How to Coax More Work From Your Existing Workforce

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in December revealed that employers are filling jobs at a slower rate than expected. But this does not mean someone Don’t pick up the slack. In the same data set, the rise in total hours worked has offset the economy by adding more than 630,000 new jobs, economist Dean Baker explains in an analysis by the Center for Economics and Policy Research.

So how do companies convince workers to take more hours – and can they do so ethically and fairly?

everything Compensation, in the broadest sense of the word, says Columbia Business School professor Adam Galinsky. “They have a responsibility to provide two kinds of benefits to individuals,” he says. “The first is a sense of status and gratitude. The second is compensation, like a reward.” But it’s not quite as simple as asking your employees to do extra work – there are ways you can fairly increase the productivity of your existing team.

be respectful

When workload expectations are already well established, moving target posts is unsuccessful. Alternatively, a simple subtract (along with additional compensation) can go a long way, especially for experienced employees. Consider it an essential test of your company culture. “A lot depends on a person’s current relationship with the company. If they do business with the company, and they’re faced with a hands-on situation on deck, they’re more likely to step in during this emergency,” he says.

You need to communicate your strategy and maintain a strong level of transparency: explain why additional help is needed, how long you expect to need the extra work, and what steps you are taking to reduce the need in the future (as if you’re re-evaluating your business requirements or hiring Actively new talents). “People like to know about the plan and the contingency that is being created,” Galinsky adds.

Pay, but creatively

When he couldn’t find enough workers to fill shifts, Jason Day, managing owner of 12 restaurants at Penn Station East Coast Subs in the Nashville area, raised hourly wages across the board by $2 And Establish a new graduated pay structure that rewards employees for additional workloads. Hourly crew workers who work less than 25 hours a week now earn $11 an hour, while those who average more than 25 hours a week earn $13 an hour. But those who log more than 30 hours per week are boosted to $15 per week. Specifically as franchise locations struggle with retaining workers, Day saw the pay change as an opportunity to improve operations. “There is a reward if you are asked to do more,” he says. “We’ve been doing that for six months, and it has definitely helped us retain and even recruit.”

Zachary Smith, founder of Bay Area Zachary Smith Arboriculture, also introduced a new financial stimulus for shift workers last summer. While permanent budget increases weren’t long-term, he kicked off the “overtime overtime” feature: for overtime, employees get time and a half And You get an extra five dollars an hour. Many (but not all) began to carry out additional work, which allowed the company to meet the growing demand for its services. Smith considers additional labor cost a worthwhile investment: “All owners are afraid to raise wages faster than their competitors for fear of becoming too expensive. But we sell the work, and customers in this market are eager to spend.”

Galinsky adds that surprise bonuses and other perks such as extra days off can also help employees feel valued. But when it comes to improved financial benefits, clarity is key: If a bonus is a one-time thing, make sure employees are aware, lest you set a precedent that leads to future disappointment. “There is a lot of research that shows that if you add some kind of financial benefit to people and then remove that, it is much worse than adding it in the first place,” he says.


Flexible working arrangements have grown in popularity over the course of the pandemic, and not just for salaried employees. Offering easy hours to reschedule for shift workers can improve their flexibility, say Little Spoon founders Ben Lewis and Lisa Barnett. The baby food company’s customer service staff is largely part-time and hourly employed—many of whom are parents. Little Spoon didn’t push this team to take more hours, but it did find that flexible scheduling greatly benefited productivity and retention.

A good deal of planning is required to offer this kind of flexibility, however, to keep your bases covered. “At this point, with our scale, we can generally predict our customer inquiry flow on any given day,” Lewis says. “There have been unexpected surges, but they are very rare – and we’ve had senior managers and other people on the team respond to clients before if needed.” In addition to retaining part-time customer service staff, Little Spoon has also seen a high rate of these employees transitioning to full-time employment.

With all of these incentives, business leaders can improve productivity to make up for the labor shortage — but a strong company culture, above all, is key. “If you’re not providing a good workplace that people enjoy coming to, you’re going to be standing there on your own,” Day says.

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