Power shift, why next year’s workers might have the upper hand

Winter is the off-peak time of year for his wine tours in Napa and Sonoma counties. Even so, what it does differently is look for employees now instead of waiting for spring in the hope that it will be full when tourists arrive in the area.

He managed to keep around 80 percent of his staff. He attributes this in part to educating everyone when the government forced businesses to close in 2020 due to the pandemic. He told them he kept their place for them.

Platypus has around 60 employees, with a need for 15 additional guides starting in March. Rickard expects 2022 to be a good year, saying there is pent-up demand to come out and play.

His approach since the inception of the company has been to create a place where employees look forward to going every shift.

“We also go out of our way to meet people’s planning needs and structure work to be fun and non-stressful,” he said. This is something they did before the pandemic.

Although the volume was down for 2021 compared to 2019, the revenues are roughly the same. This is because the business is getting leaner and more efficient during the pandemic by getting rid of buses and consolidating tours. Fewer buses meant not having to pay for insurance, storage, maintenance, and other costs.

Good timing for college students

In today’s world of work and the forecast for 2022, what has also changed is who employers hire upon graduation from college.

“We are finding that more and more employers are flexible in terms of skills and job requirements,” said Courtney Budesa, director of internships and professional development at the Barowsky School of Business at the Dominican University of California at San Rafael.

More and more employers are willing to hire someone with decent soft skills, as opposed to someone who can tick all the boxes on how to get the actual job done.

General skills include getting along well with others, showing up on time, dressing appropriately, thinking critically, and communicating well.

Not needing all the specialized skills makes it easier for university graduates with the right work ethic to enter the workforce.

“We expect students to be able to find jobs at a higher level than they would normally be able to do. Employers are able to pick up someone with the right attitude, ”she said.

Shed light on the future

Dominican Budesa expects that for at least the first half of 2022, employees will still be able to dictate what they want from employers, especially when it comes to wages, benefits and flexible hours. .

She also predicts that hybrid work environments, where people work from home and travel to the office, will be a reality for the indefinite future.

Replacing humans is another solution to the labor shortage.

Murray, of the North Bay Leadership Council, said: “These industries currently affected by the inability to hire workers will see an increase in automation. Not so much in office jobs, but there will be a greater push for automated customer service. We will see it first in public employment.

“The idea is that with an increase in automation, we are creating a lot of new jobs. “

These jobs will relate to what makes these automation instruments work.

Joe Madigan, CEO of Sonoma-based Nelson Staffing, also thinks automation could be a solution, but cautions it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. He said the most innovative companies have been doing this for the past five to ten years because it has become difficult to find talent in North Bay.

Restaurants use robots to cook and they have kiosks for people to order food. Hotels allow self-check-in. Automation, however, doesn’t necessarily mean replacing people on the front lines. It is also about using technology as a means to streamline operations; it is a question of efficiency.

Madigan said employers need to adapt to what workers want. He said the main reason people looked for new jobs was for pay. Today he said the main motivation for changing jobs is to find more flexibility in terms of when and where they work.

“Especially in North Bay, it’s not about pay, it’s my employer who’s going to be flexible,” Madigan said.

Madigan said the questions employees ask when looking for a job are: What is a company’s policy on diversity, equity and inclusion? Do they offer perks like gym memberships? Is leave granted for philanthropic activities? On a whim, can they show up late if there’s a childcare issue? What is the flexible hours policy?

His firm, which helps companies build and effectively manage their teams, has 210 employees in 11 states and more than 400 clients in 32 states. North Bay offices are in Fairfield, Napa, Petaluma, San Rafael, Santa Rosa.

“Employers are so used to people knocking on their doors. Now those ladders have completely shifted. Now employers are selling and wooing potential workers. We haven’t seen this in our lifetime. It’s not going to change. Look at the demographics. The population is not increasing. There is a labor shortage combined with a big resignation, ”Madigan told the Business Journal.

“I think organizations should have the pulse of their employees. The # 1 problem if I was the CEO of an organization, is how do I keep my greatest asset in 2022? Are we listening and are we going to make changes? If you don’t listen, you’ll fall behind.

Another conundrum for North Bay is that the labor pool is shrinking because many have retired and it is so expensive to live in the area that young people are not moving here to replace retirees.

Madigan struggles to find clients in North Bay due to cost of living, commute times and wages. While, he said, residents of Silicon Valley and San Francisco are heading north, they’re keeping their jobs as remote workers, which doesn’t help local employers.

He said manufacturing and distribution are industries he sees in difficulty because most of the workers have to be on site.

“I have seen some companies adopt different shifts and others that are more accommodating when it comes to child care. These are burning issues for employees and employers to retain their workforce, ”Madigan said. “It has been a candidate market for two years and will continue to be. Companies need to listen to the needs of their employees more than ever.

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