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How to Navigate Labor Shortages as a Small Business

As the worker shortage intensifies across the country, it’s become increasingly clear that small businesses need to make big changes in order to weather the storm. Knowing how to navigate labor shortages as a small business will prove crucial in staying afloat.

Analysts report that after millions of workers lost their jobs or chose to stay home at the beginning of the pandemic, many still haven’t returned to work. At the same time, it’s been reported that 25% of currently employed workers are considering quitting. This means employers are dealing with both a lack of new employees and current workers on the brink of leaving.

How to Navigate Labor Shortages as a Small Business

Fewer workers means the potential for more job mistakes, injuries, and other problems. The goal, then, is to help small businesses both attract new employees and maintain the help they already have.

1. Reduce and/or alter your hiring requirements.

Up until recent years, you may have had stringent criteria for hiring new employees. Today, things are different. In other words, it’s probably time to consider reducing your requirements. Lowering your expectations when it comes to new employees can mean more applicants and a broader pool to choose from.

For instance, some small businesses are opening up their hiring to those who have had past convictions and individuals who don’t speak English as a first language.

Naturally, employees who aren’t used to your industry or work setting must be adequately trained. Still, you may actually be able to facilitate a stellar new wave of employees by opening things up — especially when it comes to young people and those looking to restart their careers.

2. Offer further training for current workers.

Some of your employees may need to shift their roles or take on new responsibilities. Don’t allow them to do so without setting them up for success. In order to have successful employees in any industry, adequate training is essential. Providing additional training and implementing new retention programs can help keep your current staff on board.

Additional training will also help reduce risk. Fewer workers and workers in positions that they are not used to you means a higher likelihood of accidents and injuries. Certainly, small businesses need to avoid these occurrences to maintain the well-being of their workers, to ensure a steady staff, and to mitigate the risk of insurance claims.

3. Consider moving up lower-level employees.

When management positions and others at the top are difficult to fill, it may be to your advantage to move up lower-level staff — especially the youngest and most skilled workers.

Many of these individuals are ambitious and hard-working. They’ve been looking for a way to advance their career, and now may be the perfect time as they can both level up their own responsibilities and help you fill much-needed positions.

4. Appreciate your existing talent.

Lastly, don’t forget to offer appreciation and encouragement to the employees you do have. Often, the stress and hardships that come with losing employees and having trouble hiring new workers can cause employers to push their workers even harder and not appreciate them.

This goes against your goals. Not only do you want a happy and contented staff. But you also want to make sure you are not pushing anyone away. As stated above, an increasing number of workers are on the brink of quitting their jobs at the current time.

Navigate the Labor Shortages With the Experts

The labor shortage presents a plethora of problems for small businesses — one of which is raised liability risks. When workers take on new responsibilities they’re not used to or new employees get thrown into the ring too fast, it unfortunately opens things up for more accidents and problems. Having adequate insurance protection can help you avoid costly litigation and/or payouts. Contact Grand Mutual Insurance today to learn about your business’s insurance options.