Is your business understaffed and having trouble finding workers to fill open positions? If so, you’re not alone. Companies across the country continue to struggle with labor shortages as more and more Americans leave the workforce to retire, make major career changes, stay home with children, or even start their own businesses. Recent data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that there are currently “over 11 million job openings in the U.S.—but only 6 million unemployed workers”.
How Being Short-Staffed Can Affect Your Business
When your company is short-staffed, it can negatively impact your business in a number of ways. A few of the most common ones are:
- Lower employee morale
- Decreased productivity
- Increased stress
- Less profitability
- Lower customer satisfaction
- Increased risk of accidents or errors
- Higher employee turnover.
5 Tips to Help You Overcome Being Understaffed
If your business has been impacted by the labor shortage, try these tips to help you better handle being short-staffed:
- Be Open with Your Employees
When you’re faced with being understaffed, transparency and open communication with your team are extremely important. Keeping your crew in the loop will greatly help with employee retention. Be sure to acknowledge that you’re shorthanded and reassure your staff that the situation is only temporary. Let your team know what tasks to prioritize, how much you appreciate how hard they’re working, and ask them for input. They may be able to help identify strategies for how to eliminate redundant tasks or best complete work while still keeping customer satisfaction high.
- Simplify and/or Automate
Try to find ways to simplify or automate tasks to free up more of your team’s time. Not sure where you could save manpower? Think about your different businesses processes. A few possible scenarios are:
- Running reports every week? While you’re short-staffed, consider running them every 2-4 weeks instead.
- Using employee bandwidth for intake forms? Automate the process by sending digital forms to your clients.
- Do you or your staff members spend time manually posting on social media? Save time by creating a content calendar and using social media management software to preschedule automated posts.
- Be Honest with Your Customers
Just as it’s important to be transparent with your staff, it’s equally important to have open and honest communication with your customers. Many people recognize that businesses are presently struggling with staffing issues, so just be truthful and realistic about expectations and deadlines. If your turnaround times will be slower than usual, or if the lines in your store will be longer than you’d like, communicate that information to your customers so that they’re aware.
- Recognize and Reward Your Team
It’s so important that your staff feels appreciated and that they’re not being taken advantage of. Otherwise, they won’t stick around long. Some simple ways that you can reward your team for putting in extra effort while you’re understaffed are:
- Praising them for their effort
- Hosting team building events
- Treating them to lunch
- Giving them a shout-out on social media for a job well done
- Offering perks like free coffee or snacks.
If you can’t find the right person for the job, outsourcing certain tasks to an external agency may be a time-saving and cost-effective option for your business. A few ideas for areas where you can outsource are:
- Human resources
- Customer service
- Content writing.
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