The most common staffing issues to look for: How to address them successfully

Read on for our review of the most common staffing challenges that organizations frequently run into and how they can be resolved effectively.

With businesses still reeling from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation, they're also continuing to face high-pressure staffing complications. These issues affect the entire organization, from low-level employees to the C-suite, and eventually, your bottom line.

Read on for our review of the most common staffing challenges that organizations frequently run into and how they can be resolved effectively.

Understanding staffing issues and how they impact your business

A staffing challenge arises in an organization when workforce management and the types of workers needed don't correspond with current demand. For example, an organization might have too many permanent positions on payroll due to overstaffing. However, it's more common for businesses to struggle with understaffing, whereby the number of current employees isn't sufficient to satisfy demand. A 2022 survey of EMEA leaders WorkJam revealed that 78% of businesses are understaffed today.

What are the consequences of neglected staffing challenges?

If any staffing issue is left unaddressed, organizations will feel its impact. Some of the repercussions of sustained workforce challenges include:

  • High workplace stress and employee burnout.
  • Employee dissatisfaction.
  • Increased employee turnover.
  • Decreased employee performance and work quality.
  • Greater absenteeism and risks of accidents.
  • Brand damage.
  • Loss of sales and customers.
  • Lower employee satisfaction.

If the fallout from short staffing isn't already clear, keep the following statistics in mind:

  • According to Forbes, HR leaders stated that employee burnout is responsible for up to half (more specifically, 20%-50%) of annual workforce turnover.
  • The report from WorkJam also details about half of survey participants mentioning they have lost business due to staff shortage.

What are the most common staffing issues today, and how can organizations address them?

1. High employee turnover rates: This is generally one of the most prominent challenges in staffing today. While turnover can be the result of anything from a lack of recognition to employee burnout, the most common cause is the quality of new hires when organizations are in a pinch for talent: A new team member who isn't appropriately qualified or a good company fit is unlikely to stick around long-term.

Addressing the issue: Your hiring team's best chance of reducing employee turnover starts from the beginning of the employee lifecycle. This often involves a full evaluation of the current hiring process to make sure every step is intended to find appropriate, high-quality applicants. Organizations can also implement tools to automate certain tasks, such as scheduling interviews and posting job descriptions or working with a seasoned staffing agency.

2. Unexpected vacancies and reactive hiring: Sudden openings are inevitable, but they bring on several difficulties as a result. As companies work to fill the gaps left behind, they'll feel the impact of losing quality, trained workers, and the rest of the workforce can quickly be burdened trying to pick up the slack. This leads to reactive hiring and high-pressure timelines, increasing the chances of an inadequate new hire.

Addressing the issue: Abrupt vacancies are hard to anticipate, but teams can take certain precautions to cushion the impact. This might include proactive candidate pipelining, which is an ongoing process of looking for talent and networking with candidates before a position becomes available. Or, organizations can train their current employees in multiple roles: That way, they're better positioned to take on niche work while the company looks for a new hire. Considering a contract hire to fill a vacancy may also help ease the burden while the organization seeks a long-term solution.

3. Improper staffing levels: Whether understaffing or overstaffing, both issues carry similar consequences - higher organizational costs and quality concerns. It is important to note here that there isn't a single "perfect" number to strive for. Rather, understaffing and overstaffing become issues at the extremes - either when an organization is stretched too thin to be nimble, or overstaffed to the point of being completely inflexible and overburdened with overhead costs.

Addressing the issue: Companies can utilize contract workers to promote appropriate staffing levels. These workers can be a linchpin when current employees are away or when there's a boom in demand. The main draw of a contract workforce is it allows your organization to scale up or down as demand necessitates, without being beholden to a specific headcount.

4. Expanding company services: As a company works to keep pace with an evolving, increasingly competitive market, it may consider expanding its services and offerings. While this can be an exciting opportunity to provide clients and customers with added value, it requires skilled roles to be filled quickly — putting a strain on your hiring teams.

Addressing the issue: Organizations can resolve this staffing problem by planning ahead. This means that companies can minimize this issue by actively searching for the talent needed to successfully roll out new services and offerings. Partnering with a firm with knowledge of different candidate markets and available skill sets can be highly beneficial in mapping out where and when to expand. Additionally, teams might work on upskilling internally before making any transitions in the industry.

5. Candidate screening difficulties: When organizations are looking to hire qualified candidates who are the right fit for the team, the candidate screening process is vital to make this decision. However, when job openings need to be filled quickly, it's common for a company to rush through screening. This might lead to quick hires, but it doesn't always result in quality, well-suited employees.

Addressing the issue: Hiring teams are tackling this issue by taking the time to find high-quality candidates, despite the temptation to hire someone as quickly as possible. Organizations can compound these efforts by leveraging recruiting tools that can automate tedious processes or working with a reliable staffing agency to support an improved process.

Should your organization enlist the help of a staffing firm?

When your organization is overwhelmed by staffing challenges, you might want to call on the help of experts at a staffing agency. These professionals can act as the intermediary between job candidates and organizations in pursuit of new hires, but how do companies know when it's the right time to work with a firm?

What are the key metrics to assess when considering a partnership with a staffing firm?

  • How many open roles do you have?
  • How long have those job openings been posted?
  • What's your employee turnover rate?
  • How do your turnover and employee retention rates compare to your industry and competitors?
  • What does your internal skills mapping look like?
  • What are your company's growth goals?
  • How will your growth plans be impacted by staffing levels?

How can a staffing partner help organizations minimize staffing problems?

  • Offer innovative solutions: A staffing agency provides creative solutions such as project-based consultants or other short-term services, which allow your organization to scale up temporarily without needing to bring on full-time staff.
  • Providing a strong understanding of the labor market: Agencies work with candidates and client companies every day. Therefore, they're better positioned than most standalone businesses to know the labor market conditions. For example, the scarcity of talent you're seeking, the true market rate and whether you'll need an entry-level hire or a more experienced worker.
  • Reducing time-to-hire: With connections and a deep candidate database, a staffing agency will often be able to help companies fill hiring needs faster than they might be able to on their own.
  • A true understanding of workforce needs: While speed is a priority, a trusted firm will work closely with you to understand your company's staffing needs intimately. They combine this information with their deep understanding of the market to find a candidate who will truly fulfill your requirements — rather than simply the first candidate to interview. This process ensures the applicant is a suitable fit to become an integral part of your organization while mitigating costly employee turnover in the long run.
  • Performing regular check-ins: Speaking of costly turnover, a staffing agency will conduct regular check-ins with their contractors and clients to guarantee satisfaction. This way, minor issues can be addressed early on in the process.

How can integrated talent solutions from Beacon Hill help you mitigate staffing issues?

Your staffing needs are bound to change, and it can be difficult to anticipate the appropriate staffing levels at any given time. And, when you suddenly have job openings that must be filled quickly, a dependable partner like Beacon Hill can provide the support and solutions you need.

At Beacon Hill Staffing Group, our teams nationwide provide superior talent solutions across a sweeping range of disciplines, covering all industries. Whether it's finding a new member of the C-suite or bringing in a group of entry-level workers, our tried and true workflows and strategies supply your organization with dependable and high-performing new talent.

Ready to take on variable staffing needs with confidence? Partner with us!

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