One of the biggest issues any business can face is how to deal with staff shortages and remain productive. In this article we share 8 Tips for Running Your Business Smoothly Even with Staff Shortage.
It doesn’t matter if your shortages are due to illness, the great resignation we’re currently facing, or whether you’re simply struggling to find the right people to fit a role. Whatever the cause, it’s critical that you keep operating without putting too much extra strain on the employees who are still at work. Happy employees are the only way to effectively run a business.
If you’re facing a staff shortage, then you need to take steps to ensure that you keep running smoothly, even when the workforce is operating at a reduced capacity.
1. Have Priority Plans in Place
You need to get very good at prioritizing when you’re short-staffed. Your resources are limited, meaning you will never be able to meet the same level of output as you would when you have a full complement of staff. Your priority plans could be about which clients to focus your efforts on first, or which parts of the business need more attention than others. It all depends on your industry and how your company operates.
The most important thing to do is ensure that you know what to focus on to ensure your company remains profitable—and that your employees know what to do too.
2. Get the Managers Involved at Every Level
When you’re short-staffed, it’s time for the leaders of your business to get involved and help out with day-to-day productivity.
Managers are usually there to oversee things. But there are times when they’ll need to get stuck in and do more menial tasks. This has a double benefit of filling the gaps and showing all of your employees that it really is an all-hands-on-deck situation.
When the leaders of a business are prepared to get their hands dirty, it can inspire employees to go the extra mile when times are hard.
3. Check in with Your Employees Regularly
Good communication is the cornerstone of any business, and it’s especially important when you’re under pressure. You want to keep checking in with your employees to ensure that no one is reaching burnout point, no one is ready to quit, and that they know you’re in this together. Letting them know that your door is always open is so important.
It’s a good idea to have quick, daily or weekly standups to check in on projects and processes with everyone. You should also schedule one-on-one time with your employees to let them air any grievances or give you feedback on how things are working for them. You may even find that your employees have ideas to help your productivity in these difficult times.
4. Incorporate Plenty of Positive Reinforcement
On the topic of checking in with your employees, it’s incredibly important to keep the feedback positive.
When you’re stressed due to staff shortages and working hard to keep the business profitable, it can be easy to fall into a trap of only focusing on what’s going wrong. Instead, you need to make a concerted effort to ensure your employees know that their hard work and extra effort is appreciated.
It can be as simple as a weekly email to acknowledge extra hours, a project well done, a message from a happy client. You could even praise individuals or teams in your daily standups as a way to keep people motivated.
5. Offer Incentive Bonuses to Those at Work
When times are particularly tough, you could take the positive reinforcement one step further and offer bonuses or perks to those who are working extra hard. Just like games offer players rewards (like these Borderlands 3 shift codes), you can offer your employees something that shows you recognize and appreciate their input.
A tangible reward is a great motivator for people who are stressed and overworked. You could offer a half-day or full-day off when a project is completed, or a bonus to pay for the overtime. It could be even smaller, like a company lunch or a gift voucher for a restaurant or spa. Make it something that the employees could really use and enjoy. However, don’t make it a competition that only one person gets at the end of all the hard work.
6. Build A Network of Freelancers or Temp Staff
If you just aren’t coping with the workload, you will need to bring in reinforcements. This could be in the form of freelancers who you could outsource projects to, or temporary employees who can come in to cover the entry-level positions when needed.
The key is to have sources for reliable contract employees to come in at a moment’s notice. Get in touch with local temping agencies before you’re in a bind so that you know who to contact and what kind of temp staff, they can provide you with.
You should also build a network of freelancers who you know you can contact at a moment’s notice. Having a trust relationship in place will help you ease the load off your permanent employees quickly.
7. Use Technology to Your Advantage
There are so many options for automation these days that you can really improve your workflow and decrease the pressure on your staff with just a few changes. Something like a chatbot on your website can take on the work of several customer service and salespeople if it’s deployed correctly. The chatbot will deal with the easy questions, freeing your staff up to deal with the more complicated queries or sales.
8. Don’t Lose Sight of the Long-Term Goals
Often, when short-staffed, your business becomes about the here and now. You can become entirely focused on ensuring you maintain productivity and profitability right now that you can forget about your plans for the future of your business.
If you lose sight of this, you can end up with a business that stagnates and is constantly looking to stay afloat in the moment. This leads to burnout for both you and your employees, meaning your business will never move forward.
In the wake of a staff shortage, your existing employees become even more important. These tips will help you to maintain a high standard of operations and reduce the chance of burnout or dissatisfaction in the workplace.
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