If I tell you there’s a workforce shortage without offering a solution, it’s just another ‘no-shit-sherlock’ article. If anyone tells you that there is not a shortage of people that want to work, then that schlub needs to have their faccocta head examined. The truth is hiring in 2022 for vacant positions will be more challenging than it ever has been.

Is it stimulus checks? Is it COVID-19?

I’m not just talking about that extra $300 a week for unemployment or the fact that they extended it an additional thirteen weeks. This goes beyond that. Starter jobs like fast food are working their way upwards with an entry-level goal of $15 an hour are not entirely to blame either. Yes, stimulus checks and COVID-19 are also to blame. Not much you can do about any of that except offer a competitive wage and more. You don’t have to like it, but face it – the workforce has evolved.

I know everybody is talking about raising their prices going into 2022, and you definitely should. But before you determine what that fee needs to be, you may want to look into what rate you would need to charge to accommodate at least some of the following in your benefits package for new hires.

✔ Flexible Work Schedule

✔ Insurance Plans

✔ Disability Insurance

✔ Tuition Reimbursement

✔ Corporate Discounts

✔ Paid Vacation

✔ 401K

✔ Paid Sick Days

✔ Performance-Based Bonus

✔ Paid Personal Days

✔ Pension

Hiring in 2022

I already know this list is going to get some blowback. But these are the benefits offered by other businesses to that same pool of employees you are attempting to recruit. So, evolve and mirror the market, or you can say F**k benefits and make filling the positions you have available harder and harder until it becomes completely impossible one day.

If you are a believer and don’t see how you can afford to offer these benefits, understand I’m not saying you have to hit every mark on the list. However, the more of these you can add, the more attractive job seekers you will be. You pay for this just like you handle any other increase in cost your business might face; pass this expense onto the customer.

I can only raise my prices so high before the customers say ‘F**k it!’ and clean the pool themselves’

anonymous pool company owner

I get it but consider the choices. Option one: You raise the price to accommodate hiring employees and lose a few customers. Option 2: You put yourself in a position where you can never grow, take a day off, take a vacation, and risk burnout.

Now is the time to act! You are already planning a price increase because of all of the supply chain issues. Why not bite the bullet and ask for what you need to grow the business in the direction you need to succeed.

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Where to look

The last couple of times we got together and discussed where to recruit, I suggested looking at counter-seasonal businesses. You know, the stores that load up on staff for Christmas but lay everyone off after the holidays. I had mentioned that in the past, I had luck with contacting the managers of these facilities and having them offer me as an option to those hard-working employees that would suddenly need jobs.

It worked out well as I was not in a southern market at the time, and we would send employees back and forth. This kept us both fully staffed and provided the employee with year-round work. There were quite a few team members I had a return for several years.

Now I am leaning in another direction, but again it will take you re-imagining what you do to make it work.

Firefighters typically work what is known as a “24-48”. That is one day on (24-hour shift) followed by two days off. Many of these first responders will take on a second job for that off-time to supplement their income. Yes – I agree it sucks that they should have to, but we can’t fix that. But, we can change up the way we do things slightly to accommodate some of the 20-days off a month.

similar article Ready to Hire Somebody, but…

It would be nice if they were weekends only and had Monday through Friday to play with, but that probably isn’t going to be the case. But, you do still have 20-days a month that you need staff. Instead of hiring one person to fill your 40+ hour a week position, why not hire two to three firefighters to be part-time non-seasonal pool technicians (or whatever the role is).

Offer a competitive wage

This is an opportunity to ‘cheap out’ ‘because you should pay these individuals well, but consider that they already have a good amount of benefits from the fire department. According to Career Trend, Career firefighters benefit from medical and dental coverage, credit union memberships, disability insurance, retirement programs, sick leave, and vacation accrual, sick child care services, advancement opportunities, and continuing education.

How do you find firefighters? Easy peasy, you walk right into the fire station with a big ass box of donuts and a handful of business cards. The worst-case scenario is you brought pastries to the neighborhood heroes.

When the needs and wants of the employment market evolve, you cannot dig in your heels and wait for them to pass. It is not going to pass. However, in five years or a decade, you will likely see that it evolves into something else. It’s all about being competitive, because like it or not when it comes to hiring team members, you will have to compete.

Please also consider that we should be raising our prices every year anyway. Why?

Forget about all the insane price increases of 2021 for a minute and understand that not keeping up with inflation is not ‘leaving dollars on the table’. Inflation has increased the cost of everything. We raise prices in line with inflation, JUST TO KEEP UP. If you do not keep up, it is a loss to your bottom line.

Raising price annually due to inflation

By Rudy

Rudy Stankowitz is a 30-year veteran of the swimming pool industry and President/CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants

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