Employers cannot find employees and it will get worse before it gets better. The national restaurant trade group recently announced that their industry would need 500,000 more workers just to get “business back to normal.” Where these workers will come from, no one knows.
This blog series will provide a leadership perspective of what your organization can do ASAP to deal with this worsening situation. Since this is likely affecting you, I want to provide you with concrete solutions on what you can do to minimize the damage that this employee shortage can cause. After I provide a high-level strategy, I propose one or two tactics.
Strategy 3: Reduce Your Footprint in Smart Ways
When business told employees to work from home for a while, little did they know that this would become the new norm.
While there is a move from some employers to get their employees back into ‘the office,’ other employers are making plans for more employees to work from home part of the time. Even as this effort is underway, many of these WFH employees are resisting their employees’ efforts to entice them back to the office. Some employees relocated and now work remotely miles away, a different state and even in a foreign country.
The impact of employees who are WFH impacted the home building industry, lumber production, and those that supply new and remodeled homes such as appliances, cable hookup, and home insurers. Currently there is a huge demand for homebuilders and remodeling contractors to create office spaces in many people’s homes. The demand for playrooms and exercise rooms has lessened.
Leadership SOLUTION – Examine each job and the value it provides to the customer and organization. Then redefine the work to determine if it needs to be done by only one person vs. a team approach. Armed with this analysis determine where it makes sense to move away from static jobs and move toward project-based, cross-functional work. This allows for maximum flexibility to adjust to changing business needs.
Leadership SOLUTION – Have thoughtful discussions on two areas. Use my questions to get the discussion started
- Location: What is the benefit of your current location? If you relocated to a smaller facility, what is the worst that can happen? Can employees share desk space? Could you operate with a co-work physical structure? If customers no longer enter your space, what space saving would that create? How much space is wasted housing paper documents, old equipment, analog files and records?
- Employees’ Job: do all employees need to be on site, every day? What could happen if employees worked from home are last 1/3 to 1/2 the time? Which jobs have face to face contact with the public or customers and which do not? Which jobs would work with job sharing arrangements?