4 Tips for Retention & Recruitment During a Labor Shortage

The labor shortage has proven difficult for small businesses across industries, particularly since they’re barely on the mend from the pandemic’s effects. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for every opening, there are about 50% fewer potential employees available as there have been on average over the past 20 years.

Not only does that fare poorly for employee recruitment, but also for employee retention – with companies looking to poach coveted talent, often for a salary at the higher end of a candidate’s range.

What can companies do to engage, retain and recruit talent during a challenging time in the labor market?
  • Cultivate culture and boost morale. With everything that’s happened in the past year, a focus on company culture and mental health is a necessity. Focus on creating a flexible workplace that encourages employee wellness and an environment where employees can bring their whole selves to work. Companies looking to attract and retain talent need to understand the changing dynamics of previously rigid corporate culture and adapt.
  • Consider spot bonuses and other perks. Money talks, after all. During a war for talent–when employees have options–unexpected bumps that recognize employees can make a difference. Even smaller offerings – e.g., paid-for lunches, a gift card – reinforce the fact that you care about your employees, and appreciate their contributions.
  • Highlight productivity in multiple ways. This not only means encouraging a healthy work/life balance, but also diving into job requirements and potential growth areas. Now is the time to upskill the workers you currently have on staff, and allow them to flex their muscle in other areas of the business. Sometimes you need to water the grass you have, and allocate resources to those who have remained on the roster through tough times.
  • Always have a contingency plan. Naturally, all businesses should have a contingency plan for when employees leave. But now more than ever, following a pandemic and during a labor shortage, corporations understand the need for agility and succession planning. Should team members leave, there should be a setup in place for the weeks following. This is where upskilling becomes integral to flow of work and continued productivity.

While the labor shortage should raise concerns for employers across the board, the most prepared small businesses will tackle this issue head on. Though there’s potential for internal turbulence, there’s also opportunity for leaders to highlight their appreciation for employees at all levels as well.