Overcoming staff shortages is becoming mission critical for a growing number of UK businesses.
There are more job vacancies than ever before, according to the latest official figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that job vacancies in the UK reached 1.1 million in the latest period, from July to September.
That’s the highest level of job vacancies since records began back in 2001.
Staff shortages are more prevalent in some sectors, including hospitality, where indications suggest many individuals have shifted careers during the pandemic.
In the US, The Great Resignation, also called the Big Quit, is an ongoing trend of employees leaving their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
What can small businesses do when they face competition from other firms to recruit and retain the best team members?
Here are 5 ideas for overcoming staff shortages in 2021.
1 – Remember your marketing audience
When we run content marketing campaigns, it’s natural to assume the target audience for these messages is prospective customers or clients.
Another critical audience for your marketing messages is your existing and prospective team members.
What makes your business the best place to work? What do you offer to team members that no other company does or can?
Involving your current employees in your marketing is an excellent place to start. Ask them for ideas and suggestions that you can build into your content marketing programme.
Often, it’s those employees at the coal-face, speaking directly to your customers, who hear the most pertinent questions that can form the basis for your marketing content.
Making team members feel involved in your marketing will likely foster better company culture, making yours a more attractive place to work.
When prospective employees see happy, engaged current employees in your marketing, they are more likely to be attracted to your recruitment efforts.
2 – Focus on highest impact activities
When faced with staff shortages, it’s natural to pull up the shutters.
Some businesses choose to cut opening hours in response to a shortage of available staff, whiles others temporarily close down entire departments or stop offering particular services.
All businesses are different, and an essential place to start before cutting hours is to understand those activities that have the most significant impact on your bottom line.
What brings in the most cash (turnover) isn’t necessarily the same as the most profitable service you offer.
Cutting hours or services in response to staff shortages is a reasonable response assuming you decide based on profitability analysis.
Make sure you have a robust plan in place to restore those opening hours, departments or services once you overcome a temporary staff shortage.
3 – Outsource your non-core tasks
What are your employees doing that would be better in the hand of a competent third party?
During this unusual time for recruitment challenges, you are likely to have more success outsourcing various roles to other businesses.
By outsourcing functions, you can refocus the time available for your employed team to your highest-impact activities.
Marketing is often ripe for outsourcing, as agencies can take full responsibility for your campaigns with minimal input from your team.
Where outsourcing is an option, you can (with their agreement) redeploy team members to other, high-impact roles, at least temporarily.
4 – Incentivise your team to recruit
Your existing team members are likely your most effective recruiters.
Are you incentivising the people in your team to get out and identify potential recruits?
The old approach is relying on a recruitment agent to fill vacancies is pretty much broken in the current economic climate, which means you need to explore different techniques.
Running recruitment marketing campaigns on your website, social media channels and online recruitment platforms is a positive place to start.
When you consider the often high cost of using an agent to fill a vacancy, there is usually scope to pay a bonus to individuals or teams who successfully attract suitable recruits.
5 – Think differently about your ideal candidate
With so many job vacancies and different requirements from employees who are moving roles, it might be time to think outside of the box.
Following the pandemic, the government has several schemes to support employment, especially since the end of the furlough scheme last month.
Apprenticeships combine employment with training, creating low-cost roles for the employer and a practical alternative to further or higher education for the employee.
The government Kickstart scheme involves a six-month work placement in a newly formed job for people aged 16 to 24 who are currently out of work and at risk of long-term unemployment.
With the government subsidising 100% of wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions for up to 25 hours a week, along with job start-up costs, Kickstart could be worth a try for businesses struggling to find candidates through traditional routes.
Your local Chamber of Commerce or Local Enterprise Partnership can point you in the right direction.
With so much competition for the best candidates, it can be difficult for small businesses to recruit and retain their team members.
When faced with stiffer competition from other firms looking for qualified staff, what will you do differently?
Is there anything else your business could offer competitive employees or potential new hires to make them want to work at your firm?
Overcoming staff shortages means thinking differently, turning up your marketing effort, and making smart strategic decisions.
What about a recruitment video?
Cranfold Physical Therapy Centre tasked us with producing a recruitment video designed to showcase their career opportunities.
We filmed interviews with members of the Cranfold team before capturing additional footage to illustrate the key messages in the video.
We visited one of Cranfold’s other locations, in nearby Dorking, to film additional footage.
With the video edited, it was hosted on our premium Vimeo account so it could be smartly embedded on the Cranfold Physio website.
Would you like us to do the same for your business?