3 Common Mistakes Associated with Being Short Staffed & How to Recover

Every manager and business owner wants their business to run smoothly and proper staffing is crucial to achieving that goal. Of course, being short-staffed can lead to problems in day-to-day operations, but there's also a bigger picture to consider.

As the job market becomes more and more competitive, businesses need to do everything they can to keep their skilled, talented, and reliable employees happy to avoid being short-handed. Hiring strategically will keep business running smoothly, while outdated and inefficient practices will have the opposite effect.

If you find your business short-staffed on a regular basis, you may be making one of these common staffing mistakes. Don't fret, there are solutions, should you find yourself guilty of one (or more) of these mistakes.

1. Not Addressing Being Understaffed

On any given day, you can fall understaffed due to an employee calling out sick, beginning maternity leave early, or having a crucial staff member quit unexpectedly. It's also common to become understaffed during busier times of the year, like holidays, or when starting a new project, like expanding locations.

If these understaffing issues go unaddressed, it can dramatically affect your business and ultimately your staff. Essential daily tasks may continue to go undone, leaving your employees to become overwhelmed and stressed with the demoralizing feeling of never being able to catch up. While it can be difficult to find a qualified employee to fill a position on short notice, there are some solutions.

The first step is to avoid being put in such an unexpected predicament. Yes, this may sound obvious and maybe easier said than done, but prevention is quite plausible with the right tools.
Using scheduling software to track upcoming PTO and log updated employee availability ensures shifts are covered in advance, as well as last-minute, should an employee call out unexpectedly.

Most software also notes employees who have continually called out of shifts or notorious for taking convenient sick days. Once this becomes chronic, management has the opportunity to confront said employees and potentially address any lingering issues that may be leading to these spontaneous absences (like being overworked). The hope is that a resolution will be found during this discussion.

Working with a staffing agency can also be helpful when needing to find a qualified employee fast. The agency will pre-screen potential candidates and verify qualifications in advance. The agency can also help fill a vacant position on a moment's notice, whether it be temporary or permanent.

2. Ignoring Root Causes of High Turnover

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High turnover is often associated with unhappy employees, but the issue is usually more complex than that. Many factors can lead to dissatisfaction in the workplace, including low wages and lack of benefits.

If a company's pay rate is on the lower end of the spectrum, there is a greater chance that employees stay with an organization short-term for personal growth and to utilize the experience as a stepping stone. Once achieved, they move on to the next venture.

In relation, when management fails to acknowledge a job well done, employees who feel underappreciated will move on to a company where they feel more valued. The same goes for managers who share a similar sentiment.

If the issue is related to low compensation, do some research to determine what the industry standard is and try to meet that as best as possible.

If you can't afford to pay what competitors are paying, look for other perk alternatives, like health benefits, flexible work schedules, or remodeling the workplace and establishing a positive corporate culture.

3. Failing to Hire the Right Candidates from the Start

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If your in-house recruiter or management team doesn't have enough time to screen potential employees thoroughly, you will certainly notice a trend in high turnover and short-term retention.
Hiring employees who don't integrate well with your company's culture is a common issue that's easy to overlook. New hires should be able to integrate seamlessly with your current employees. Teamwork is essential to a company's success. When employees don't work well together, it affects performance and productivity, and also causes tension that often contributes to high turnover rates.

Keep in mind that quality employees also appreciate an efficient hiring process. If your company is slow to make decisions or disorganized during interviews, qualified prospects will move on. A timely and efficient hiring process sets the tone for an illustrious work ethic in future employees.

In order to ensure credibility, do not skip following up with previous employers, as this step is an essential part of the hiring process. Candidates may be able to talk-the-talk and say all the right things in an interview, but the question is- Can they walk-the-walk?

Former employers are limited as to what can be disclosed during a reference screening, however, what is permissible is the amount of time that candidate worked for the previous organization and if that candidate is re-hirable.

Perhaps this candidate did not get along well with other team members, was unreliable in abiding by the schedule, or showed a lack of motivation in the workplace. Although these details cannot be shared, any such factors could deem someone un-hirable to a former employer.

Wrapping Up
A well-organized and timely hiring process is crucial for keeping a company running smoothly and retaining skilled employees. Hiring the right candidates, reducing employee turnover, and eliminating understaffing are some proactive steps any company can take to recover from staffing issues.

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