Worker happiness key to worker retention, experts say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois Chamber of Commerce held a seminar Tuesday offering advice to employers as they continue to build back at the end of the pandemic.

They key advice given was keeping the people you already have is vital, and keeping them happy is vital to getting them to stay.


"The cost of acquiring a new employee is substantial. So keeping the ones you've got is very important," said Todd Maisch, ICC.

At Spizzico and Senor Jefe restaurants in Elmwood Park, they are always busy, and keeping them going is the work of longtime employees. Keeping those employees around is the job of general manager Frank Pellegrino.

"Making the job easier, paying them well," he said were his methods of making sure he retained his long-time employees. "Giving them days off, taking care of them, just like family."

The pandemic has created several challenges for Laura Horwitz, whose company hires childcare workers. Not only is it challenging to find employees but there is greater demand than ever for childcare. She is offering numerous perks.


"We've had to be more aggressive, sell ourselves, so they know the benefits of working for us," she said.

The demand is also great for those who work in offices, and many of those employees are now commanding higher salaries and greater flexibility.

"If you want to obtain the top talent, not only do you have to pay above market, you have to offer a hybrid schedule. Otherwise you'll have all your employees dusting off their resumes," said Jason Wachtel, recruitment expert.

Of course there is no hybrid work in the restaurant business. The kitchen employees at Spizzico and Senor Jefe have been here at least 17 years. The secret, they say, is keeping them happy.
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