It is a common scene now a days wherever you go there are help wanted signs and the lines of people waiting for their services are just a litter longer than normal. As a business owner, this is a scene you are probably quite familiar with. More business than ever have been struggling to find an amply amount of employees to fill the demands of their business. Not having enough employees to cover the basic needs of a work day can lead to many stressful situations that no business owner wants to find themselves in, from overworked employees to disgruntled customers, the effects of not having enough staff for long periods of time are very taxing on a business. Here are some ways in which you can better prepare your business and employees if you are experiencing staffing shortages.
A good start to addressing an inadequate number of employees is to prioritize the work that needs to be done. It is important to look at all the tasks that need to be completed and to see what tasks can be set aside for now to keep the business running as smoothly as possible. Keep in mind your customer’s needs should be addressed first. While it may be difficult to justify letting certain things slide, in the short term it is a feasible solution to manage staff issues.
When a business experiences staffing issues it often means all hands are on deck. Look at your current employees as a team and structure them as one. Putting the most critical duties in the hands of your most efficient employees will ensure the business that is top priority is getting completed. When experiencing shortages employees need to be jumping in and helping where needed, even if that is not their “job duties”. During these times, as a leader you need to understand and explain all employees should be fluid to keep business moving forward.
Often when customers are forced to endure longer wait times then they are used to, they can easily get disgruntled. This is the time to train your employees to be confident in their work and role. This helps to alleviate the “I want to see your manager” line that often comes when customers become agitated. Your role in these moments is to educate your staff and have strong protocols in place for employees to fall back on. That way when faced with a disgruntled customer your staff is equipped to handle difficult situations and are able to express the are going to get the same response from the manager as they are currently getting from that employee. Educate your staff on what rules can be stretched or broken and which ones are solid. Granted there maybe times speaking to a manger is unavoidable, but this should help to keep customer service running smoothly.
This may sound like a strange solution to keep your customers happy and your current staff in a positive attitude, but if the setting permits it, play good music. Having music on that inspires those who are listening is a game changer. If people are going to be forced to wait longer in your business this gives them a chance to just enjoy their wait time instead of feeling annoyed they have to wait. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone, but in most cases it helps.
How your employees present themselves is crucial in working directly with customers. It is vital to educate employees the proper way to communicate with your customer base. Tone is important, teaching your employees to have a confident, yet soothing voice when interacting with customers. The human voice can affect moods and if a customer is already agitated you don’t want your employees adding more fuel to the fire. It is also important to teach your staff to hear the customer if they are disgruntled. Allow the customer to vent their frustrations and teach staff to use the phrase, “I hear what you are saying, let me see how we can fix this”. Its import to instill a can-do attitude into employees, instead of taking a more negative approach. There is always a solution to a problem and finding a positive one for the customer is a win for your business.
If you have been struggling to get new potential employees to apply for your current openings maybe it is time to evaluate the position and what you can do differently to market the opening. It might be time to make a pay adjustment if it is feasible for the business. Right now, the current job market is competitive with so many open positions. This has forced businesses to increase wages and add things like benefits to entice new employees.
If you want your company to stand out, offering things such as paid time off, health benefits and retirement plans help to surpass other employment opportunities. It can be difficult to stretch the companies overhead, but in the long run will be an efficient use of company funds. Not having enough employees for a long period of time is taxing on a business and could end up costing more money in the long run. Think of your employees as an investment. The more you invest in your employees the more value they feel. Employees are then more like to put forth good work for your company and to stay for longer periods of time. Keep in mind a high turnover rate of employees is expensive.
Being faced with staffing shortages is a stressful time to be a business owner or manager. The good news is you have ways of adapting to better lead your company for both your staff and customers. Keep in mind everyone is or has experienced these difficulties in the past year. As you evaluate your business to try to find new ways in which to entice new potential employees, it is important to remember to keep a positive attitude. Keeping a positive attitude sets a tone with your employees that trickles down to your customer base. These tips will help to keep your company running smoothly until your business is back to normal employment.