The Latest in HR Strategies: the Race for Frontline Employees is On!

frontline employees engaging

Are you a frontline-driven organization? Then you've got a talent problem. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports hundreds of thousands of open retail and food positions -- an increase of more than 100,000 vacancies over last year...per industry. And with a continually sinking unemployment rate, things won't brighten any time soon. As a Business Insider headline put it, "The unemployment rate has fallen to a 48-year low, and it's terrifying."

HR Strategies for Frontlines: Dependent Care as the Next Frontier

No surprise that attempts to appeal to frontlines are rising above mere salary. What started with regular announcements about tuition assistance and career development has morphed into daily proclamations about frontline-focused 401ks, discounts, and back-up care and benefits to help employees take care of their families. And dependent care is the next frontier:

  • Employees at Apple are eligible for up to 10 days of back-up care per calendar year.
  • Home Depot offers up to 10 days of back-up care per calendar year.
Need more? The latest news shows a well-known food retailer following Apple and Home Depot into the dependent care arena. Some retailers, like Home Depot, offer on-site child care as well. "With consumer confidence at a near 18-year high," reported NBC News recently on the race for retail employees, "employers are now offering unprecedented incentives." And not just for full-time people. NBC also reports an arms race for highly sought-after holiday workers, with individual employers looking to hire hundreds of thousands of people...each.

The Race to Engage Frontlines

Such news follows multiple employers stepping up to engage frontlines with education and career opportunities. And those initiatives are already having a clear impact, with one of our clients dropping call-center turnover considerably below the 43% national average, and another increasing retention by almost 8%. Family benefits as an HR strategy marks the natural next step. And the rationale is unmistakable. As the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Peter Saleh told Business Insider, "You've got an environment where, really, the economy is strong. People are trading up into better jobs. There aren't as many employees or capable employees to do the jobs these companies need."

What's clear is that some of the nation's most coveted employers are raising the bar. And in the ultra-competitive quest for people, where the employees go to the best benefits, the question employers need to ask themselves isn't whether to energize benefits...but which competitors will be doing so next?

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.