The Labor Shortage Strikes Again

I’ve used the same home cleaning service for over a decade. They’ve been reliable, and their quality’s been consistent. I’ve been a happy customer. A few months back, the owner told me that the team servicing my home would be transitioning out of the company. They decided to go back to school and become software engineers. I was excited for them and wished them well. The company assigned another team to my home and things went on as normal.

This week, the owner of the company reached out to let me know that he’s been dealing with a worsening labor shortage. It’s gotten to a point where he won’t be able to keep my upcoming cleaning date. He’s hoping to add more team members and be able to service my home in a few weeks, but he has concerns, given the labor market. He’s historically paid his team the highest rates in the industry and has increased their pay recently, but even that isn’t enough to retain people in this market.

I’ve been trying to learn about the problem from the perspectives of various people on the front lines over the last few months (see here and here). Now I’ll have my own firsthand experience as a customer.

From everything I’ve seen and learned so far, I think this problem will get a lot worse. What matters to people has changed drastically. Pay is important, but it’s not the main motivator for a lot of people. Until employers understand what matters to people and incorporate it into hiring and retaining people, they’ll have labor struggles.