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3 Ways to Deal With the Labor Shortage

September 28, 2021
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3 Ways to Deal With the Labor Shortage

In the last few months, you might have been surprised by the number of businesses and companies around you that seemed short-staffed. Some workplaces, particularly in the food service industry, have even seen entire teams of staff quit at once, leaving the store inoperational while managers scramble to find new employees.

People quitting their jobs is nothing new and usually wouldn’t be a big deal, but since April, we have seen an enormous surge of workers leaving their jobs. The trend has become so significant; it’s even been nicknamed “The Great Resignation.” Though there are many reasons behind the movement, it has left plenty of businesses and companies shorthanded, with no idea how to manage their newly open positions.

Fortunately, there are a couple of different solutions that business owners can try to fix their labor shortage! Though each solution won’t work for everyone, there’s a good chance at least one method in this article can help fill open positions and restore businesses to their pre-pandemic level of functionality.

The effectiveness of these methods also depends on the type of solution each business needs! If you’re simply looking for a few temporary employees to smooth things over, you’re probably going to go about this worker shortage in a different way than someone trying to reform their entire labor force. Without further ado, let’s examine 3 Ways to Deal With The Labor Shortage of 2021!

Address The Original Problem

Before you can do anything to fix your employee shortage, you first have to figure out why your staff left in the first place. Often this can be the most challenging step, as it requires patience, a willingness to listen, and an openness to change. Even if you are still confused about why your employees quit or frustrated at them for leaving in the first place, you need to put that aside to listen to their reasoning. 

The reality is, most people won’t quit their job on a whim, and deciding to quit your job in the middle of a pandemic is a somewhat risky decision, so there’s a good chance that your former employees have a good reason to leave. Even if you hire new employees to replace the old crew, nothing will ultimately get solved without addressing the original problem. 

However, if you can head into this process with an open mind, you can likely improve your business, on top of filling your open jobs! Sometimes, it can be as simple as improving your health care benefits or being more flexible and allowing some employees to work from home. As long as you listen and follow through on the changes people are asking for, you can get right back on your feet in no time. 

Improve, Incentivize, and Impress

This wave of resignations has caught many companies by surprise, but if you take a look at the bigger picture, this trend has been a long time coming. It’s no secret that the labor market in the United States has been the center of heated debates for years now. 

The minimum wage has been untouched for more than ten years, even in the face of inflation. In fact, if we adjusted for inflation, a minimum wage worker in 1968 made 46% more money from their hourly wage than a minimum wage worker today. If the minimum wage had increased alongside American worker productivity rates, the minimum wage would be $22 per hour today, as opposed to the current federal minimum wage rate of $7.25. 

As a result, most workers in the US have already experienced a job that didn’t provide a livable wage for them and put simply, they’ve had enough. Clearly, the average American worker doesn’t want to work a minimum wage job because it’s quite literally impossible to survive without higher wages. If you or your business still uses the federal minimum wage for employment, don’t expect many (if any) people to return to work anytime soon. 

If you’ve already addressed the original problem that caused people to leave, your next step needs to be improving your business to stay with the times. Consider raising wages and offering higher pay rates to your existing employees, if possible. You should be striving to impress new employees rather than counting on the demand for labor, forcing people into jobs they can’t survive upon. 

If your business can’t handle competitive wages, then try to offer more benefits in other areas. Focus on incentives that can actually benefit the employee, like networking and development opportunities, as opposed to empty benefits such as “employee of the month” contests. 

Get Some Outside Help

Naturally, all of these open jobs aren’t solely the result of mistreating workers, and in reality, most business owners are trying their best to provide what they can to their staff. If you’re short-staffed and you’ve already tried everything on this list, you might want to consider looking into outsourcing some of your labor. 

Working with a managed labor provider, such as LACOSTA, can provide you with help up and down the supply chain, without a lot of the hassle that would typically come with bringing in new team members. Just make sure you go with the right partnership for your company! Often, temp agencies don’t provide the highest quality of workers, and if not done correctly, outsourced labor can start to slow you down even further. 

At LACOSTA, we ensure against all of the standard temp agencies issues by providing highly-skilled, managed (by us, not you) labor that can seamlessly transition into your workplace. Because we handle all of our team members’ training, management, and payment, you get to enjoy all the benefits of “temp” workers without having to lift a finger yourself! 

Getting through this labor shortage will take plenty of work, and for some people, it may take a significant shift in how a business is run. However, with the help of companies like LACOSTA, and the knowledge that you can improve your business to stay current, there’s no reason all of us can’t come out of this labor shortage in one piece. 

Industry Leaders

For over 30 years, LACOSTA has provided top-quality labor and janitorial services across a multitude of industries. Our unique business model allows us to adapt to your needs on the go, and with our focus on safety and proper training, there’s no need to worry about our team members disrupting your workflow. 

Reach out to us today for a quote, or check out our blog for more tips, tricks, and information!

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