I’m Struggling with a Staff Shortage and Inexperienced Workers — What can I Do?

There’s a popular meme going around the internet right now that reads, “Everyone is short-staffed, please be patient.” It’s a polite reminder of the current environment amidst serious disruptions in the supply chain, scarcity of materials, and most importantly, the lack of workers. Last week’s employment numbers were, to say the least, unimpressive, coming in at about half of what economists forecasted. Such a tight labor market means that businesses can’t afford to be picky in order to staff their operations. Unfortunately, this means that some companies will hire individuals that are completely inexperienced in their industries. This causes two major problems simultaneously and business owners and managers must deal with both.

Hiring during a Labor Shortage

Hiring is always challenging, even during normal times. But it becomes far more problematic when the labor pool is so very small. It sometimes necessitates relaxing some qualification standards and can even mean abandoning those parameters outright. Although it’s best to screen applicants as normal, this might not be realistic.
The process of hiring a new employee doesn’t end when the offer is accepted. A key part of onboarding new team members is training. Having a good training process in place is crucial for making the new hire feel comfortable at your company – it’s also a great opportunity to communicate your business’ culture, encourage good habits and ensure alignment on long-term goals and strategies from the beginning of the relationship. —National Federation of Independent Business
The result can easily lead to hiring individuals who don’t meet your expectations. It’s important to remember that this isn’t your fault or even theirs. It is simply a reflection of the economic circumstances of the times. So, there’s no personal blame assignable and it’s best to set this aside and address the most real and immediate problems first.

Strategies for Training Inexperienced Workers

Exasperated business owners can successfully transform inexperienced employees into productive team members by doing one or more of the following:
  • Exercise patience. Your very first order of business is to put yourself in the right mindset. You yourself were probably once green and inexperienced. Just as then, these individuals will need to learn the trade. So, give them a stripped-down, crash course. Begin with the highest priorities first and make this repetitive so it quickly becomes second nature. During this time, you’ll need to be patient as they struggle through a learning curve.
  • Create a boot camp course or environment. If you’re in a franchise business that already has training materials, make good use of these. If not, come up with a simple, point-by-point flow chart that your employees can follow and build a productive routine. Make this process as simple as possible, highlighting the priorities over and over again. The point is to get them as familiar with the operations as possible without confusing them with extraneous details and/or minutia.
  • Offer incentives. A great way to motivate your inexperienced hires is to give them rewards when they reach certain goals. Remember, they’re the ones who showed up for the job in the first place and therefore have the work ethic that you would expect. Put this self-starter mentality to work to your advantage by offering little incentives when they reach milestones. This will also help you readily identify the leaders in the pack and will also reveal who isn’t actually motivated.
What other suggestions do you have for training inexperienced workers? Please take a few moments to share your thoughts and experiences so others can benefit from your perspective! Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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