1.2% Wake-Up Call: Resourceful Employers Respond to Rising Labor Costs (Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin)

The numbers are in, and they're telling a story every employer needs to hear. Last quarter, the Employment Cost Index (ECI) rose by 1.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, putting pressure on businesses across industries. From the corner office to customer service desks, companies are feeling the squeeze of rising labor costs.

But here's the thing: this challenge is also an opportunity. Resourceful employers should recognize that surviving in such environments is about investing, not cutting. What does that mean? It means investing in strategies that will drive long-term growth and success, instead of just cutting costs for short-term gain.

One strategy that is gaining traction quickly is fractional leadership. Imagine being able to tap into the expertise of a seasoned C-suite executive, but on a flexible, part-time basis that aligns with your budget and needs. That's the power of fractional leadership—a terrific solution for companies looking to adapt without sacrificing growth.

Let's look at some real-life examples. A startup that's ready to scale but is having a hard time justifying the cost of a full-time marketing executive brings in a fractional CMO, providing them with the leadership and expertise they need to take their marketing and business to the next level—without breaking the bank. Or consider a growing company navigating complex financial challenges. A fractional CFO provides strategic financial guidance to steer the company through choppy waters, without the overhead of a full-time executive.

But fractional leadership is just the beginning. Forward-thinking companies are also embracing strategies like leveraging generative AI and AI augmentation to boost retention and productivity. I enjoyed reading this article that Eric Holtzclaw from the B2B marketing firm Liger Partners recently reposted about how his business saved 40 hours and an estimated $7,500 using generative AI in just the first 30 days.

Another creative use of AI is in predictive workforce planning. By analyzing data on employee performance, engagement, and turnover, AI algorithms can help HR teams anticipate future staffing needs and proactively address potential gaps, reducing the costs associated with reactive hiring and training.

Other innovative solutions include implementing skill-based pay models that reward employees for acquiring and applying new skills, rather than just longevity. This strategy helps attract and retain top talent and encourages continuous learning and adaptability.

The key thread running through here? A willingness to think differently, to experiment, and innovate in the face of challenges. The 1.2% increase in the ECI doesn't have to be a roadblock. It can be a signpost, pointing towards new opportunities and new ways of working.

So, if you're an employer feeling the squeeze of rising labor costs, don't panic. Instead, take a deep breath and start thinking more creatively. Explore fractional leadership, increase the use of AI, utilize predictive workforce planning, skill-based pay, and other innovative strategies. Embrace the challenge as an opportunity to build a stronger, more agile, and ultimately, more successful organization.

Written by Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin, Fractional CMO for B2B and B2B2C Healthcare,  https://www.linkedin.com/in/bonnikdewoskin/


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