February 1, 2023

How To Handle Staff Shortages

As a business, you should be prepared for an eventual staff shortage. Though you might not be facing this problem right away, it’s likely to rear its ugly head sometime in the future.

As the past couple of years has shown, staff shortages can occur at any moment for several different reasons. Poor infrastructure, lack of affordable childcare, COVID-19 concerns, and supply chain issues are all examples of causes for staff shortages. Sometimes, the cause for a staff shortage can be a result of cost cutting measures or even poor management If your business is not prepared for a staff shortage, it can prove to be detrimental to your everyday operations. Here is how we recommend your business prepare for any staff shortages in the future.

Staff Shortages Are a Challenge Any Business Will Run Into. How Do You Deal With Them?

Cross Training

One of the effects of staff shortages is that your business may not have the manpower or skills to accomplish certain tasks. Does an everyday task require a certain type of position to be filled? Is that position currently vacant? Then expect that part of your business to come to a halt. A method to ensure that your business can prevent this sort of situation is to cross-train your employees across multiple roles. Doing so will ensure that if someone is absent or if the primary position is vacant, your other employees can take it upon themselves to fulfill the necessary duties. Consider setting up a mandatory cross-training program to ensure the most important tasks are never left unattended.


Establish a Talent Pool

If your business creates a list of candidates that can be called upon during a staff shortage, you are more likely to prevent any long-term problems. This can be done by keeping a list of contacts who work as freelancers and independent contractors that are skilled in a number of fields. This can also be done in conjunction with cross-training as you can call upon current staff to help fulfill certain roles in times of need.


Flexibility as an Incentive

The working world has seen massive shifts in the last few years. Working at home is much more common and flexible work hours or often offered by every employer. If your business has the infrastructure to maintain remote work options, it’s best to keep options such as these available to attract potential hires and retain your current workforce. And speaking of incentives…

Offer Extra Incentives

Attracting new hires is all about making your work environment attractive. By offering extra incentives such as benefits, paid time off, or bonuses, you can retain your current employees and even attract new ones. It is important to recognize that while these may be extra costs your business will have to consider, it’s more important to keep your workforce happy and incentivized to avoid the problems that come with staff shortages. Trust us, it’ll be worth it in the long-run!


Automate Your Processes

If your business has the infrastructure and ability to automate any part of your operations, you should consider doing so. By automating parts of your business, you can avoid staff shortage issues by getting more done with less people. You will have to consider hiring employees to maintain your automation processes, but overall, it will be a net positive to not have to worry about core operations coming to a halt if you encounter a staff shortage. If your business invests in technology, you will also be investing in increased efficiency without having to rely on manual labour.

Collaborating With A Temp Agency

Should your business run into staff shortages, you should consider building a relationship with a temp-agency to hire temporary workers to quickly fill roles. This method is considered a fast solution to ensure critical roles and positions are filled to prevent productivity loss. If you decide to go with this option, be mindful of the time you’ll need the temporary worker for. If the length of time doesn’t make sense and cost effectiveness starts to go down, you can always consider another option.



Outsourcing non-core tasks to external workforces can help maintain regular work output and efficiency by moving your main workforce towards more important tasks. Thanks to its affordability and relatively low costs, outsourcing can help ensure your business can afford to keep its main workforce and have the flexibility to spread your budget to other areas (such as employee incentives, automation, and more).


By implementing these strategies, Watchdog Management Services believes that your business will be able to reduce the impact of any staff shortages that may occur in the future. The best defense against such an event is to be prepared for the worst, which is why it would be in your best interest to immediately start analyzing which of these strategies would best fit your business. We recommend asking a professional auditor like Watchdog Management Services to find out which area of your business can accommodate such changes like automation or outsourcing. We hope these strategies will help your business avoid staff shortage issues in the future and that work can continue as smoothly as possible.

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