Managing Staffing Shortages in a Challenging Labor Market

Now more than ever, good help is hard to find. A lack of qualified candidates is leading to serious consequences for many businesses, making managing staffing shortages a key component to organizations of all shapes and sizes.

A recent survey on the impact of the present candidate-led market showed that about 73% of hiring managers are struggling to find candidates with the right experience and skills. Moreover, 86% of highly qualified candidates for open job positions are already employed and not looking for a new job, 36% of businesses claim that talent shortages have affected employee morale, and 46% say that they are finding it difficult to meet clients’ expectations and deadlines as a result of the talent shortage. If you’re not properly managing staffing shortages, they will quickly turn into severe losses for your business.

Here’s what you can do.

6 Practical Solutions to Managing Staffing Shortages

1. Try to Find In-House Talent

To counteract the effects of talent shortages, many companies are focusing on getting more out of their existing talent, with 21% of hiring managers saying that they are providing existing employees with training opportunities to enhance their skills and take up new responsibilities. And, 38% of them have employed flexible working measures to keep that in-house talent engaged and motivated. Both of these are useful strategies to retain staff and prevent the growth of staff shortages. Employees value development opportunities and this has led to enhanced loyalty. Mercer found that 79% of businesses are focusing their efforts toward building and promoting internal talent, compared to 50% recruiting candidates from the external labor market.

2. Modify Your Hiring Norms

Irrespective of hiring shortages impacting their businesses, 22% of talent acquisition managers rarely hire candidates who do not meet the job description criteria. Waiting for an exact match can lead to vacancies remaining open for weeks and months. As a result, the existing workforce will have to work harder to meet the necessary deadlines, damaging their confidence and increasing employee attrition rates. Therefore, modifying the hiring criteria and hiring candidates who are maybe a little less experienced (but highly trainable and with the right attitude) can offer a host of benefits, improving the diversity of your staff and introducing fresh views to problem-solving. It can also help in driving innovation as multiple skill sets and tactics are combined under one roof. Hiring candidates from a mix of talent pools is also a good strategy to manage salary inflation.

3. Hire Contract Staff or Interim Professionals

By hiring interim professionals or contractual staff, you can quickly cover staff shortages caused by the lack of available full-time candidates. With a team of highly qualified and skilled interim professionals ready to work on a project at short notice, you can easily meet deadlines and clients’ expectations.

4. Track Your Competitors

It would be a good idea to see what your competitors are up to, especially those who are growing. What are they doing differently? Maybe they’re offering higher salaries or providing their staff with an array of benefits. Perhaps the working conditions are better, or the work is more flexible. Whatever the reason, it’s a useful strategy to do some homework to stay competitive.

5. Internal Transfers

Another way to deal with staff shortages that is typically overlooked is to transfer employees from a different section or location of the organization. Not only does this allow easy access to a selection of candidates with a thorough understanding of the business and its processes and values, but it also leads to multiple advantages for the staff. Interestingly, a recent study has revealed that a majority of employees move abroad for a better career opportunity or to gain international exposure, and 27% of the surveyed businesses use international transfers to meet staffing shortages. Sometimes, the cost of relocation and visas can be less than that of failing to find the right candidate for a vacant position.

6. Hire a Staffing Agency

By relying on the knowledge and experience of a staffing agency, you can rest assured that your candidates are undergoing thorough candidate screening and background verification. Hiring agencies not only screen candidates and conduct initial interviews, but also save you time with job descriptions and postings and can handle administrative tasks like payroll. So, if you really want to get serious about managing staffing shortages, partner with a quality staffing agency.

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