Tips to overcome the skilled-labor shortage

Skilled-Labor Shortage

We feel it.  Our nationwide skilled-labor shortage is impacting businesses across industries.  From dropping unemployment rates, and the Great Resignation, to heightened consumer expectations, and increased consumer demand coming off the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses continue to feel the pinch. The problem isn’t going away.  In fact, attracting and retaining qualified job candidates are the top concerns of 72% of employers globally, according to a recent Russell Reynolds study. And the worry over finding skilled talent is up 59% year over year.

This is more problematic with small businesses as they struggle to keep up with their larger competitors.  Competition is driving higher compensation and better benefits demands from candidates.

  • A recent National Federation of Independent Business’ jobs report shows 44% of all small businesses have job openings they cannot fill. These historic numbers are 22 points higher than the 48-year average.
  • From Goldman Sachs, 42% of small businesses say they have lost employees to larger companies that pay more.
  • Data from payroll processing firm ADP shows a widening hiring gap between larger and smaller businesses. Smaller businesses have lost jobs in three of the past four months.

So, what can you do? Here are some ideas to attract skilled workers and continue to grow your business.

  1. Cut the fat –Things are likely being done around the office because they’ve always been. A simple start-stop-continue exercise with your employees may uncover a lot of unnecessary work and free up time to focus on revenue-generating initiatives.
  2. Showcase your brand, culture, and actual employees – When candidates seek employment, they typically gravitate toward companies they’ve heard of before or demonstrate a positive work environment. Don’t forget to market your business to potential employees.  Showcase who you are, what you stand for, and why your employees love working for you. If they don’t know your brand, help them know you.
  3. Beat the employer competition where you can – Wages and benefits previously drove many candidate decisions, but that has changed.  Employees are looking for flexible schedules, collaborative cultures, and work-from-anywhere work environments.  You may not be able to compete on salary, but perhaps you can create an extremely inviting package.
  4. Invest in your training and development programs – Skills labor is expensive, but there are a lot of hungry workers looking to change their career trajectory right now.  Tap into their enthusiasm for something new and train them up!  Employees are generally very loyal if there is a career path in front of them.
  5. Look to specialized agencies to fill in the gaps – Finding the right candidate is not quick.  Many times, bringing in an agency to drive a particular project or fill a department gap is the best option.  This can allow you to keep your business operating at its full potential and provides the flexibility to shift other resources around where needed most.

Being short-staffed can lead to decreased profits, reduced competitiveness, lower productivity, increased performance issues, and unfortunately additional employee losses.  Hoping the labor market becomes more favorable is not a winning strategy.  Take the steps necessary to keep your current employees happy, your candidate pool engaged, and your business running smoothly.