People Management
9 min.

The Ultimate Guide to Tackling the Labor Shortage

Véronique Forest
Last updated on 22 Dec. 2023
Published on 31 Jan. 2023
Ombre d'un homme près d'un écran d'ordinateur à la caisse d'un commerce de détail

The labor shortage everyone is talking about is nothing new—and it’s here to stay.

Table of contents

The shortage can be traced back to two causes: the aging population and the pandemic. In a nutshell, there are fewer and fewer active adults on the labor market.

What is more, many people have questioned the role of their jobs in their lives during the pandemic. And many workers have changed jobs or simply don’t want to work under certain conditions anymore.

Since there are more jobs than workers to go around, employees end up having the upper hand, and they have a much easier time finding a job that will fit their criteria.
The result is that businesses are sometimes struggling with employee recruitment and retention.

According to a 2021 study by the Business Development Bank of Canada, 55% of business owners report difficulty recruiting employees and 26%, retaining talent.

The situation is no easier for employees, who often have to work harder to keep the business afloat and put in long hours to make up for staff shortages.

If you’re experiencing labor shortage issues and have come looking for answers, you have come to the right place. I’ve put together the top 12 solutions you can try out in your business to become a boss at retention and recruitment.

Solutions to retain your employees

Retaining your current employees is one of the best ways to combat the labor shortage. This will bring down your turnover rate and help make your employees into positive ambassadors.

Today’s retention challenges affect all sectors, chief among them the arts, entertainment and recreation.

In a labor shortage, businesses must compete for the best employees. It is therefore essential to make sure that you’re able to hang on to your existing employees and prevent them from finding a better job somewhere else.

There are several strategies you can try out to this end.

1. Offer greater flexibility

Offering flexible working conditions is the easiest solution to enhance employee satisfaction. Many workers are looking for a better balance between their personal and professional lives.

For example, you can allow telecommuting to keep your employees from spending time stuck in traffic in the morning and evening. Also, be accommodating when it comes to time off. Make sure you let your employees rest and recharge their batteries when it’s most convenient for them.

Businesses with flexible schedules, such as restaurants and retail stores, can set up rotating schedules so that employees more regularly have weekends off. You can also use scheduling software to streamline leave requests, shift trading, and even changes in employee availability.

2. Do one-on-ones

One-on-ones, or individual meetings, help build trust between managers and their employees. They help employees share their opinions and feel like more than just a number.

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with each member of your team to listen to their input, discuss career advancement opportunities, get helpful feedback, and nip any existing issues in the bud.

3. Offer career-advancement opportunities

For many employees, being able to move up in a company is key to their job satisfaction. So, be proactive and discuss career development with all your employees. Yes, even your student employees.

An employee moving up the corporate ladder is a valuable asset to an organization.

Who knows—maybe your new clerk will become a manager one day. The working world abounds with examples of employees who have spent their careers working for the same employer. Don’t miss this golden opportunity.

Readily offer them professional development or a budget to spend each year to update their skills.

4. Respect your employees’ privacy

Your employees don’t want to receive emails or text messages at 9 p.m. on the weekend. And they don’t necessarily want to be your friend on Facebook either.

As a manager, it is your duty to respect your employees’ privacy and allow them to truly unplug from work when they’re at home.

For example, use professional software to communicate with your employees effectively. You can choose to provide your employees with a business email address or get in touch with them using employee management software with instant messaging.

5. Show recognition

Recognizing employees’ work is key to their satisfaction. In fact, a lack of recognition or a feeling of not being properly recognized is a leading reason why millions of people have joined the “Great Resignation.”

Showing recognition doesn’t just mean offering generous gifts and bonuses, or taking the entire team on an all-inclusive vacation. It can be as simple as saying thank you more often or highlighting employees’ achievements at team meetings.

An easy practice to apply in any business is to encourage employees and managers to say thank you to one another. You can also have a “kudos box” where your team members can leave each other thank-you notes.

Some staff management software also offers digital solutions for expressing thanks.
For example, the Agendrix app lets team members easily send each other high-fives to celebrate wins or show appreciation.

A bit of recognition makes all the difference.

Improved recognition. Stronger sense of belonging. Better retention.

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6. Review your onboarding process

The onboarding stage is crucial to the employee experience. If the first few months on the job don’t go well, there’s a good chance your new employee will leave you.

Make sure you provide all the tools necessary for your employees’ success and well-being as soon as they start working at your company. Assign them a mentor, share the training plan with them, make sure they fit in well with the team, hold follow-up meetings, etc. Don’t hesitate to use onboarding software to help structure the process.

Use an onboarding plan for new employees to make sure you don’t forget anything during your next onboarding.

7. Ask your employees for their opinion

Nothing beats directly asking your employees what you can do to improve their job satisfaction. After all, they would know! And you may be surprised by their answers.

You can ask them questions during one-on-ones or use anonymous satisfaction surveys to get their feedback. There are a variety of online solutions you can use for this purpose.

The important thing is to listen to your employees and actively reach out to them in order to stay proactive.

Employee management simplified.

Online work schedules. Time clock. Communication.

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8. Do team-building activities

It will come as no surprise that I suggest fun team-building activities as a great way to build bonds between team members and increase their satisfaction.

But for maximum results, avoid mandatory activities outside of work hours. Not all employees want to go play laser tag at 7 p.m. on their Friday night.

If you can afford it, close your office or business early and encourage your employees to spend some quality time together at the company’s expense. They will almost certainly appreciate it.

Solutions to attract new talent

9. Raise salaries

A full 57% of employees who want to change jobs are looking for a better salary.

No matter how many great initiatives you put in place to improve employee satisfaction, if your employees don’t feel they are being compensated properly, they will eventually jump ship. 🚢

Your employees’ work is vital to your business’s success, so they deserve a salary that gives them a good quality of life. Don’t settle for the minimum wage, and make sure to reward good performance with raises.

In the long run, this will make it easier for you to recruit and retain employees, thereby reducing your labor costs. You have everything to gain.

10. Offer better working conditions

It bears repeating that employees are looking for good working conditions—especially ever since the start of the pandemic. They’ve realized that beyond earning a good salary, they also want to be able to find fulfilment both at work and in their personal lives.

Offer the working conditions that you yourself would have wanted when starting your career:

  • More than just 2 weeks off per year
  • Good insurance
  • Additional sick leave
  • Teleworking (if possible)
  • Paid training
  • Allowances to encourage physical exercise

These are just a few examples of what you can offer. There are countless ways to improve working conditions for your employees. And your efforts won’t go unnoticed by future candidates.

11. Improve your recruitment process

There’s nothing more upsetting for a candidate than getting no response from an employer after an interview.

In an ideal world, companies should always acknowledge receipt of an application, but in reality, this is not always possible. However, you should always give a response to candidates you interview, whether it happens to be positive or negative.

Also, make the recruitment process simple so that candidates don’t get discouraged by all the hoops they have to jump through. For example, don’t ask candidates to write their work experience in a form when they can simply share their resumes with you.

Also, avoid giving them long tests to check their skills or knowledge. They will feel like they totally wasted their time if they aren’t hired.

When you receive a promising resume, contact the candidate as soon as possible to invite them to an interview. The longer you wait, the greater the odds that they will have already found another job.

12. Write attractive job offers

According to a labor shortage study conducted in 2021, 45% of Canadian companies that are struggling with recruitment also report difficulty collecting resumes. In my opinion, one of the solutions to receive more applications is to improve job postings.

Too many companies write bland, unattractive job ads. Stand out from your competitors by being original. Enhance your job postings with detailed descriptions. Don’t hesitate to spell out your working conditions and explain why you are an employer of choice.

💡 And if you offer a competitive salary, say so. Posting a salary range will get candidates’ attention.

Be an employer of choice

Employees should be the most important asset to a company. It’s a well-established fact that the better employees are treated, the better the service they will provide and the more successful a company will be.

In a labor shortage, businesses have no choice but to treat their teams with the utmost respect.

Now the ball’s in your court!

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