Managing Staffing Shortages

Managing Staffing Shortages

The stress of staffing shortages.

I have been off from work this past week just relaxing spending some time with my family. But work is never far from my mind as I know that after my relaxation I will need to get back to work and the issues that wait for me most importantly staffing shortages.

I enjoy my job and look forward to being challenged and feeling a sense of self-worth and accomplishment that my work brings to me. Even though I enjoy my work I know there are many issues awaiting my attention that do not have easy answers.

Like so many companies today one of the most difficult issues I deal with is staffing. There are a lot of reasons why staffing is so difficult these days. Some it has to do with a lack of loyalty, employees work/life balance expectations, work ethic, an aging workforce, and other changes in workforce demographics.

Regardless of the reasons I know it isn’t going to get any easier in the coming years and in spite of the difficulties all managers have to deal with the reality that it is difficult to find and keep good employees.

It is incredibly frustrating to hire people, train them, and then have them quit. It is also difficult when you can never get fully staffed and have to work short-handed, with less experienced employees, and fewer opportunities to train people.

I don’t have a magic formula for dealing with the new reality of staffing but I think the best thing any manager can do is to make the work environment as good a place to work while maintaining organizational effectiveness.

Creating a work environment that is enjoyable to come to, that allows employees opportunities to share ideas, to have a say in their work life, that gives them opportunity to grow, is what is required to keep people and sometimes that’s not even enough.

As a manager I have very little say in compensation and so I can’t worry too much about what the philosophy is on how employees are compensated.  There are certain business realities and constraints that we all have to deal with.

The challenge is getting people cross trained to be able to fill the holes and try not to work employees too many extra days. The last thing I want to do is take advantage of the people I do have and abuse them.

I still have a responsibility to keep everything running in order to meet business demand, but if people become frustrated because they are being overworked due to staffing shortages it will only make matters worse.

This is the balancing act that is a reality for every business today – keeping everything running even though you don’t have the staffing you need without overworking your current staff.

In light of staffing challenges managers need to stay open-minded by working with employees to allow them flexibility in their schedules to meet company needs and maintain work/life balance for the employees.

Being stubborn and rigid in dealing with employees will only make matters worse.

My advice to dealing with staffing shortages? Be open-minded, remain flexible, work cooperatively with employees, and don’t stress. Take everything in stride and do the best you can with what you have. Cross-train as much as you can to make sure you have the backup coverage for when you are short-handed. Treat your people right and always do the right things.

Remember there are certain things you can’t control. Keep your focus and energy engaged on what you can control.

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