Companies are looking for a more creative way to recruit and retain talented employees after 4 million American workers quit their jobs every month in the last half of 2021. The newest benefit some companies are experimenting with is a four-day workweek.
To combat the “Great Resignation,” companies like Panasonic and Bolt, a San Francisco-based e-commerce developer, are trying to offer something that’s unique that employees value, and that helps make their companies standout as an employer, according to Ben Friedrich, an associate professor of Strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
“I think there might be some workers that particularly value a short workweek. Workers who take care of children, or take care of elderly family members,” said Friedrich.
“Attracting these workers could boost productivity and it might actually also help create, I think, a more diverse and inclusive working environment. So, I think it has additional benefits to the company,” he added.
U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh researched what would help American workers find good jobs and how companies could retain them for the Biden administration.
“Workers are seeking better opportunities in ways we haven’t seen in decades. They are looking for opportunities to learn the skills they need. They want a seat at the table,” Walsh said in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
“They are demanding better pay, safer working conditions, more benefits and flexibility. They want to provide security for their families, now more than ever. And they also want to be able to spend time with them,” he added.
But not everybody thinks the four-day workweek is the way to give workers the flexibility they seek.
“There are different types of people, and so often, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, so you have employees who will say really loudly, ‘I’m more productive from home, why do we have to come in,’ or, ‘I can do it in four days, why do I have to do it in five?’ But, you have a lot of people who like the continuity of how it is. They don’t want to work four ten-hour days,” said Tom Gimbel, the founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a national staffing and recruiting firm.
Both Ben Friedrich and Tom Gimbel join the discussion of the pros and cons of a four-day workweek on “Chicago Tonight.”