As more and more people get vaccinated, demand for in person restaurant dining has increased. However, the industry faces a serious labor shortage which has compromised its ability to meet the demands of their eager customers. Currently, over 25% of restaurant operators rated recruitment and retention as their biggest challenge. Due to fewer people in the workforce, stimulus supports still in place, rising worker safety concerns and much greater competition with other industries for workers, operators are returning to pre-pandemic recruitment techniques for hiring. These include higher hourly pay rates, additional benefits and professional development opportunities, among others.
See Ronnie Koenig, "People are vaccinated and ready to dine out — but restaurants say they can't find workers", Today, April 22, 2021
The U.S. jobs market recovery accelerated its pace last week as fewer Americans headed to the unemployment line. First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 547,000. The number was well below the Dow Jones estimate of 603,000 first-time claims. Additionally, the total recorded a new low for the covid-19 pandemic era. With Covid cases declining and more states relaxing business restrictions, companies again are looking to hire ahead of what is expected to be a summer of close-to-normal activity across the U.S.
See Jeff Cox, "Jobless claims fall again as employment picture gains strength", CNBC News, April 22, 2021
General Motors is taking a new and surprisingly simple approach to its return to work strategy for employees: “Work appropriately.” The plan stresses flexibility and is constantly evolving. GM’s remote work plan is a play off the company’s simplified dress code that is comprised of two words: “Dress appropriately.” Such flexible and ambiguous policies are meant to empower GM’s leaders to take responsibility for their departments and employees. GM recently held 52 workshops for 1,100 company leaders to lay out its remote work initiative, according to officials. Each leader will work with their employees to determine what is an appropriate work schedule.
See Micheal Wayland, "GM’s new remote work plan for employees is ambiguous, yet surprisingly simple: ‘Work appropriately’", CNBC News, April 20, 2021
David Yarnold, the CEO of environmental group the National Audubon Society, is stepping down under a "mutual agreement," coming on the heels of an internal audit into its workplace culture that resulted from revelations first reported by politico. Yarnold is exiting an organization he helmed for nearly 11 years, leaving behind an organization that faced charges of permitting an atmosphere marked by systemic racism, gender discrimination, intimidation and threats. The resignation comes from a tumultuous tenure of handling employee outcry over racial injustice within the company.
See Zack Colman , "Audubon CEO Resigns After Complaints of Toxic Workplace", Politico, April 20, 2021
Facebook has announced that its workers can continue to work from home. People in eligible roles at Facebook can apply for permanent remote working, subject to approval from managers. Silicon Valley executives were quick to endorse the shift to remote work last year, with many indicating it could continue even after the pandemic.
Last May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicted 50% of the company's employees could be working remotely within the next five to ten years. The social media giant insists the shift to remote work is not about saving costs. However, it has also hinted that remote workers might receive lower pay, depending on where they choose to live and work.
See Nina Nanji, "Facebook: Our staff can carry on working from home after Covid", BBC News, April 19, 2021
Advocacy group One Fair Wage is suing Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants, alleging the company’s tipping policy encourages sexual harassment and racial discrimination against its waitstaff. The complaint, was filed in California federal court, is the latest case in the battle against the tipped minimum wage. Currently in 43 states, employers can pay their workers as little as $2.13 an hour as long as that hourly wage and tips add up to the locality’s pay floor. Otherwise, the employer has to make up the difference. The complaint asserts that servers who are paid less than the minimum wage experience more sexual harassment than waitstaff who work in localities that require Darden to pay them the minimum wage, based on a recent survey completed by One Fair Wage.
See Amelia Lucas, "Lawsuit alleges Olive Garden parent’s tipping policy causes racial discrimination, sexual harassment in latest push against tipped minimum wage", CNBC News , April 19, 2021
As travel demand returns, airlines are shifting their focus back toward hiring again. Pilot training can often be time-consuming and costly. For this reason, airlines typically plan years in advance to handle peak summer travel seasons ahead. United airlines told staff that it plans to resume pilot hiring. United will start with the some 300 pilots that had a new-hire date or conditional job offer when Covid-19 derailed those plans last year.
See Leslie Josephs, "As Americans start traveling again, airlines revive pilot hiring plans", CNBC News, April 19, 2021
Ford Motor says it will begin phasing in a new remote-office work model. The plan is one of the first in the auto industry. It will give tens of thousands of employees the option to continue doing their jobs from home indefinitely. The Dearborn, Michigan-based carmaker announced the new policy during a virtual town hall meeting one year after it sent workers home to wait out the pandemic . The policy will apply to all non-place-dependent workers. The balance between remote and in-person work will depend on the individual employee’s needs and those of their manager.
See Hannah Denham, "Ford gives 30,000 employees the option to work from home forever, another sign of workforce transformation", The Seattle Times, April 16, 2021
Back in mid-January, the Mets fired general manager Jared Porter for sending unsolicited, sexually explicit images to a female reporter. What followed was a sport-wide examination of clubhouse culture. More has since come to light, including the involvement of former Mets manager Mickey Callaway that extended back to his days in Cleveland. On Friday, The Athletic published an article on the "rotten" culture inside the Mets' operations.
See Dennis Young, "Sandy Alderson, Mets skewered in new report on workplace sexual harassment", NY Daily News, April 16, 2021
In his final letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos outlined a broad vision for the future of the company. The vision included a strong commitment to extend Amazon’s famous obsession over its customers to the same level of care for its employees. Bezos pointed to the recent union election outcome at one of Amazon’s Alabama warehouses as an example of why the company needs to address challenges within its workforce. Last week, Amazon secured enough votes to defeat a historic unionization drive at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, which if successful would have represented the first union at a U.S. Amazon facility.
See Annie Palms, "Jeff Bezos says Amazon needs to do a better job for employees in his final shareholder letter as CEO", CNBC News, April 15, 2021