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Thursday, July 25, 2024

What Small Businesses Can Do to Beat Staff Shortages In 2022

Companies are struggling in the UK to find the right people for key positions. There are various reasons for the staffing shortage, including Brexit, previous furloughs making it less financially necessary to work, Gen Z living with parents on lower expenses, and concerns over safety due to ongoing Covid risks. What can small businesses do to work around or work through staff shortages? Let’s see what’s possible to attract staff to their business.

Dealing with staff recruitment in-house is draining, and difficult to manage. While a dedicated recruitment service has industry connections and contacts to find excellent people to hire into new positions, SMEs don’t always have the same. This can make it harder for the latter to locate people who might be a good fit. Having to interview candidates, and perform psychometric tests, screening, and more is an uphill battle. By using an outside recruitment service like The HR Dept, companies can instead focus on other aspects of providing an attractive place to work.

Be Open to Job Sharing

In the past, companies would only seek to fill a full-time position and not consider other alternatives. However, due to staff shortages, it’s necessary to be more flexible. One approach is to have two people fill the same position. This might mean taking a few days each or working half a day for a two-and-a-half-day week for each employee. It incorporates the use of hotdesking too.

However, job sharing isn’t ideal for positions where there’s a genuine skills shortage. However, it does offer a solution for people who don’t wish to work full-time, such as those who are near retirement, those not wanting to work a full day, or who are only available a few days a week. By being more flexible, SMEs can fill their roles in ways they dismissed before.

Remote Working for Those Worried About Covid

Another issue with filling open positions is that people are genuinely worried about catching the virus at the office. Trying to social distance at work and not getting caught in tight spaces including corridors or stairs becomes sometimes impractical. In that sense, worried people in a smaller office may have a point.

To address this, it won’t necessarily impress them that the company has enacted Covid protection measures. They may simply believe they’ll be ineffective and not wish to work there. However, if the position is entirely remote, then this removes this objection to taking the position.

From the ongoing work completion standpoint, having all workers in the same office environment risks a widespread infection taking out most, if not, all the team. Employees can end up needing to isolate themselves and attempt to complete work from home when they’re not yet set up to do so. Because of this, it pays to be prepared with, at least, a partially remote team.

Use Freelancers for Task Completion

There are many freelancing and small task apps and websites where millions of people are available to complete tasks. While these are either project or individual task-based solutions, the same people can be tasked with completing repeated assignments or varied ones.

Alternatively, specific freelancers can work to complete regular assignments under supervision. This allows for a flexible, ongoing working arrangement that allows the SME to scale their requirements up or down as the need requires it. In some cases, this may also be a cost-efficient way to proceed. However, it also offers the benefits of remote working as outlined in the section above.

Increase Pay or Offer Other Incentives

The rate of inflation in the UK – whether using the retail price index or the CPI – is on the rise. Staff at all levels are worried that pay won’t keep up with the rising cost of living. Some companies are beginning to respond to this by increasing pay sharply to offset any employee real losses due to inflation. While SMEs may not have as much wriggle room in this regard, they can look for other incentives to offer instead, or in addition to smaller pay increases.

Such incentives might include additional paid leave, sick pay guarantees, and short notice requests to deal with emergencies. Smaller companies can also be innovative by being open to individual incentive requests, rather than only offering identical ones to all.

Training Options

Some employees wish to receive training but are looked over. When they have insufficient living expenses that they cannot self-fund the training, they’re effectively stuck at that point.Potential employees know this and are concerned about getting trapped in that situation. Being receptive to requests for training with a view to career advancement and internal promotions encourages people to join the company because they see opportunities for future career advancement.

Not every person who undertakes their requested training will stick around. This may create the idea that the investment was lost. However, when following through on internal promotions instead of always looking externally to fill senior roles, the remainder of the employees see that the business follows through.

Lastly, it’s also possible to offer a loyalty bonus based on longevity. Whilst it won’t necessarily be a large sum, when paid out at Christmas separate from any other bonus, it won’t be ignored. This could be paid from the second year upwards,rising as people stick with the company. Dealing with staff shortages requires a multi-pronged approach to be successful. Yet it can be done successfully, and SMEs do have some advantages over larger firms that they can leverage too.

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