BILLINGS — Nationwide, a worker shortage is hurting many businesses, including those in Billings.
At Cabela’s, in hopes to incentivize people in the community to apply, the store is offering new hire bonuses.
- RELATED: Worker shortage impacting MT small businesses
- RELATED: Flathead labor shortage leads to restaurant delays, closures
Nicole Pugliano, general manager for the outdoor store in Billings, said Thursday afternoon that these bonuses have never been offered in her 18 years with the company.
“As you've seen on everywhere, you know there's hiring crunches everywhere and we are just trying to make sure that people who enjoy the outdoors, know that we are looking for people to hire. We obviously love what we do here, and we want people to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle to come and work with us and have fun with us,” said Pugliano.
Cabela’s is offering a $750 sign-on bonus for new hires. This bonus applies to all applicants, full or part-time, who are hired before July 1.
According to Cabela’s, new hires will receive $250 after 30 days of work and $500 after 120 days. Team members will also receive merchandise discounts, competitive wages, time off, and health, dental and life insurance programs for eligible employees.
While big-name retailers and restaurant chains are able to offer higher wages and bonuses, locally owned businesses don't have the same resources.
Kal’s Chicken Coop in Billings has struggled to find workers since opening earlier this year, but in the last month, they have received zero applications.
Marion Roney, general manager for the restaurant, said that at first, people would apply, but that is where the process would stop.
“I've gone through quite a few interviews. There are many people who apply and they'll go through all of the motions of asking who's going to interview them and where the interview takes place and then just don't show up. So, we will have things planned to hire on your employees and then no one comes into the interview. Or people will come into the interview on the never respond again,” said Roney.
Roney said this problem has been around since the restaurant opened in January. They started with a staff of five, which, Roney said, “was not enough”.
Roney said they have also turned to social media, posting job opportunities on Facebook and Instagram, with no return.
She said that the shortage of workers has caused her and the staff to work long hours, which has taken a toll on everyone.
Being a local business, Kal’s Chicken Coop is not able to increase its wages like McDonald's and other food chains. Some are offering as much as $15 an hour for new hires. Roney said Kal's is trying to be flexible and make the job as appealing as they can for new hires.
”We are doing our best. We are very flexible on schedules, we work around people, we really try to focus on understanding that you're a person and life happens outside of work. So, we try to keep our employees and draw them in, from that standpoint,” said Roney.
Cabela’s and Kal’s Chicken Coop, along with many other businesses in Billings, say they will continue to leave hiring open until their stores are fully staffed.