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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 06 December 2021
  • Leo Covey

Managing Your Small Business through Staffing Shortages

An explosion in consumer demand has put a strain on small businesses across a variety of sectors, leading to staffing shortages for many. Whereas 2020 forced small businesses to shore up their overhead in the face of the pandemic, many of these same small businesses had to play catch up starting in mid-2021 to fortify their most precious resource of all: a qualified team of employees.

woman video-conference interview

If you find yourself with not enough human resources to effectively operate your small business, or you are dealing with a period of employee turnover, consider these strategies for successfully dealing with staffing shortages.

Reassess your needs

Industry leaders talk a lot about the “new normal” we now find ourselves in, and it could certainly impact the way you staff your small business. Though staffing shortages are challenging, use this opportunity to recalibrate your needs based on new learnings and ways of working. According to a study from The UPS Store, the pandemic forced 37% of small businesses to make adjustments to their workforce. You can, too, by asking yourself some important questions: Is this an opportunity to backfill existing roles or to level up in talent? Have technology and new ways of working opened your eyes to remote working, or are you tethered to an office or store? When you nail down what you need, you can then search for the best staffing solutions for your small business.

Work your network

Staffing shortages can arise from growth (always a good problem to have!) or employee turnover. Either way, you are probably going to have to hire your way through the situation. Perhaps hold off on calling a recruiter or staffing company as your first course of action, and instead consider your own personal network to help you power through staffing shortages. Craft a job description that is going to excite and inspire potential candidates, then post it on your social media channels. Give your employees a referral bonus if they recommend a friend or contact that leads to a hire. Get the word out with your customers too. Who knows where your next star employee could come from?

Protect the employees you have

If your staffing shortages are the result of employees leaving your small business, know that your remaining employees will undoubtedly think about what these changes will mean for them. The cost of replacing any employee can range from half to twice their salary. Suddenly a spot bonus or 10% raise for your high performers who you view as a potential flight risk seems a lot more advisable — and palatable. Other ways of safeguarding your employee satisfaction through staffing shortages can range from more flexible hours, work-from-home situations or even intangible benefits like culture-building initiatives within your organization.

Tap into the gig economy

Rather than look for additional full- or even part-time employees to help you work through staffing shortages, maybe the answer lies in looking for task specialists within the gig economy. Focus on the jobs to be done in your office — whether that’s a graphic designer, personal assistant or seasonal sales associate. Then search for a platform that will put you in touch with one of these specialists. You benefit from not being attached to a permanent employee; they benefit from the flexibility and work-life balance that comes with working on a gig-by-gig basis.

Let The UPS Store® help you with your staffing shortages

As you manage through these temporary staffing challenges with the resiliency and resolve that our small business community is known for, know that The UPS Store is there for you every step of the way. With thousands of locations across the U.S., there is likely a location near you, with knowledgeable professionals ready to help you manage tasks that are affected by your staffing shortages. From notarizing and securely shredding office documents to packing, shipping and printing, we would be proud to be an extension of your small business.

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