Hering noted that clients are also interested in relocating to a state with lower taxes because a lot of companies are allowing people to permanently work from home. “So, we talk to them about the impact of moving from California to Texas or Florida or Washington, places that have lower state taxes and what that means for their lifestyle,” he said, noting that one of the questions he poses is, “If you are used to being in a big city and now you are going to a remote area, do you really understand the choices and some of the changes that you are making, and is it worth it just for the tax break?”

The Jobs Angle
Many people might also see this as a time to look for new job opportunities and salary increases. Hering said some clients have approached his firm about negotiating a compensation increase because they have been working hard or getting a lot of calls from recruiters and want to take advantage of the situation while they are in demand.

The loss of workers has left many employers, like some of Lori Van Dusen’s small business clients, struggling to fill positions. Van Dusen, founder and CEO of LVW Advisors in Rochester, N.Y., knows her clients are in difficult situations, but she cautions them not to be so quick to hire somebody, because one bad hire can kill their culture, she said. Instead, she coaches them to consider “out-of-the box things” like temporarily outsourcing certain jobs until the right candidates can be found.

“The business process outsourcing business is huge, depending on what the role [is]. If you are trying to focus on a higher quality experience for your customer and you are struggling with lower-end jobs, that might be something you want to do,” she said. “Sometimes it makes sense if the job is not critical to the culture.”

Van Dusen, who serves on several community organization boards focusing on urban education, health and wellness, is also the chair of the Monroe Community College Foundation’s board of directors. She said she has had conversations with clients about partnering with the college and other educational organizations to develop programs for special skills. This kind of coaching, she said, was especially helpful for a client of hers who runs an HVAC business.

“There is a ton of opportunity with community colleges in every community. It’s a resource to put people in touch with to help solve the workforce problem,” she said. “It doesn’t solve the problem today, but it could solve it in two years.”   

Van Dusen said Covid has caused permanent behavioral changes, and companies are going to have to find ways to satisfy the things that matter to workers. She said she advises her clients on building a culture that will invite people to join their company. “And if you pick the right hire and you enrich their experience and think about not only the short term but the long-term career growth—coaching, mentoring, offering [a] tuition assistance program, compensation programs—all of these things matter,” she said. “And so, when I am talking to business owners, I am speaking from my own experience as well, trying to put my foot into their shoes.”

Workers, she said, are not just looking for more money. “Everybody thinks it’s a money thing, but it’s really way more than that. It’s an enriched experience,” she said.

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