by Bonita Tillman

Anyone shopping retail today knows that the labor market is tough. Some stores have moved to self-checkout aisles, restaurants cannot fill their tables because they are short on servers and customers generally wait in longer lines for service.

Bank of America hosted a forum May 2 at the St. Louis Zoo on "Work: Front & Center" to discuss key trends impacting talent and hear how St. Louis businesses keep current employees and attract new ones.

"Talent is truly the holy grail of business growth and calls for an ever-evolving workforce strategy," said Marilyn Bush, market executive and St. Louis president, Bank of America. "We have to continue to work towards engaging our associates and really making our organizations a great place to work."

Bank of America continues to look for innovative ways to retain its workforce, including its commitment to take its minimum hourly wage from the current $22 to $25 by 2025, Bush added. But wages are only one part of the equation.

Moderator and keynote speaker Julianne Donatelli, managing director and National Retirement Plan sales executive for Bank of America, cited the bank's Workplace Benefits Report that helps employers identify workforce trends and issues. Survey results indicate that:

  • 62% of employees feel stressed financially and are looking for help from their employer.
  • 75% of employers believe that diversity and inclusion is critical to retain talent.
  • 79% of companies integrate neurodiversity into recruiting protocols or plan to over the next three years.

"It's our mission to help you optimize the health of your workforce financially, physically and emotionally, so hopefully these tactical strategies will resonate with you," Donatelli said.

Joining the discussion were Meg Brown, vice president of human resources, Cambridge Air Solutions; Ann Cuiellette Marr, executive vice president of global human resources, World Wide Technology; Krisi Schell, executive vice president of HR, SRC Holdings; April Lopinot, chief people officer, Keeley Construction; and Justin Woodard, president and CEO, Woodard Cleaning & Restoration.


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