Four Strategies for Managing Your Team When Short-staffed

Four Strategies for Managing Your Team When Short-staffed

 

It’s now old news: the labour shortage has left no business sector unscathed and is putting considerable pressure on current managers and workers. According to a BDC study, 61% of entrepreneurs surveyed in 2021 had to work more hours and had to ask their employees to do the same to make up for stalled recruitment.

Sound familiar? So, how can we stop the drain? Here are four potential solutions from PIXCELL.

 

1. Revive versatility

 

The labour market is changing. In recent years, especially in North America, overspecialization seemed to be the norm. Nowadays, the pendulum is swinging the other way, and agility and versatility are being restored to their former glory.

In a time where resources are limited, being able to count on a generalist manager or employee is critical. Although the term once took on an almost derogatory sense, today, a “generalist” is seen more as a multispecialist. It is just a question of perception and state of mind. In any case, one thing is for sure: you cannot have some employees waiting around for their next task, while others are bogged down with twice as much work.

 

2. Prioritize client needs. And prioritize your best clients.

 

Maybe you have built your company’s reputation on client experience. You have gone from a dozen clients to a hundred, or maybe even thousands, with dedicated account managers for each, always ready to personally check in and follow up. Now, if your sales team has shrunk 30, 40 or even 50%, it is completely unreasonable to try and maintain the same level of service without facing severe consequences, the worst of which would be losing even more resources...

Choices need to be made. Rather than trying to maintain all your usual standards and putting immense pressure on your employees, take the time to prioritize. Aim to retain your best clients—and your sales teams—and keep your expectations realistic.

 

3. Rethink your processes

 

What truly brings value to your clients? Once you have your answer, that is where you should focus your efforts.

There are surely several pressing yet repetitive tasks that can be optimized. Technology is a powerful tool for automating or digitizing certain processes.

Here are a few examples of free or low-cost digital tools:

  • Save precious time with project management tools like ClickUp, Asana or Monday
  • Share sales information more easily with a shared database on Airtable
  • Send your clients a survey in just a few clicks using SurveyMonkey or Google Forms
  • Automate appointment scheduling with Calendly so you can focus on value-added tasks

 

Of course, transforming processes does require some time and effort. It would be cruel to task your already overburdened teams with it, so better to outsource these types of changes to an external company. Your employees will thank you for making the investment and facilitating processes so they can work more effectively.

4. Review all position responsibilities. Even your own.

 

During labour shortages, many workers will undoubtedly have to take on tasks outside the scope of their job description. And you should be no exception. Be sure to take some of the weight off your teams’ shoulders to keep retention rates high.

Low worker numbers put undue pressure on work processes. Ensure that your business’s most critical tasks are safe by having a contingency plan. No matter what happens, someone needs to be able to carry on the processes your business depends on.

 

Your priorities: retention and loyalty

 

Above all, it is crucial to do everything in your power to maintain your current human resources. It is not just a question of retention, but of ensuring their loyalty by taking good care of them.

There is no point in sticking your head in the sand. The fact is that your best employees are being sought after (it may even be happening while you’re reading this). Give them good reasons to stay.

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