Management Advice

The Post-Pandemic Labor Force

Living through a pandemic left us with a lot of unknowns for the future. And though none of us really thought things would get back to “normal,” we have all anticipated the day that we could begin moving forward again. As vaccines roll out and mask mandates cease, it’s easy to speculate how things will look going forward, especially within the labor force.

Unemployment Rates

In April 2020, just one month after the initial lockdown order was issued, Texas unemployment rates reached an all time high of 12.9%. Fortunately, as of May 2021, the unemployment rate was reported at 6.5%. It’s safe to say that things are improving, with rates dropping by nearly half in just over a year’s time. Sadly, even with the decreasing unemployment rate, companies are still struggling to find suitable candidates to hire.

We covered a number of reasons for these struggles in our article: “Why is Hiring Hard Right Now?”. One of the biggest hurdles employers are facing is the role that government assistance programs have played. With the federal order increasing unemployment benefits by $300 a week, people have procrastinated their return to work. This has also allowed people the time to reevaluate what is important to them. This will take place even more as companies continue to return to the office.

As many have embraced the remote environments they’ve gotten used to, we’ve also seen a major increase in resignations. This has given employers the opportunity to look at their current structure while creating new ideas to help redevelop their teams. Although federal benefits are not set to expire until September 2021, Texas has opted out of all related programs effective June 26, 2021. The purpose of this decision is to help encourage employees to return to the workforce.

The Push to Have Employees to Return 

The labor shortage has been an ongoing issue during Texas’s phased reopenings. Fortunately, economists do believe this is temporary. As more vaccines roll out and the government aid expires, an increase in the workforce is predicted. Governor Abbot’s decision to terminate these benefits early for Texas has many businesses looking forward to the prospect of rebuilding their teams in the coming months. 

Studies are showing that the number of unemployed is currently almost identical to the number of job openings. It should also be known that many employers are now offering higher salaries to increase their appeal to potential employees. Currently, it has been reported that nearly 45% of job openings pay over $15.50 an hour. Additionally, only 2% are being listed at minimum wage. Though the higher pay may be pushing up inflation and causing a slowdown in America’s recovery, this too is predicted to balance out over time.

A Post-Pandemic Labor Force

It has been a long road to get where we are now, and we still have a ways to go to see where the economy will be. Employers across the state look forward to the anticipated labor force increase that should come with the expiration of the benefits. Unfortunately, it is still too early to fully predict what the labor force will truly look like post-pandemic. The good news is that Texas is making the first move in regards to achieving normalcy. Though there are push backs from those who may not be ready, many believe it is time to encourage people to return to work. 

Hire Priority understands the struggles that this pandemic has brought, and we are here to help as we transition to better days. With our top screening and training programs, we can help your company find the right fit for your new normal. Contact us today to see how we can help!

Posted in Career Advice, Hiring Tips, Management Advice, Uncategorized | Tagged , |

Eviction Moratorium Update -Central Texas

Last year, to lessen the impact of COVID-19, landlords across the country were required to cease any and all eviction proceedings. The order, backed by the CDC’s recommendations, went into effect on September 4, 2020. The order is set to expire on July 31, 2021. Though most Texas cities adopted the CDC guidelines, not all areas have been in full agreement. 

Moratorium Order Endings 

Houston is one of the few cities that never put a local moratorium order into place. Even through the thick of the pandemic, they have continued allowing evictions to take place. Despite the Texas Supreme Court issuing its own statewide moratorium, over 30,000 eviction cases have been filed since March 2020. The statewide order was able to slow some proceedings down, but this ended on May 18, 2020. In addition to the conclusion of the statewide order, the Texas Supreme court ceased enforcement of national moratorium as well. Since then, Houston’s eviction numbers have steadily increased with little to no federal involvement.

Order Extension

Austin, on the other hand, passed their own Eviction Moratorium order as part of their March 2020 emergency ordinance. Despite CDC guidelines, the previous extension was set to expire on May 1, 2021. A day prior to it’s expiration, however, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown, announced an extension through August 1, 2021.

The main reason for this decision was to encourage tenants to seek out rental assistance if needed before lifting the order entirely. Predictions of an overwhelming number of eviction filings once the order expires are a great cause for concern. Last summer alone it was predicted that 30 to 40 million Americans were at risk of being evicted.

Exceptions

Even though the extension was designed to protect the majority of tenants, there are some exceptions. As of June 1, 2021, Travis County court portals opened once again, allowing for some Notice of Evictions to be filed. In order for landlords to file a Notice of Eviction, the tenants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Owe 5 months or more of outstanding rent.
  • Tenants and Landlords must have exhausted* all available assistance remedies.
  • Tenants must pay no more than $2,475.00 each month in rent.
  • Must not be a commercial tenant.

*The order defines “exhausted” as meaning that all applications for all available rental assistance remedies have been denied or pending for more than 45 days.

Rental Eviction Remedies

In light of the Eviction Moratorium orders, several programs have been made available to assist struggling renters, and sometimes even landlords. The city of Austin has provided over $25 million in federal funds for rental assistance alone. Qualifying renters for such assistance programs must meet these requirements:

  • Must have been financially impacted by the pandemic, and/or qualify for unemployment. 
  • Must prove that you are on the verge of homelessness.
  • Must have made less than 80% of the median family income of $78,100 per year (for 2020).

*Immigration status does not come into play for eligibility.

Additional assistance programs include:

City and County officials are encouraging anyone facing eviction that meets the outlined standards to contact the specific agencies for further information on how these programs can help.

Conclusion

Although the Eviction Moratorium has helped many families remain in their homes during the pandemic, it is important to remember that any and all owed rents will still legally be due once the eviction ban has been lifted. This extension is only valid throughout the Austin and Travis County areas but the majority of Texas, including Dallas, anticipates to follow the CDC’s timeline and open up eviction proceedings starting July 31, 2021.

Want to stay in the know? As the leading staffing agency for the Texas multifamily industry, Hire Priority prides themselves on staying up-to-date with the latest legislation, laws, and trends. Contact us now to learn how we can help you.

Posted in Management Advice, TX, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , |

Why is Hiring Hard Right Now?

Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. was in an employment boom recording unemployment rates of 3.5% in February 2020. However, due to COVID-19, by April the unemployment rate was recorded at 14.7%, just three short months later. This proved to be the highest unemployment rate since the recession in 1948. Now, over a year later, employers are facing a new set of issues: finding interested candidates.

Earlier this year, job listings increased by roughly 8% but hiring only increased by 4%. Many employers are asking themselves, why? After everything that has happened over the last year, wouldn’t people be eager to get back to work? Unfortunately, the answer may not be what employers are hoping for. 

People Aren’t Ready To Return 

The newest struggle studies have found is that many people simply aren’t ready to return to the workforce. With unemployment being so high, it was no surprise that the government had to take action. Stimulus payments were released and benefits packages were increased. Many people found that despite the accompanying pay cuts, they could easily get by on government assistance alone. Taking this route offered many the flexibility to take their time returning to work. Additionally, a lot of people have admitted that they are unsure if they will return to the same industry. 

Because of this, employers are facing unique challenges they haven’t encountered before. This creates the need to come up with new hiring solutions for finding their next great employee. 

Hiring Solutions

With the changes brought about by the pandemic, hiring strategies have been evolving. Here are some tips for helping you find your next hire.

  1. Be Flexible in Your Standards

We understand that hiring is a process. You take value in the community you have created, and it’s easy to see the type of employee who would be the right fit. But, people are beginning to branch out and search for new career paths. Maybe your candidates don’t possess the experience you’re looking for, but finding employees who are willing to learn will go a long way. Investing your time in teaching an employee who is eager to learn will be respected and valued in a way that you wouldn’t see with your “ideal candidate.”

  1. Creative Hiring Networks

In this digital era, the “usual” job searching platforms may not be enough. Don’t be afraid to search for alternative sources, as there are many out there. Consider offering referral programs for residents, post in Facebook groups, or scout LinkedIn. And, of course, utilizing services offered by employment agencies may also be a great solution for finding the right match!

When posting a job, remember to highlight your company’s benefits and unique traits. Showing that you’re a company that cares will help you stand out and encourage people to return to work. 

  1. Evaluate Your Offer Packages

The multifamily industry is seeing a lot of issues when hiring for entry-level positions. More and more, today’s youth have been straying from trade industries, taking positions that require less training instead. An entry-level maintenance position pays an average of $14.00 per hour in the greater Austin area. On the flip side, McDonald’s has increased their pay to a national average of $11.00-$13.00 per hour with potential growth opportunities to follow. 

With the pressure that society has placed on earning a degree, many are choosing to work easier jobs while they focus on school. Society has also downplayed the opportunities available by working a solid trade-based business. Showing the value that your company holds for these positions can help take your team to the next level. 

Conclusion

Hiring in today’s world is tough, but it can be accomplished. Take a hard look at your offerings, as well as any changes your company can implement. People are looking for security, so make sure to show them how working with you will give them exactly that. The good news is, experts predict that a hiring increase will return over the next year or so. Remain patient and diligent in your efforts and it will pay off in the long run. 

Hire Priority can assist you in your efforts, connecting you with professionals who are looking for work. All of our potential candidates are pre-screened in order to connect them with the right fit. Contact us today to see how we can help with your hiring needs.

Posted in Hiring Tips, Management Advice | Tagged , , , |

Creative Ideas for your Employee Referral Program

Lately, we have discussed a lot of the difficulties of hiring in today’s world. Creating a referral program may be exactly what your business has been missing. Referrals are one of the most effective and cost-efficient methods for finding valuable employees. Compared to skimming resumes, it will give you a much more personal inside scoop to a potential hire. This technique also offers the multifamily industry an advantage that no others have to offer: residents.

Creative Perks 

It’s easy to offer straight-up cash for your existing team members. But, establishing a more creative employment referral program just might be the key to finding your next great employee. Not only can you request referrals from your employees, but from within your community as well. Here are some of our favorite creative perks to revamp your hiring process!

  1. Quarterly Drawings

Turning your referral program into a game is a great way to boost employee and community involvement. Quarterly drawings or raffles are fun and will entice residents and employees to be on the lookout. You may even attract multiple great referrals from a single source. You’ll never know the connections people can offer unless you ask.

Offering entries for each referral offered or extra tickets for those who make it to the interview process is a great form of encouragement. Your prizes can be things such as concert tickets or gift cards, and even Fitbits or tablets. This is a fun and creative way to attract interest while still having control over your budget. 

  1. Experiences

While financial perks are a more “practical” option, many people would prefer the chance of an experience. It forces them to get out, interact and create memories they otherwise may not have considered. Getting creative with the experiences you offer may also entice people to offer multiple referrals. Feel free to tier what is being offered. For example:

  • 1 Referral = 2 Movie Passes or Dining Gift Card
  • 5 Referrals = A Massage/Spa or Gym Gear
  • 10 Referrals = Concert Tickets
  • 20 Referrals = Theme Park Tickets or Tickets to a Unique Experience 
  1. Charitable Donation

You may be surprised at how many people prefer this option to receiving cash. It allows them to show support for a passionate cause and make an actual difference. It can also be a way to show support to a cause that your community finds a passion for as well. And, as a bonus, charitable donations are a great tax deduction for any business.

  1. Extra Vacation Time

We understand that this option is more specifically for your employees, but felt it was important to mention it. Employees tend to appreciate extra paid time off more than most perks an employer can offer. This is a surefire way to persuade your staff to be searching for the right fit to join the team. It will also add a perk when selling your company to their referrals. 

Conclusion

Having fun with your employee referral programs will allow your teams and community to enjoy it as well. Though we have offered a few ideas, get creative. The options are truly endless. Create a program that’s unique to your property or company, and don’t be afraid to try new ideas. There are several ways you can structure these programs and even more ways to help attract participation. Be bold in getting the word out and make sure to expand your marketing throughout your properties for even more involvement. This could be the missing piece to finding your next great hire!

Hire Priority understands that finding qualified applicants can be a challenge. We are here to help. We can assist you in all your hiring needs, and also offer tips and suggestions to help you build lasting teams. Have you found a potential new hire? Check out out our payroll services!

Posted in Hiring Tips, Management Advice | Tagged , , |

Staying Connected in a Remote Environment

Roughly one year ago, companies across the globe were forced to accept and implement work-from-home strategies. Today, remote work is expected to continue despite the huge strides that have been made in tackling the pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, remote work had already seen a steady increase with an estimated 4.7 million people already in some sort of at-home work environment.

Due to the pandemic, roughly 56.8% of workers will remain in a work-from-home arrangement throughout 2021. With better work and home life balances and reduction of overhead costs, companies plan to continue these remote solutions. It is anticipated that 36.2 million Americans will remain in remote situations through 2025.

This, however, leads us to the burning question: How best to stay connected while working remotely?

By now, most of us are familiar with online messaging services like Slack, Microsoft Teams, GroupMe, and Google Hangouts. And let’s not forget to mention the immediate popularity of Zoom Video Chats. These all offer wonderful solutions, but they are not one-size-fits-all options. In face-forward industries like multifamily, it can be difficult to come up with creative alternatives for staying connected. Not only for your teams, but for your communities too.  First, let’s take a look at the operational side of things.

Tips for Keeping Your Multifamily Professionals Engaged

Make Video Interactions Mandatory

This one may seem a bit obvious. But, you would be surprised at how many people will do just about ANYTHING to avoid being on video. Unfortunately, in today’s world, this simply isn’t an option. Face-to-face conversations are key in business. Video offers interaction in a world where our time together is limited. Genuinely healthy face-to-face connection simply doesn’t exist through other forms of remote communication.

Assign Visibility Buddies

It is easy to get lost in your own world while working from home. For many people, the hardest part is the fact that you experience very little encouragement or interaction with others. It has been found that when team members are paired up, great things can happen. When linking arms with one another and cheering each other on, support and encouragement can be more easily achieved. It can sometimes feel like bragging when you share your accomplishments in a group environment. But, through one-on-one relationships, that dynamic can change entirely. Studies have found that continuous positive reinforcement is a highly beneficial practice.

Company Contests and Challenges

Over the last year or so, virtual socialization has become more widely accepted. But who says this practice has to be limited to social circles? Aside from obvious happy hours or lunch meet-ups, employers can create fun contests and challenges to keep employees engaged. Contest ideas can include “best ugly holiday sweater”, “best  costume,” and even “funniest pet or child moments while working from home,” or “most creative work from home set up.” Health and fitness challenges have also gained popularity in recent years, and have only increased in popularity throughout the pandemic. Keeping your office staff feeling like a team is imperative to keeping remote atmospheres positive and successful.

Now it’s time to talk about a completely different level of issues that have impacted the multifamily industry: Staying connected with your residents.

Ideas For Keeping Communities Engaged

Create a Social Media Page or Online Chat Board

Providing a safe space for residents to interact is a wonderful way to keep neighbors connected. It also helps keep them up-to-date on the latest happenings within their community. It offers a great place for management to advertise events, notify residents of community-wide maintenance, and to post important announcements. Conducting polls is another great way for residents to offer input and answer questions you may have for your community. Assigning a mediator will help keep your page or board a safe environment by watching out for any inappropriate posts. And, many communities have found this to be an incredibly successful way to keep everyone engaged and informed.

Create Community Virtual Events

Due to the pandemic, roughly 56.8% of workers will remain in a work-from-home arrangement throughout 2021. With better work and home life balances and reduction of overhead costs, companies plan to continue these remote solutions. It is anticipated that 36.2 million Americans will remain in remote situations through 2025.

Start a Community Newsletter

Newsletters are a great way to help residents stay up-to-date with community events, and hot topics. You can invite your residents to submit stories or request topics of interest. You could highlight birthdays, special events, or create a pet corner – I mean, who doesn’t love sharing cute photos of their furry loved ones? Posting accomplishments and positivity can also help you create the tone you want your community to have.

Just remember: Staying connected with your multifamily staff and residences can be accomplished. We’ve all had to get a little bit more creative during the pandemic, and we at Hire Priority can help. We take the time to provide ideas to both our clients and job hopefuls, and want to help you too. Want to learn more about our services? Check us out today!

Posted in Career Blog Categories, Management Advice | Tagged , |