Labor shortages can make it difficult to achieve your small business' goals. Sometimes you don't have enough people sticking around or you can't bring in the right talent for the job. Certain locations have an easier time than others when it comes to attracting new employees, as it's difficult to recruit a robust tech team in the middle of nowhere, away from the typical hotspots. Here are a few ways you can manage labor shortages, from building up your long-term pipeline to investing in your current staff.
Create a Talent Pipeline
This tactic takes some time to pay off, but it's a great way for avoiding skilled labor shortages over the long-term. A talent pipeline attracts qualified candidates so that they're seeking out your company and expressing interest in future opportunities. You can use several methods to create this inbound flow. Work on your employer branding and highlight how your employees make a difference in your market, what your company does differently and the opportunities that they can expect if they work for you. Discuss the company culture, your values and other details that will appeal to a potential staff member.
When you have great candidates apply for jobs but they lose out to a more qualified person, keep their information on file and proactively approach them if another position opens up in the future. Over time, you'll build up a database of potential hires who may be able to refer you to other professionals, if they aren't available for an offer.
Cross-train and Invest in Current Staff
You may not need to bring in more employees. Your current staff offers many opportunities to fill in skill gaps and account for any issues in productivity. Consider cross-training employees in areas that interest them the most. You might be surprised at the areas that people would like to work in, when given the chance and hands-on training.
Invest in education opportunities, such as certifications, workshops or even a degree, for workers who want to expand into highly skilled areas. They're already familiar with your company and culture, so you don't have to on-board a specialist that is not used to the way things work.
Look for ways to improve the work-life balance of your staff. Work from home days are always popular, as well as flexible schedules. Many people deal with a 9-5 schedule because they have to, not because those are their most productive hours. When you improve the quality of their life at work and home, you can proactively encourage employee engagement and loyalty.
Offer Higher Pay
Sometimes the answer to a labor shortage is simple - you're just not offering enough compared to other companies in the area. While increasing the pay may be concerning when it cuts into your profit margin or causes other financial issues, consider the direct and indirect expenses that happen due to an unfilled position(s). You may have to pass on larger projects that could bring in significant cash flow, your customer experience may suffer or you waste money on employee turnover. In the long-run, it costs less to pay more wages. A small business loan is one way that you can raise the capital to cover your increased costs. You get the short-term boost that provides a major return as you hire quality talent.
A labor shortage can be challenging and frustrating as a small business owner, but you have a few ways to overcome it. Whether you change the way that you hire or you put more on the table for potential employees, you can overcome it.