Last week, in a moment of dark despair, a manager turned to Google typing the phrase “labor shortage” in the search window… and BOOM! 558,000 results popped up. This therapeutic moment makes our manager feel somewhat less alone.
The term “labor shortage” is on everyone's lips, it’s all over the media and has become super trendy discussion topic at many conferences. With a serious stance and a distant gaze, in his best radio announcer voice, our manager exclaims Labor Shortage! The-Thing-That-Cannot-Be-Named. The disease without a cure. The beast that exposes all the challenges related to productivity, quality, performance, delivery, management and so much more. Finally, we found THE culprit.
But, maybe it’s a state of mind.
The glass that seems empty, is actually filled to capacity. We’re not looking to start a philosophical discussion, but rather to highlight the consequences related to the labor shortage instead of dwelling on why it happened. The truth is, a labor shortage is not the cause for all the world’s problems – it’s an indication of many great things to come!
Here are five ways that illustrate how the labor shortage, while a challenge, is not necessarily a problem, but a welcomed sign of good news!
- Appreciate scarcity, as a sign of good health
A labor surplus is in direct contrast, to a labor shortage. A company with a surplus may be faced with stagnation in its growth, optimization and working processes. Or worse, they could be in a state of decline. Whereas during a state of growth, it’s important to expand the workforce. If there’s a limited supply of labor, it’s likely that the overall economy is doing well, and that business outlook is positive. Dark days are far from here!
- Think of your talent, as an investment in wealth
What would happen if you nurtured your workforce? If recruiting is a challenge, then perhaps retention is key. Invest in employee training and in the development of challenging career goals. Put in place measures that promote work-life balance, flexible work schedules, mobility, telework, etc. Don’t forget about listening, recognition and validation. And what if your competitor takes a similar approach? Well, then it’s a great opportunity to step up your game and do even better! Continuously nurture resources and strive to improve their working environment, and watch quality reach new heights.
- Optimize the effort/result ratio
Okay, so you need more than a good environment. You’ll also need to optimize work tools and processes. The scarcity of labor represents an ideal opportunity to invest in optimizing mechanical, technological, business and work processes. These optimizations always result in lower costs and increased profit margin. More good news!
- Continuous improvement
When a company is in good health, it invests and grows its human capital, while optimizing tools and processes. Now is the ideal opportunity to improve their products and services. A remarkable product or service will of course, standout and get lots of positive attention. A quality brand will ultimately draw and attract quality resources. It’s always a great source of pride to be a part of an enviable product or service.
- Become irresistible: Use marketing to promote HR
Forget traditional methods. Rethink current staffing processes by making the candidate experience memorable and exceptional. An exceptional candidate experience can be a motivational and inspirational moment for the potential new hire. Beyond the projected company image, the experience itself can be a pivotal moment in helping them make a selection. So, why not consider conducting satisfaction surveys, or even recruiting a marketing specialist to join the staffing team?
We’re curious. What strategies have you employed to turn current staffing challenges into a strategic advantage?
Luc Lachapelle B.A., M.A., M.B.S.I., C.D.I.A., S.S.C.
Director, Strategic Consulting HCM.