexJob said that they're frustrated with the job search, because they weren't finding the right positions — and the ones that are open pay too low.  Back to pay again.

Job burnout is another factor: Some workers are resigning because of burnout, putting added stress on employers and the remaining employees. Workers are taking on extra duties as companies struggle to fill positions, leading these workers to also feel burned out.

Technology is also to blame:  Qualified workers might be applying for roles that fit them, but hiring managers don't even know. Some Employment Application are getting filtered out by hiring software. As the Wall Street Journal first reported, a Harvard Business School study found that over 10 million workers are filtered out by hiring software.

Employers also filter out workers because of preexisting biases and inequities.

Roughly 70 million workers don't have a college degree, but are known as "STARS" — Skilled Through Alternative Routes. They account for two-thirds of American workers, but many may be filtered through educational requirements…that often really don’t match the real world job requirements.

Often felons are filtered out:  And there continues to be a big divide when it comes to white workers vs. black workers…with black unemployment still high.

Entrepreneurship:  Finally…people are done working for others and want to become their own boss.   According to Bloomberg's reporting on business applications from the Census Bureau, there have been a record number of applicants in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the first nine months in previous years.

The US reached its highest number of unincorporated self-employed workers during the pandemic so far in July 2021 — also the highest number since the last big crisis to hit our country in 2008.

So, where have all the workers gone…?  Lots of possibilities.

IOB LOGO BWAbout Insight on Business the News Hour:

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


Staying Vital in Small Town Iowa

It's a return visit from Lyle Muller of Iowa Watch - The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. Today we're talking about the Lyle Muller MPL 1118 incorporated and unincorporated communities in Iowa and the success/failure of business, population growth and quality of life. How some small communities are doing when it comes to all manner of business issues. We'll also talk about broadband and how some towns have been able to go it alone. It's a fascinating conversation that is not unique to Iowa.  Here is that article and here is our conversation. 

Thanks for listening! 

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


Effective Communication Tools for NIACC

Hello...as I indicated in the video below I was to have presented a business class this past Monday on Zoom. For some reason students were unable to connect and I really feel bad about that.  So....check out the audio portion below the video to hear about my thoughts regarding Effective Communication for business and your personal life. My thanks to Rowena Crosbie and Deborah Rinner for their insightful book, "Your Invisible Toolbox - The Technological Ups and Interpersonal Downs of the Millennial Generation". I use this fantastic book all the time and highly recommend it to you. What is really neat is that while over 100 topics are discussed none are longer than two and a half pages.

 

The audio portion of my presentation on Effective Communication is below.  All you have to do is click to listen.

NIACC Effective Communication August 2021

Thanks again and I truly hope we've got the Tech Bugs behind us.  Hope to visit with you each Monday at Noon through the North Iowa Area Community College. The link to the program is here.

You can reach me a number of ways: MPLibbie@gmail.com or IOBNewsroom@gmail.com or my direct line is 515-331-3207.

Take care!


Some Hiring Help

Last week on The Business News Hour we had a story about jobs. The Labor Department says there are now 1.5 million more open jobs Hiring Use then there are unemployed people. To put that in context let's say there are 6 million unemployed people in the U.S. yet there are 7.5 million open jobs.

Our business is based in the Des Moines, Iowa Metro where the current unemployment rate is hovering around 2.3%. I am told, by the folks at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, there are 17,000 open jobs in the Metro. Again, just not enough people...

Everywhere you look you see "Help Wanted" signs. HyVee, a chain of over 237 grocery stores in the Midwest, went out and bought flags to plant in their parking lot to announce the obvious. Over the past two years I've watched as B'Bops, a locally owned hamburger chain, has changed their help wanted sign to promote higher wages. Two years ago the sign said $8.00 an hour. Today the sign reads $10 an hour.

Last month there was a high-powered forum where experts weighed in on the employment troubles and offered up some suggestions regarding not only recruitment but also retention.

One of the things that is missing from the discussion is something called "passive recruitment". That's where you use media to target not only your "help wanted" message but also, at the same time, polish your brand. You can use a host of mediums radio, podcasting sponsorships, podcasting, video and social media to do the same thing. 

What is cool about passive recruiting is that word spreads. You may not hit the person who is actively looking for a job but your message may be heard or seen by a family member who then says, "Hey, did you see/hear that Weasels is looking for workers. Sounds/Looks like a great place to work."

Here's a sample, click to listen.

Recruitment Audio June 2019

It's really that easy but, does it work?  I have a friend who works in this field and he has been successful for years. The key is to let people know how really great your business is and then pitch the idea of working there.

Building your brand while building your bench is simply a good stratigity. 

 

 

 

 


How Much is Too Much?

Last week on The Business News Hour I had a conversation with Brad Dwyer the founder of Bad BossHatchlings a game application that now has millions of users. The theme of our interview was employee productivity and creativity...when the boss is bossing remotely. If you would like to listen to the interview you may do so here.

Brad was out of the country on an extended business trip to Asia...like for six weeks. During that time he was connected, remotely, to his thriving business. He told me it was both a necessity and an experiment: "I was really interested to learn if my team could continue to be productive and creative without me being there to direct every move."

What did he learn?  His staff not only rose to the occasion they were even more productive and creative without him being there.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece that centered on employee engagement and a Gallup Poll that says only 31% of employees are "engaged in their work". While that is bad enough those 69% of disengaged workers costs American business about $11 billion a year.

What causes such high levels of disengagement?  Let me offer one thought.  Recently, while doing an interview for a future broadcast I became aware of a growing company that workers there say management has replaced casual rules with "micro-management". New rules and regulations that, in the words of several employees, has "stifled creativity and productivity" among many of the long term workers.

While none of the rules were egregious they did, in the minds of many employees, chip away at trust and replaced leadership with regulations that one employee said felt "downright Orwellian". To make matters worse the changes came about rapidly over just a few weeks and bosses became less approachable relying more on process.

Two very different experiments in leadership.  Who would you rather work for? 

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The Business News Hour - The Friday Wrap

We are the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour. It's the only daily, hour-long IOB_podcastv2 TuneInbusiness news broadcast in the Midwest. (No, really...we checked.) It airs Monday - Friday starting at 5:05PM on AM-940, FM-104.5 and (if you are really cool) in HD at 103.3 HD2. While we don't record and save the news and markets (that could get old....) we do save the long-form business interviews. 

So, in case you missed it...here's who we talked to this past week. If you would like to hear the interview click on the highlighted name or the media player.  Thanks for listening!

Just saying you want to start a business isn't enough.  Today we learn the Who, What and When of a business startup through the help of Thomas Kutz and Sam Kreamer of the Kreamer Law Firm. Lots of great information here that you need to know before you startup that startup. 

There is a program designed to assist children in the nation and here in Central Iowa. It's called Court Appointed Special Advocate or CASA of Iowa and here to explain what it is and how you might help is Jean M. Baker an author and advocate for children. Learn more...now.

Our guests are from Iowa Works of Central Iowa, Edgar Ortiz and Vonni Stewart are in to share with us what Iowa Works does for businesses and for individuals seeking employment or employment skills. We also talk about the event coming up on the 13th in conjunction with the Iowa Wild. Listen in...

It's coming to the Des Moines Metro on April 22 & 23 and to learn more about the Young Entrepreneur Convention we make welcome founder Brandon Adams. What to expect and the "young" does not have an age attached to it...Listen up...Brandon is "stoked".

Just over a year ago Michelle Hanson joined the ReMax Real Estate Concepts Team and said it was the best decision she's made in a very long time. We talk about selling real estate, the drive and ambition it takes to be successful and working alongside her Father-In-Law Lance Hanson. We also squeeze in some conversation about the current housing market in Des Moines. 

In addition to our special guests each Monday we feature our Networking/Social Media Contributor Laura Kinnard with networking picks and social media tips for business and each Friday we end with our Friday Fun Contributor Sheryl Tessier from Eat, Play, Love Des Moines and her top picks of "Stuff to DO in the Metro".

Thanks for reading and catch you tonight at 5:05 for the Business News Hour...


The Restaurant Industry - Needs a New Brand

There's some major trouble brewing in the restaurant industry and it's Servergoing to take some time to get it fixed. Let me set this up for you...here in the Des Moines Metro there isn't a week that goes by where we don't learn of yet another restaurant opening its doors.  While that may seem like progress there is something else going on: No workers.

I know of two owners who have put restaurant openings on hold because they cannot find help.  There is a lack of servers, cooks, chefs, dishwashers...and those two owners know the market.

Meanwhile corporations are draining the market dry.  After all...Hy-Vee might pay a lower salary for cooks...but they offer benefits.

If it is true that consumers control the brand then the restaurant industry needs to up their game and share with consumers what a great career food service can be. But it is going to take time and money.

In Europe a server is more highly treasured than a banker or attorney. Why? Because the industry there has built a brand on high quality, low turnover and knowledge.  Servers in Europe are...professional. Here they are often looked down on.

I've been told that the Iowa Restaurant Association has a plan to move this forward...they can't start soon enough...we're hungry.

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Marketing With LinkedIn

Let's talk LinkedIn!  I get it, you have a LinkedIn account because you are Linked In Image Twoin business and, no doubt, you want to sell more of your product or service. So, connecting with market leaders, buyers and others in business just might help you do just that.  Except it ain't happening.  

Let me see if I can help with some tips to enhance your LinkedIn success:

  • Your Photo - Perhaps it's just me but I don't accept LinkedIn connection requests unless there is a photo attached.  We figure that if you don't want folks to see you...you really are not serious about doing business.
  • Post Something Original - Look, I get it...it's easier for you to post stuff other people write that you find interesting.  However, what we want to know is what YOU THINK. Take some time and start posting your thoughts about your business silo. I know you've got an opinion.
  • Your Profile - Make sure it is complete. You are on LinkedIn to make connections but if I click on your profile and there is no way to connect with you...why are you here?  Take the time and give me contact info.
  • Share Posts - Once you start to master your own posting share others and make a comment. Tell us what you think vs. just posting a link. Thinking is a good thing.
  • Visit Often - Make it a habit to check into LinkedIn a couple of times a day. Scroll through your feed and engage.
  • Like Stuff - Your connections post photos, updates, blog posts, job news...make it your "job" to like and comment on them.  Folks like to know that other folks notice.
  • Recommendations - I have to be honest.  I've been prompted often to offer recommendations for various talents but rarely do. Why? Sometimes I don't honestly KNOW if the person is an expert on XYZ. At the same time, don't be afraid to ask your clients and friends for a recommendation. They know you...and your work. Go for it.

I was just like many of you...I didn't "work" LinkedIn.  Over the past two months I have and I have seen engagements increase by 50%.  Like everything else in the social space it takes work.

Honest, just want to help!  Now, head to your LinkedIn account and get busy with it. 

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You Had Me At "Welcome!"

I've just returned from a four day business trip to Memphis.  I stayed at the Memphis Downtown Sheraton (which at one time was a Marriott property). Sheraton Memphis

One word about the service:  Exceptional

From check in to check out everybody from the front desk the the valet to the bellmen to the folks that cleaned the rooms and served the food. It was the very best I've experienced.

Sure, most folks in the hospitality industry get it when it comes to customer service and they say, "Good morning!" and they say, "Yes sir!" but rarely have I run into so many people who simply opened up and...talked.  They talked about their jobs, their family their work, their church. They took time to have a conversation with a complete stranger.

One of the employees and I talked about the Memphis economy and how it feels like it's passing many by. "I'm not complaining but it's rough Michael. Really tough to make ends meet and I work two jobs."

I listened.  At the end of our brief conversation he said. "Mr. Libbie, thank you for listening and for caring. I really feel better."

People...really good people doing really good work, hard work.

It was great to meet every one of them.  It was great to move them out of "hospitalilty workers" and into...people.  Plain folks who are doing the best they can.

How about you?  Your thoughts?  Have you had the opportunity to experience amazing customer service and...at the same time...get a chance to look beyond the name tag?   Let me know?  I'm interested.

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is a full service advertising agency based in Des Moines and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the Daily Business News Broadcast.


How to Recruit, Retain and Polish Your Brand

Here, in the Des Moines Metro, the unemployment rate is about 3.5 Woman Help Wantedpercent. Statistics say that about a third of those unemployed are not seeking a job. If that is correct the unemployment rate may be closer to 2 percent and THAT is a pretty tight labor market when you're seeking to hire...anybody.

What to do?  Back in April I authored a piece on using radio and today I'm even more convinced that this will work and work well; especially for specific job postings that are nearly impossible to fill.  

Why?

Because with radio you can be strategic in your search for high quality employees who...given the unemployment rate...are not in the job market.

Until today I had no idea there were 10,000 job boards in the United States and that only 39% of American's read a newspaper (hard copy or online) and that the average newspaper (hard copy) reader is over the age of 60. Stunning, right?

With radio you can target and passively recruit and drive interested people to YOUR job posting not everybody else seeking an employee. In addition friends and family of the job seeker hears the radio campaign and shares the news with the seeker.

And retaining?  That "Employee of the Month" plaque; who sees it?  But by using radio to congratulate individuals on their anniversary month...everybody hears it.  Retain or you must re-train.

And, finally, all the time you are in the campaign you are polishing your business brand...in public.

Make sense?

It does to us!

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