Indiana employers are leaving jobs open—at least for now—according to data released in October by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The organization’s annual employer survey echoes national trends. It should be a call to business owners to look inward and strategically address the need for talent in the Hoosier state.

The 2022 Indiana Chamber Workforce Survey was released last month. It has a lot of interesting data that’s not unique. Our team provides staffing services nationwide. The information from the Chamber survey is similar to what we hear from clients across the country. Many clients ask for recommendations and advice about what to do.

Before we jump to recommendations, here are the points of the survey that stand out. The survey was answered by 922 owners, operators and human resource professionals across the state representing a broad array of industries.

  • Some 62% say the supply of job applicants does not meet their needs.
  • This is down from last year’s response at 72%.
  • While applicants are doing better at meeting needs, 74% of employers are leaving jobs open.
  • As a result, 60% of employers are doing more with less by asking current employees to perform additional job functions.

There’s clearly an expectation gap. Employers want job-ready new hires that fit their exact job descriptions and requirements. And they’re going to eventually ask those new hires to do more job functions at the same pay rate. I’ll pile on more with this next sentence. Then, we as business leaders scoff at the term quiet quitting as employees start to check out and disengage from their jobs and careers. Instead, look inward at how to fix the existing gaps the Chamber study has revealed.

Find a good staffing partner. The Chamber study shows 23% of employers are using this tactic to fill jobs. At a national conference in Chicago, we talked to a lot of employers who said, “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about doing that.” The hiring problem isn’t going not going to fix itself. A good partner can guide you through the topics noted here to help map a plan to find temporary workers and appreciate them to ensure they keep coming back for job assignments.

It’s been said time and time again, hire for culture. Instead of focusing on experience and current skills to check boxes, consider if the candidate would fit into the team culture and could they learn to do the job?

Staffing jobs from the executive to gig worker level across the United States, our team has a unique view of what’s happened over the last three years that’s shifted the job market. It’s how about pay, culture, recognition, and balance. People want a fair wage, good company, appreciation and to not work 60 hours a week. Look inward and ask how you’re offer and job meets the criteria.

Outwit your competition. Earlier this year, a business outside of Indianapolis needed to retain workers who were ghosting them a few weeks into the job. The company decided to incentivize those hourly workers: Work the full week and get a $200 bonus. Sounds crazy, but the cost is less than finding and training a new worker.

Review your training and onboarding processes. The Chamber survey includes a section with a survey of 600 workers in the state. Asked if they would pursue more training if an employer encouraged it, 80% said yes while 60% of employers said, no, they do not offer onsite classes for employees. Staff will train up if you invest in them with coursework opportunities.

Ask, do you want productivity or activity? Data shows in the first half of 2022 productivity plunged to the sharpest rate on record going back to 1947, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It has raised questions about how we work, remote or hybrid. Some companies confess that they track employees’ workflow using computer software.

Let’s circle back to that quiet quitting topic. Data shows employees are burned out and companies are doing more with less. Instead of tracking activity, consider what productivity means to your company. What’s the work, task, project and is the staff member getting it done? Does it matter if it takes an hour or five hours?

If you still need to do more with less, how will you recognize the people who step up and keep the organization moving forward? Creative incentives are an opportunity to show appreciation. Think gift cards, an extra day off or recognition during a team meeting, if appropriate. Don’t just expect to pile more work on someone’s desk and think they’ll happily complete the project or task.

The pre-pandemic job market isn’t coming back. It’s time to use the data and take trends seriously to strategically figure out how to bridge the gaps and move the Indiana job market forward.

George Lessmeister is CEO and founder of LGC Hospitality, a national staffing firm headquartered in Indianapolis. LGC has offices in over 40 U.S. cities. Team members work with hotel and restaurant leadership to place executives and temporary workers.

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