Lindsay McCutchen Talks Current Workforce


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November 30, 2021

Rotary Club Talk, 2021

Lindsay McCutchen, founder, and CEO of Career Start established in 2007 has over 5,000 employees nationwide. Career Start won RBJ’s 2021 Largest Women-Owned Business. For six consecutive years, it has won Greater Rochester Chamber’s Top 100 ranking. It has joined the Inc. 5000 list along with the fastest-growing women-owned business list in America. Although her pilot program was aimed at moving people from public assistance to the workforce, it has evolved into hyper-growth staffing and workforce management firm.

With the labor market in such a tailspin right now, job openings are a dime a dozen. Leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, part-time, full-time – you name it – the current job market is tight with a plethora of job openings. Lindsay has a lot to say about the situation. Read on for a summary of her talk:

Over the past five years, you’ve heard buzzwords – Level up your culture, make sure you have employee engagement, work-life balance. This was happening “BC”, before COVID. Then you’ve seen the millennials and baby boomers clash. Baby boomers are saying millennials don’t want to work anymore and millennials are saying they’ve seen their parents work all their lives, but they don’t want to waste their life doing the same thing. Neither one is right or wrong, but there is a middle ground. The companies who are playing the middle ground are the ones winning the talent. 

Everyone has heard of Uber, Instacart, GrubHub, and Doordash. These companies came in and gave people with a driver’s license a taste of freedom and entrepreneurship. It gave them instant cash and the ability to work when they wanted to. All of a sudden, working for minimum wage or working behind a machine with set hours was no longer enticing. These apps have given them the buzzwords that we had heard early on. 

These jobs were available before COVID. Then COVID hit. Businesses started to learn how to still run efficiently with fewer people. People are working from home, kids are home from school. Some couples realized this was the push they needed to get one parent out of the workforce. As a result, 18% did not return. 

In comes the stimulus checks. For some, this was just what they needed to say goodbye to their jobs. For others, it was an entrepreneurial jump start because they had a lump sum of cash to get started on something new. In addition, we have unemployment and in some instances, it’s paying more money than their jobs so it becomes nonsensical for them to go back to work. Although well-intentioned, it produced mass disruption in the workforce. On top of that, tax returns came back so some people were making more money than they ever had. Then, in comes the second round of stimulus checks. Along with all this, there is rent forgiveness. 

So what are employers doing to attract new hires? Wages were raised en masse across the country. What resulted was a powershift across all areas of the workforce – from laborers to C-level executives. The COVID pause made them realize what mattered most in life and it wasn’t their job. They had time while at home to search for new jobs. Some businesses received PPP funding and some skyrocketed during COVID. As a result, those businesses needed more labor, more personnel. So supply and demand put us in a competitive landscape. 

We gave the millennials the balance they needed. The economy gave people freedom and flexibility by way of the pandemic. It caused the perfect shift. If that isn’t enough, we now have a hospital system that is mandating vaccines. UR Medicine is Rochester’s biggest employer. We already have a nursing shortage. 

What do we do? How do we capture more employees and retain the ones that we have?

  1. Look into your compensation structure. Hire an outside firm or have your HR do marketing analysis to benchmark the pay of other companies.  Look at the entire package and account for compression (existing employees making the same as employees entering because of the increased wage). 
  1. Consider the hybrid approach. Surveys show this is what most people would like. This is what new hires are looking for – flexibility in work hours and office hours. Let it be known.
  1. Tell everybody you raised your wages. 
  1. Train your managers – people skills to retain their workforce.
  1. Maintain a safe workplace. COVID is not over. People are leaving jobs because they don’t feel safe.

These are just some things we could deploy. 

For more information on what services we offer you as an employer, visit our website at Career Start’s Solutions for Employers






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