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How to Attract and Retain Workers Amid Labor Shortage


The lack of part-time and seasonal staffing has become the most significant challenge in a high-stakes game between local and national businesses across industries, fielding a lack of job applicants. I’m sure you’ve seen the surplus of “Help Wanted” signs at restaurants and retailers in your cities.

Demand for a living wage tops the growing wish list for per diem employees in the restaurant and retail space. But, unfortunately, the average minimum wage in the U.S. is tough to live on, let alone take on  today’s economy. And after such a rough year, many workers are considering their options.

Workers have an unprecedented opportunity to negotiate with employers to secure company benefits like a decent wage, paid sick leave and a 401(k), in line with their corporate counterparts. President Biden’s recent remarks on the June Jobs Report suggest that employers will need to meet applicants’ expectations for “higher wages and…the demand to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.”

The Road to Happiness

Nearly 63% of respondents to The Happiness Report prioritized communication and empathy, with 56% “receiving benefits like health insurance and paid time off” as a close second in their needs to be happy in their work. Perhaps inspired by these sentiments and others, some companies have risen to the occasion by offering incentives to their part-time and seasonal employees, including signing bonuses. The industry is also seeing big retailers like WalmartUnder ArmourBest Buy, Target and Southwest Airlines increasing the hourly wages of their workers.

How to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Based on Glassdoors’ 2021 Best Companies to Work list, several retail and hospitality businesses rank high within the Top 25. We highlight some of their best practices for attracting and retaining top talent below:

  • The Vans® footwear company recently launched its first sustainable shoe collection made from vegan-friendly materials. With a nod to its mission of promoting creative self-expression through youth, its founder Paul Van Doren believed “people are the key in everything we do” and set out to create an inclusive culture revered by its employees. The retailer offers flexible work schedules and matching 401(k) contributions.
  • In-n-Out Burger’s CEO, Lynsi Snyder, strives to create a quality experience for both employees and customers. Snyder held to its mission throughout the pandemic, moving forward with business plans and expansion efforts to increase new hires for its popular drive-throughs. This year, the regional chain expanded its business east into Colorado, where it hired 130 new employees and increased hiring across its 363 locations with a starting hourly rate of $14.50.
  • Texas grocer H-E-B, which stands for Here, Everyone Belongs, considers each employee a partner and whether they are part- or full-time, awards stock options and health benefits on day one. With over 420 stores in Texas and Mexico, the company also offers commuter benefits, tuition reimbursement and matches a percentage of 401(k) contributions.

Celebrate Youth!

The Department of Labor reported a significant increase in May, as over 33% of teenaged Americans joined the workforce. The hospitality and retail sectors hire the most teens, with more than a third (35.1%) representing the estimated 5.4 million teens employed last summer.

Tapping the creator economy for new hires, TikTok’s pilot program ‘TikTok Resumes‘ leverages the trend of video creation as a utility recruitment channel for brands like Target and Chipotle. Creators are encouraged to authentically showcase their personality, skill sets and experiences in video-based resumes of up to three minutes in length, efficiently connecting hiring managers to potential candidates faster.

What is the Long-Tail for Future Hires?

According to The Demographic Drought Report conducted by Emsi, on the future of the U.S. workforce, the rise and fall of specific U.S. demographics will have long-lasting effects over the next generation with far more significant impact than the ripple effects of the pandemic. Their findings highlight baby boomer retirees and a declining U.S. national birth rate together with the sizable decrease of labor force participation by prime-age (25-54) Americans compounding talent shortages long-term. Are we as humans accelerating more need for robotics?

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Anjee Solanki

National Director, Retail Services & Practice Groups

San Francisco


In Anjee’s current role, as National Retail Director for the USA, she has developed strong relationships and strategic leadership to over 500 + retail professional nationally across 140 markets within Colliers for Investment Sales, Agency, Retailer Rep, and Retail Asset & Property Management.

Anjee Solanki brings 30 years of focused retail real estate experience to Colliers International.  She provides strategic retail advisory services to enhance value for her clients with her expertise in lifestyle, community, power center, neighborhood, mixed-use retail/residential, and resort retail. 

She has developed and manages strong working relationships with institutional and private clients such as State of Florida, State of Michigan, Heitman, Invesco, Grosvenor Americas, American Realty Advisors, TH Realty, PNC, and Zurich to name a few.

Her strategy identifies current market and property inefficiencies to capture untapped value through asset repositioning, releasing, redevelopment, rehabilitation, proactive management, and enhanced marketing. 

Creative problem-solving is her specialty, and she becomes a key stakeholder with national and international retailers, such as JPMC, Opry City Stage/Ole Red and Tim Hortons, and many others. Her highly focused approach reduces the risk profile and provides clients with a thoughtful approach executing strategic multi-year planning initiatives. 


Previously, Anjee served as Executive Vice President, Retail Services for Madison Marquette. She successfully assisted with repositioning community centers to lifestyle projects and identified opportunities to create value, resulting in higher returns for her clients. She also provided strategic analysis on complex redevelopment projects to address both the asset’s financial stabilization and/or the client’s exit strategy


Anjee continues to be an insatiable collector of all things retail. She’s a student of culture living next door to future shoppers, whose fleeting trends constantly change the retail landscape … driving retailers, landlords and developers crazy! Read her Blog at: 


Anjee is originally from Southern California and currently resides in San Francisco.  She is active in the Rincon Hill neighborhood residential improvement group, which participates in the public review of the highly anticipated Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco.

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