While a low unemployment rate offers many positives to the Canadian economy, it can present a challenge to growing businesses with pressing staffing needs. A shallow labour pool often means that essential job openings go unfilled and current employees become overworked, having to take on the duties of multiple workers. If your small business faces a worker shortage, here are four ways to address it.
Be Honest With Your Staff
The only thing worse than not being able to find new workers is losing the ones you already have because they feel overworked and underappreciated. So be honest with them, letting them know that you are actively seeking talent to lighten their load, that you understand their stress and frustration, and that you are there to support them in any way you can.
While short-staffed, your business needs to get the most out of its current workers if it wants to continue to grow and have success. Sometimes all it takes for that to happen is letting your employees know that their contributions are indeed being noticed and are appreciated.
Offer Referral Bonuses
What is the best lead source to find top-notch employees? It’s the top-notch employees you already have. A new hire who comes recommended by a current employee presents less risk than someone who responded to an online job posting or showed up at a career fair. Though modern background checks are extensive and can suss out a lot of potential problems, nothing beats the assurance of getting a thumbs-up from someone you already know is a great worker and an excellent fit for your business.
By offering bonuses to employees who refer qualified candidates, you give them extra encouragement to get out there among their talented friends and acquaintances and recruit on the company’s behalf.
Review Your Hiring Practices
If your business is having trouble attracting talented candidates in a tight labour market, it might be time to review your hiring practices. Are your required qualifications for open positions too restrictive? Does a candidate really need five to seven years of IT experience to do upkeep on your network? Are you calling references and crossing potential hires off your list at the slightest mention of imperfection at a previous job?
There’s nothing wrong with keeping high standards. But it is counterproductive, especially in a low-unemployment environment, to sketch out your perfect candidate and disqualify anyone who deviates from that ideal image in any way. Talent comes in all shapes and sizes and from all different backgrounds. If you never take a chance in the hiring process, you might miss out on your next superstar.
Use Contingent Workers
If you have tried everything and cannot find talent to come on board, it might be time to consider contingent workers. A contingent worker is one hired on a non-permanent or per-project basis and can include freelancers, consultants, or workers outsourced from third-party agencies. Since contingent workers are not permanent employees and thus have no expectation of a long-term career with your business, you can use them to ease the stress on your current workforce and get pressing work done now while continuing to keep your eyes open for permanent team members.
A worker shortage can hamper the growth of your small business and generate a lot of stress. By taking a few proactive steps, though, you can address it and keep your business on track.