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How Toledo-Area Businesses Are Dealing With The Labor Shortage Has Been Described As “A Wild Ride”

They’re raising salaries, researching the competition, and rethinking benefit packages and company culture initiatives all the time.

Human resources managers in Northwest Ohio have a lot on their plates right now, both in terms of recruiting new talent and halting the flow of resignations. In November, a record 4.5 million Americans abandoned their employment, indicating that job opportunities continue to outweigh job seekers.

“There are a lot of people out there recruiting, and there are a lot of people out there posting positions.” Working your way to the top of that [is difficult] “Cardinal Staffing Services in Maumee’s vice president of business development, Christina Ice, agreed.

The Blade recently visited with several firms that were honored in its Top Workplaces competition for 2022 to learn more about their recruiting and retention difficulties, as well as how they are dealing with them.

Ms. Ice is more familiar than most with the magnitude of time-consuming hiring challenges that businesses confront, as many turn to Cardinal Staffing for help filling openings — and as Cardinal attempts to retain its own 60 employees.

“If you go to Company A, which has a two- or three-person HR department, they don’t have the time to devote to finding the employees they require,” she explained. “As a result, the workload required to get a person in the door is frequently substantially greater than it was previously. You’ll have to interview a lot more people, and you’ll have to work harder to get them in the first place.”

Companies also stated that they are devoting more attention to keeping their present employees satisfied in order to avoid high turnover rates. A couple of departures might swiftly spiral out of control if there are so many other opportunities in the employment market.

“When people are working and there is a lot of turnover around them, they begin to wonder, ‘Why am I here?'”” Perrysburg Auto Mall’s owner and president, Richard Cronin, stated.

Salary increases are required.

To stay competitive, many northwest Ohio companies said they have raised salaries in recent months — in some cases dramatically.

“Right present, a lot of people have the option of finding work at a salary they choose,” she says “Ms. Ice expressed her thoughts. “They have the ability to demand something similar to what they want.”

Christian Home Care, a Toledo company that provides in-home care for seniors, raised hourly wages for caregivers at all levels by $2 earlier in the pandemic, but owner Sue Wendt said the company is still struggling to compete with larger companies like hospitals and even McDonald’s.

She stated the company has had as many as 60 employees in the past, but now only has about 35 owing to hiring and retention issues. It can’t afford to raise wages any further, according to Ms. Wendt.

“We just don’t think it’s ethical to keep raising [prices] on our customers,” says the company “Melissa Swartz, a nurse and supervisor in charge of hiring, agreed.

Some executives said they keep a close eye on compensation levels at a few select companies, such as Amazon, FedEx, and UPS, to make sure they are keeping up.

“Now that individuals have more options, we actually look at pay all the time,” says one employee “Mr. Cronin added that, especially for entry-level positions, he now realizes he must compete not only with other dealers, but also with the local Amazon distribution facility.

Master Fluid Solutions, a Perrysburg-based manufacturer of metalworking fluids, recently undertook a study of its shop-floor salaries and discovered that they needed to be boosted by 10 to 15% to compete with companies like Amazon and UPS.

However, according to Jim Perry, senior vice president of human resources, the business ultimately chose to raise them by double that amount, or 30%.

“Let’s just go for broke, shall we?” “Mr. Perry stated that the business had made a decision. “What is the point of [gradually increasing it]? It is preferable to keep our personnel and keep them satisfied than to constantly re-fill positions.”

Benefits and culture are being considered.

Several organizations stated they are devoting more attention to issues such as mental health benefits, how to make work shifts more flexible, and how to make their company cultures more appealing.

“Culture is a significant topic [applicants] want to discuss,” says one applicant “Ms. Ice expressed her thoughts. “They want to work in an environment that is a good fit for who they are. And I believe that people can choose to be a little more choosy right now.”

She believes that monetary incentives alone will not be enough to keep people on board. It can be as simple as sending lunches to a certain office, assigning a team member to assist another branch that is short-staffed, or encouraging an employee to leave early.

Multiple employers stated that a need for more flexibility with working hours and remote work is in high demand.

“We’ve seen that request [for flexibility] come up a lot more, whether it’s more time to get away from the office and take care of things, or if it’s more remote working, 100 percent remote working.” “Master Fluid Solutions’ HR generalist, Jay Driftmyer, agreed.

Because his business is primarily about selling and maintaining automobiles, Mr. Cronin said he can’t normally provide work-from-home choices. Nonetheless, he has expanded his attention on providing greater flexibility to his employees.

In one recent instance, he recruited an additional service technician in order to give other shop employees greater flexibility with their schedules. In other cases, he’s giving employees greater freedom than ever before to take a few days off here and there, or encouraging them to work late or leave early to spend more time with their families.

“You have to pay people well and be extremely flexible with them,” Mr. Cronin said, “because with COVID and other situations, individuals have to juggle challenging schedules and family.”

Recruiting in an unconventional manner

Companies are employing a variety of tactics to locate talent that extend beyond job postings.

Cardinal Staffing, according to Ms. Ice, offers a referral program that helps recruit more quality candidates for various companies.

It compensates both the existing employee and the individual they are referring for the job a predetermined fee for providing the referral. When a staffing firm has a lot of openings to fill, the incentive amount for referrals may be increased.

Mr. Cronin said he has filled more technician positions with apprentices than he has in the past, including students from Owens Community College, at Perrysburg Auto Mall. The idea is to pay them as they train, which will encourage them to remain longer.

Executives noted that finding the proper staff sometimes necessitates looking in multiple states and paying the suitable applicants to relocate, or paying for lodging and other fees during a temporary transfer.

Is it going to be easier this year?

Few people believe the labor shortage will ease significantly in 2022.

Ms. Swartz of Christian Home Care is trying to be upbeat; she’s received a few more applications recently and hopes that a few of them will work out. However, she claims that in recent months, too many applicants have failed to show up for the interview. Alternatively, they may work for a brief period of time before moving on to another position that offers a significant sign-on bonus.

The corporation provides its own bonuses and benefits. But it can’t be as generous as larger companies, or it won’t survive, according to the owner, Ms. Wendt, who added that she has already had to cut back on client services.

“I believe that this will be a pivotal year for us, since if things don’t change, it won’t be sustainable,” she says “she stated “You can’t run a business with no profit margin – you can’t.”

Mr. Cronin sees no signs of respite, referring to the current labor scarcity as the “new normal.” His body business, in particular, has a hard time finding suitable employees. Smaller independent body shops are closing because to a manpower shortage, he claims, which means more work for him.

“It’s been a wild ride, to say the least,” says the narrator “Ms. Ice, whose company has seen increased business as companies struggle to hire, said “”I don’t believe it’s over yet.”

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