How to Optimize Your Workforce During a Labour Shortage

6 min read

As an HR manager, one of your key responsibilities is being in the know.

This involves keeping track of all your employee’s performance and seeing problems before they arise.

With a labour shortage in full swing, recruiting new employees is difficult and your attention may be divided elsewhere. Areas that might involve retaining your hard-working employers, recruiting quality ones and keeping the business afloat all while juggling your daily tasks.

It’s A LOT to worry about in a day’s work.

In a recent webinar hosted by Talent Canada, Max our COO and former transformation consultant shares some insight into how to optimize your workforce during a labour shortage.

Here are some actionable tips:

1. Create a Strong Organizational Culture

Gone are the days of valuing ping pong tables and a fridge full of beer.

If there’s anything we learned in the past year is that companies need to step up their game if they want to attract quality workers.

strong company culture isn’t built on external perks but rather reinforced by a shared set of values and beliefs. Areas that shape a company culture include communication styles, performance methods, working conditions, company events and more.

 Finding quality candidates whose values align with your company’s is the starting point. 

The real work comes from implementing and reinforcing your values on the daily. Since industries vary greatly, there is no one size fits all approach. You’ll have to turn to your most engaged employees to get insights into what makes your company feel like home for them.

That sense of belonging is crucial in retaining employees and building a strong company culture. You want to build the type of relationship where your employees wouldn’t run the other direction by the thought of joining you for lunch.

We recently got in touch with a manufacturing company that implemented their value of “safety and wellness” first by adding ventilation to their factory during the summer months. This made their employees feel valued. As a result, they’re able to work more efficiently. 

No matter the industry, with a strong company culture in place it’s possible to build those bonds with employees. It can even lead to employees becoming ambassadors for your company. Here at Evolia, most of our employees came from referrals. By being the company employees want to work at, you’re shining a light on your strong culture which will attract more quality employees.

2. Get Creative When Compensating New Employees

When you think of benefits, is salary the first thing that comes to mind? 

Studies show that while salary is an important benefit, it’s not what attracts and retains new employees in the long haul.

On top of that, many smaller companies don’t have the luxury of offering higher salaries even to top-level employees. 

With flexibility being a major game-changer for employees, you can leverage that to attract new employees. 

Having the freedom to work the hours that fit your lifestyle is a highly sought-after benefit most employees are looking for. Seeing how we’re living in the age of the employee’s market, you need to work with them, not against them. Being mindful of the benefits that’ll appeal to prospective candidates will help attract them and keep the competition away.

If you’re not in the technology industry, it’s safe to say, remote work may not be an option. Which is why you need to be a little more creative with your benefits.

A few retail and restaurant clients of ours offered their new employees the opportunity to fill their own schedules.

If the goal is to cover all shifts, there’s no better way to increase productivity than letting employees choose the hours that work best for them.

By being attentive to their needs and lifestyle, new employees will be more motivated and as a result, think long-term with your company.

3. Partner up With Other Companies

“Better together” isn’t a mantra that applies only to the pandemic. It’s a way in which companies can leverage their strengths and work together. 

With the labour shortage, most employers are lacking staff and can’t afford to hire full-time. Instead of spending hours interviewing and training new employees, why not partner up with other companies in your industry to fill positions with quality employees instead?

The benefits are twofold: Both companies save time on training and fill in more shifts, while employees get their hours in to ensure a full-time pay.

For example, a current employee working a morning shift at your company can head to a partnering company for an afternoon shift. Doing so makes the job offer more enjoyable and allows for a more human-centric approach in managing a workforce during difficult times.

4. Offer Flexible Schedules 

When it comes to flexibility, customization is everything. 

What may be flexible for one employee may not be for another. The important part is understanding your employees’ needs and creating a schedule that aligns with your business goals. 

Yet, creating flexible schedules isn’t easy. From last-minute replacements to night-shift requests to an employee calling in sick, moving shifts around to create an optimized schedule may feel like a never-ending puzzle. Especially if you’re doing it manually using a whiteboard or an Excel spreadsheet.

Having an automated scheduling system in place helps streamline the process and allows you to focus on what matters most. With Evolia, we’ve seen how flexibility helps companies cover close to 10% more shifts without going into overtime.

Since employees are able to request their shifts they’re willing to work a lot more than expected. With a policy in place, all managers need to do is accept the request.

With more shifts being filled and less back/forth taking place you get the freedom and peace of mind to focus on what matters most: growing your business.


Now that you have some actionable tips on how to optimize your workforce, all that’s left is putting them into practice!

For more details on how to optimize your workforce, you can watch the complete webinar here.

If you’re interested in automating your schedules and saving time, feel free to reach out to us for a free demo.

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