Can You Weather the Labor Storm?
This tight labor market combined with economic pressures is creating a “perfect storm”, affecting companies across all industries as they struggle to fill seats with the right people. In April 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported job openings outnumber job seekers by nearly 2 to 1. Labor is expected to be a continuing issue as more employees seek to be their own boss and changes in immigration policy affect the overall pool of labor, according to Paul Krugman from the New York Times.
To survive (and thrive) despite changes to the workforce, maybe what you need is not another employee but a different way of doing things...
Fix the leak in the boat instead of continuing to bail it out. In other words, figure out what the problem is before jumping too quickly into hiring. Take a walk through your processes, both internally and customer-facing, to see where you could utilize technology or innovation to diminish your reliance on labor.
Look into Hiring a Fractional
Fill the gaps on a part-time or short-term basis with talented contractors who have experience in a variety of organizations, and often bring a valuable perspective to the position. They can also help you with onboarding a full-time employee when the time is right.
Make Every Second Count
Save time in customer service by having a system to automatically identify a customer by their phone number and pull up their account details, allowing your staff to focus on solving the problem and provide the perfect balance between personalized service and short on-hold times.
Review scheduling best practices for employees that are on the road to consolidate travel time – map out geographical constraints or use scheduling software to create more efficient routes.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Analyze the inquiries you get most often and be sure the information your customers are looking for is already on your website, and that your hours and location are updated in apps like Google, Yelp and Apple Maps.
Consider a LEAN or 5-S exercise to observe how products and people move through the operation. You might be able to change physical layouts or add automation (like conveyors or robots) to improve labor utilization.
Use shared calendars to effectively coordinate and schedule meetings, avoiding time spent emailing availability and details back and forth.
Employ a shared online workspace for collaborative work (like Microsoft Teams for quick communication, SharePoint for more robust file storage, etc) to expedite completion of documents and projects.
Change with the Times
The way we work and live has changed. Why not allow customers, vendors, and employees access to the information they need, when they need it, and reduce the reliance on customer service or internal departments?
Offer online bill pay and automated access to account details to increase customer ease-of-use.
Invest in an online chat-bot to answer most questions at any hour.
Increase employee engagement with an online HR platform to consolidate payroll and policy details for employees to find answers to their questions, minimizing the need for extra HR hours.
Utilize an e-Commerce platform to integrate your efforts in sales, marketing and operations by selling goods or services online and managing all the details and reports within one system.
These are just a few examples of ways to create efficiency in your operation and reduce the need to put an extra person on the payroll. Take a close look at the way you do business to weather the changes in the labor force today and moving forward.
Author, Chris Fort, is a Client Account Manager with The Resultants®. Get to know Chris by visiting our team page or connecting with her on LinkedIn.
“What Ever Happened to the Great Resignation?” Paul Krugman, April 5, 2022, New York Times.
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