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Q&A: Laundry Labor Update (Conclusion)

Recruiting expert talks signs of returning workforce, hiring/retaining strategies

CHICAGO — The current job market in the United States is one of the most unusual the country has experienced.

Job openings remain high while worker shortages continue since many people are hesitant to return to work after isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost every industry is facing a lack of workers to fill jobs, including the laundry and linen services industry.

American Laundry News communicated with Deana Griffin, president of The Griffin Group, a specialist in recruiting employees for uniform and linen/textile, food, healthcare, and service industries for 23 years, about the state of hiring and retaining employees in the industry.

Are you seeing any indications that workers will return to the industry or that new employees will start taking positions?

Several indicators are apparent, starting with operations offering “leading the market” compensation plans.

Inflation has increased the cost of living, along with increased house prices and rental increases. And the $400 weekly unemployment benefits expired and stimulus checks have ceased. There is now a child care tax credit when employees hire a nanny or other child care provider.

Business demand has created more career opportunities, and there are a lower number of COVID-19 and variant infections. Finding a new job could mean less of a commute for employees due to the cost of gasoline.

It’s also a time of business closures and start-ups, and businesses now have available workspaces with the right tools and information for the job.

What methods for attracting new employees are working?

Many methods are available and working, such as:

  • Hiring an industry recruiter.
  • Implementing a simple and fast hiring plan.
  • Employee referrals with incentives.
  • Networking.
  • Social media.
  • Advertising in trade magazines, newsletters, banner ads.
  • Job boards (expect to pay more because with each click/view the employer incurs a cost).
  • Internship, apprenticeship programs.
  • Recruiting from the military and veterans talent pool.
  • Jobs posted on the company website—with a video.
  • Staying in touch with passive candidates for future career opportunities.
  • Visas are available.
  • Beating the competitor compensation package. Market test your current pay structure and increase accordingly to attract top talent.

What strategies for retaining employees are working?

Again, there are many ways the rental uniform and linen/textile industry can better retain employees, including:

  • Flexibility, which increases productivity.
  • Re-evaluating current compensation plans and adding perks, offering wage increases where warranted, annual reviews evaluated every six months vs. annually.
  • Investing in ongoing training options for employees.
  • Communication is key among all departments in order to keep everyone informed.
  • Perks including after-work get-togethers, gym membership, bonus trips, outings/events that involve the family, etc.
  • Investing in the hiring process and hiring the right people. Hiring a recruiter to “vet” the candidate for the position and company culture. 
  • Respecting the employee—making them feel appreciated and valued. 
  • Listening and receiving feedback from staff can be effective.
  • Fostering a favorable workplace.

How much does training/education affect hiring and retaining employees?

Further training and education involves the employee—shows that the employer is investing in the employee. It makes the employee feel part of something bigger than just having a title, and the employee feels appreciated and valued.

If a company is willing to invest in training and education for its employees, it resonates with growth, the bigger picture mindset, succession planning, upward mobility, company stability and a positive team atmosphere, to name a few.

What do you think will happen with the laundry labor market in the next two years? Further out?

According to a recent Baird survey, the linen and uniform rental segment will have positive growth over the next 12 months, which will have an increased number of positions to be filled. This will be ongoing depending on positive growth.

Acquisitions and mergers have increased in the industry and this will continue in the future as the industry consolidates. This will also have an impact on the number of employees hired and available job opportunities.

The “Great Resignation”—three out of four full-time employees plan to quit their jobs over the next year and compensation is the major reason.

Any final thoughts to share with the readers?

Healthcare costs are rising and companies are evaluating existing and new plans. Some companies are reducing coverage, which doesn’t align with better plans from the competition. 

Cannabis usage—companies need to implement policies that pertain to this subject. 

Companies have the thought process of “doing more with less,” especially with small profit margins in this particular industry. With this being the case, we need to perfect the hiring processes with KPIs (key performance indicators) in place. 

Addressing the costs to hire, train, educate, retain and cross-train will be offset by how well you align your company to the business plan and economic factors.

Miss Part 1 on the current state of labor in laundry/linen services? Click HERE to read it!

Q&A: Laundry Labor Update

(Image licensed by Ingram Image)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].