How The Labor Shortage Could Impact Your Business

For decades now, we have heard that there was going to be a labor shortage coming to the US labor market where there would be more jobs available than people to fill them. The shortage is here and it may impact your business.

Some of the headlines coming from the US Department of Labor recently include, Unemployment Rate Near 50-year Low,  7.3 Million Job Openings and 17thStraight Month Unemployment Rate Is At Or Below 4%.

On August 6, the US Department of Labor announced that for the 16thstraight month, the number of open and available jobs exceeded the number of job seekers.

Impact on your business

As a business owner, the most important asset your business has is your employees. But what happens if you don’t have enough employees or the people with the right skills? Here are just a few resulting issues that might impact your bottom line.

  • Missed customer order deadlines
  • Additional cost for overtime to existing employees
  • Expense for hiring temporary employees (if they’re available)
  • Quality errors because your employees are rushing to complete orders
  • Overworked employees can lead to more accidents and safety issues
  • Higher absentee rate from burnout and frustration

What can you do right now to mitigate the crisis before it hits your business?

Look at your employee engagement through employee retention, turnover rates and data. Are your good people leaving? These ‘keepers’ are the lifeblood of your business now and in the future. Simply stated you need to retain your star employees.

What can you do to assure you keep your solid contributors working for you?  One way is to have ‘Stay Interviews’ with your high performers.  The answer may sound simple, but will take time, thought and effort. 

Stay interviews

Stay Interviews help leaders and business owners engage in dialogue with employees they don’t want to leave the business.  The interviews uncover what keeps your strongest employees coming to work everyday and will help identify issues in your business that may be alienating these team members. You then have the opportunity to make changes and improvements—all to benefit your business.

5 steps to keeping your star performers

  1. Determine who your ‘keepers’ are. You and your managers should be able to quickly list them. These employees are those that not only deliver results, but they do so in a way that exhibits the culture of your business. These employees probably work collaboratively, conscientiously, diligently and carefully.If you suspect that any of them may be ready to leave, make them your priority.
  2. Schedule one-on-one time with your high performers to have the stay interview discussions. First, tell them that you want to hear their opinion on what’s working in the business and what needs to be improved.  Assure them this is a casual, friendly conversation and you will be setting up time with them.  The meeting should not be a tag-on to another one, but a special meeting to discuss issues they may have and to give you feedback on how your business is running. It also should not be done during a performance review discussion, unless it is as a follow-up to previously held discussions on the topic.
  3. Be prepared. Give some thought to what the employee could say. You need to be prepared for anything. Also have pre-arranged questions that you can ask to get to the heart of any issues. Be prepared to write down what they say, questions that you may need to get answers to and follow-up activities that might be necessary.  Click here if you’d like to request our stay interview questions.
  4. Have the discussions. Try to have the discussions in a ‘neutral’ environment, free from distractions. A small break room would be great. Try to avoid sitting behind a desk in a typical manager/subordinate situation. Level the playing field. Give the employee an environment in which they can be comfortable.
  5. Follow-up. Depending upon the outcome of the discussions, you should follow up on some action items. Be sure to circle back with the employee to assure that both of you are fulfilling any commitments made.

While stay interviews are one way for you to show you value your ‘keepers’, don’t look at it as a one and done.  Be sure to re-engage with your star performers.  Let them know that you thought through what they said.  Ask specific questions to get more information.  Invite them to participate on teams outside of their area of expertise to show you value their input.  Let them know you want to hear what they have to say.

Click here to request a copy of our Stay Interview questions.

Look for our upcoming blogs on:

  • Ensuring your employees understand the changes you want to make
  • Enhancing your employees’ skills through training and development
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