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Top 10 Staffing Issues & How To Avoid Them

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By Phil Cohen

Employees are an integral part of a business, so any staffing issues can significantly hinder operations, lead to lost profits, and damage the company’s image and reputation among peers and customers. 

Companies of all sizes need to understand potential staffing problems so that they can avoid them, or recognize them and take corrective steps. If staffing issues do not get fixed, they may cause financial problems and make hiring and employee retention more difficult.

Here are 10 potentially damaging staffing problems to correct or avoid altogether. 

1. Reactive Hiring

Reactive hiring refers to the rapid recruitment of a new employee to replace a worker who quit. This strategy puts time pressure on the process of finding the right employee. You may end up hiring someone ill-suited for the job.

The opposite of reactive hiring is proactive hiring. With this approach, you actively seek candidates who are suited for positions within your business, even if there are no immediate openings. These new workers can undergo training and occupy other positions until something suited to them opens up. 

2. Poor Hiring Choices

One poor decision by a hiring manager can lead to a new employee in a vital role who lacks the necessary skills or traits. 

Not only does an inadequate hire have an impact on business operations, but it can damage the workplace culture and frustrate other employees. Furthermore, you can easily lose the time and money invested in training and onboarding these employees. 

A standardized hiring process can help catch unqualified hires before they happen. Build redundancies into the process so that more than one manager has to sign off on an applicant before they get the job. You can also focus on hiring entry-level employees and then promote from within the company. 

3. Turnover

Employee turnover refers to the loss of talent in a company. Workers may quit for various reasons. However, if there is a pattern of employees leaving at regular intervals, it could cause problems for a business. 

High turnover is typically a symptom of other issues. Employees may be unhappy with pay, working conditions, co-workers, management, or other factors. 

Employee turnover means losing skilled employees familiar with your company’s operations and rushing to find and train replacements. This cycle typically hurts profits because there are costs associated with hiring and training. 

Changes to the workplace culture, a different pay structure, opportunities for advancement, and other benefits can help your company retain skilled employees and avoid high turnover rates.

4. Payroll

Payroll issues can cause significant problems. Workers who aren’t getting paid on time may actively seek other places to work. 

Payroll issues can cancel out your gains in building a positive workplace culture and attracting passionate employees. Furthermore, poor or delayed payments can damage your company’s reputation and make it more challenging to recruit new employees. 

If you cannot pay your employees on time, there are payroll solutions, such as changes to cash-flow practices, that could help. 

You can also automate the process using payroll software. Such tools can also help with extra services, such as handling payroll taxes

Payroll factoring is another option when you can’t pay employees. It allows you to get a percentage of the money for outstanding invoices in advance from a factoring company. In an industry like healthcare staffing, this can help with cash-flow needs. It will enable your nursing staff to get paid on time even if your clients are late paying their invoices. 

5. Understaffing

Understaffing is when a company does not have enough employees to perform the required tasks. The high workload on existing employees can create a stressful working environment. It may cause employees to quit or underperform, and it could force the company to pay excessive amounts of overtime. 

In some industries, such as healthcare, understaffing can have dire consequences because it can lead to a lack of adequate patient care. 

Solutions to understaffing include hiring qualified workers and expanding benefits to combat high turnover rates. In healthcare and other fields that require highly specialized workers, expanding staff brings more benefits than drawbacks. Furthermore, if a healthcare facility is temporarily understaffed, you can rely on staffing agencies to fill the need with qualified workers in the short term. 

6. Overstaffing

Overstaffing is when a company has more employees than necessary for regular operations. Some businesses may hire additional workers to respond to a particularly busy period. Overstaffing can also happen when you expect such a busy period, but it does not materialize. 

Overstaffing may also cause problems with employee motivation. If you respond to overstaffing by reducing hours or salary, you can expect a high turnover rate. Hiring seasonal employees is a solution in some industries. In others, you can opt to work with staffing agencies, which can provide qualified workers temporarily. 

7. Inflexibility 

Workplace flexibility refers to the willingness and ability of employees to adapt to changes occurring within the workplace. Inflexible workers are unwilling to take on new roles or adjust working hours to accommodate the company’s needs. For example, an inflexible worker may not accept new tasks to cover for an employee who quit or became ill. 

You can work to avoid this by training employees in new skills so that they are ready to step into different roles when needed. Depending on their operations, some companies may foster flexibility by having employees rotate between tasks to become comfortable with changing roles.  

8. Talent Shortage

A talent shortage occurs when a company does not have enough qualified workers to fill skilled positions. In some industries, only eligible, licensed employees can fill certain jobs. In others, workers don’t need professional certification, but they cannot be effective in a position without the right abilities and training.

Talent shortages hurt a company’s productivity and put too much pressure on current employees to pick up the slack for their unqualified peers. 

A robust recruitment program, combined with competitive benefits and pay, will help you attract more qualified employees. Consider new strategies, such as using social media to interact with recruits or communicating with prospects via smartphone. These new avenues can help you continue to connect and follow up with qualified applicants and keep your offer at the top of their minds. 

9. Poor Onboarding and Training

Training and onboarding are necessary to show new employees the technical aspects of their job and introduce them to your company’s practices, policies, and culture. If the onboarding process is ineffective, employees will lack the knowledge and confidence to handle their day-to-day tasks and meet expectations. 

A standardized onboarding and training process ensures that every new employee comes in with the same knowledge and skills that everyone else began with in the company. You should also create a streamlined system for new employees to ask questions and receive clarification easily. 

10. Ignoring Underperformers

Underperforming employees do not meet the minimum expectations of their employers. They can be detrimental to productivity and cause frustration for their peers. Managers may feel they have to spend too much time checking on the underperformer to ensure they are handling their required tasks. 

The first step to combat underperformance is to have clearly defined expectations and standards. Employees will then be aware of the expectations they need to meet. 

More-experienced staff members who are underperforming may benefit from additional training or a lateral move to another position for which they are better suited.

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Phil Cohen

About the author

Philip Cohen is the founder and President of PRN Funding, LLC. PRN Funding is an extraordinarily focused niche player in healthcare funding. With years of…... Read More

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