4 MAY 2019 • FOGHORN Creative Techniques May Be Key to Finding and Keeping Good Employees This month’s issue of FOGHORN focuses on human resources. As I type this, the March jobs report was just released, and according to the U.S. Labor Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added another 196,000 jobs. This is the 102nd straight month of job gains. Unemployment stands at 3.8 percent, well below the long-term average of 5.76 percent, and year- over-year hourly earnings are up 3.2 percent. What does this mean for the passenger vessel industry?And, specifi- cally, what does it mean for those of us trying to hire full and part-time seasonal employees? If your business is like mine, many of your hourly positions are seasonal and filled by college students on summer break. It also it means it is becoming harder and harder to not just find qualified ap- plicants, but to find any applicants. A common phrase thrown around is that “anyone who wants a job, has a job.” Therefore, we are left to try and attract applicants who may likely already be employed. This is the most challenging job market I’ve experienced in my career. It’s hard enough to get someone in the door who needs a job, but now we are trying to get people to leave the security of jobs they already have and take a risk trying something new. As an employer, we need to pull out all the stops in order to sell the benefits of our companies and more than ever create an atmosphere and a culture that fits the needs of this new talent pool and where top candidates want to work year after year. One way to attract new talent is to buy it. We all know that some people are motivated by money and if you pay even a little bit more than your competitor you may be able to find a few new bodies. The caveat is that this type of employee has very little loyalty. They will not think twice about leaving you for a better offer. This can be very painful especially if it is mid-season. So rather than overpay on the front end, I suggest building in a bonus program that rewards great employees on the back end. At Boston Duck Tours, we reward loyalty by paying an additional $2-$5 per hour worked, end-of-season/safety bonus. This bonus is discretionary and is based on an employee fulfilling the terms of their offer letter and maintaining a safe record. We pay this bonus in the first week of December and it increases each season the employee returns. We also offer a very lucrative referral program. We all want to work with people we like, so why not encourage our employees to refer their friends? If you truly like your co-workers, you are much more apt to want to come to work and this will improve retention. You should also be aware that many younger seasonal employees value their time more than money. They have more interests, hobbies, causes that drain their time and in some cases, they have one or two other jobs to which they are committed. Having a hand in building their schedule and ongoing schedule flexibility is becoming a condition of employment for many new hires, and by allowing this flexibil- ity we have had success in recruiting. But, this is forcing us to hire and train two, and sometimes three, new employees to work the hours normally taken by one. P r o v i d i n g h a r d benefits is another way to attract talent. Offering health and dental insurance, having a generous paid time off (PTO) program, or allowing employees to contribute to a 401k can set your company apart. However, these programs are very expensive for employers, especially for those with a seasonal or part-time work force. And as more and more states begin regulating paid time off (PTO) and requiring companies to provide paid family medical leave, paid sick time for all, and minimum wage keeps increasing, it will become harder and harder for most companies to provide such “hard” benefits. Therefore, “soft” benefits are a great way to attract, reward, and retain employees. Throwing company parties, barbecues, or having company outings allow you to give back to your employees and help to build relation- ships across departments. Having monthly socials allow your teams get to know each other and bond outside of work. In addition, these activities go a long way to helping to build a great culture when they are back on LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT Bob Lawler PRESIDENT, CONTINUED ON PAGE 42 “It is becoming harder and harder to not just find qualified applicants, but to find any applicants.”