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Navigating the Labor Shortage

By Erica Brune | President


The Great Resignation or the Turnover Tsunami—however you refer to this period of change in the workplace—is a historic moment for the workforce. As the quitting rate continues to increase along with the number of open positions, employers are being forced to take action to counteract the labor shortage.

In 2021, 20 million workers left their jobs in a span of five months. By the last day of October in 2021, there were 11 million job openings, which set a new record. During the height of the pandemic, people were fearful of being laid off, but that tide has changed. Employers are in the midst of navigating an ongoing labor shortage that doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. However, there are maneuvers for employers to look at when trying to recruit.



The ability to attract and retain top talent has never been so vital to a company’s sustainability. The once-trusted recruitment process of posting jobs online and hoping to find candidates are long over and employers must rethink their recruitment efforts to find the right people. Rather than posting a job description online that outlines the duties and responsibilities of the role, take a moment to highlight what makes your company special.

Job postings should expand on the culture of your workplace and what people look forward to coming to work each day. Whether your company has made the shift to a remote workplace or offers a hybrid working environment, make sure you include those details in your job postings.

As a response to the ultracompetitive talent market, we are seeing 57 percent of employers offering referral bonuses and 43 percent boosting pay. Apart from being able to raise wages, companies are looking at alternative benefits to attract and retain employees. One of the most requested benefits is flexibility, but in some industries where flexibility is not possible due to the nature of the job, employers are taking a different approach. Forty-four percent of employers are taking the opportunity to upskill and reskill their staff members through different training programs.

Another differentiator when navigating the labor shortage is looking at granting employees early access to their paychecks. Studies show that 83 percent of workers are eager to be paid at the completion of each working day. An accelerated payroll program allows employees to gain access to their funds quickly and encourages employer loyalty.



Once you have the job posting and workplace benefits in place, it’s time to start thinking where you should be looking for talent. Every industry is being affected by the labor shortage, which means job boards and social media platforms are bursting with job opportunities. While it’s easy enough to post your job ad online, the likelihood of finding quality candidates is slim unless your opening checks all of the candidates’ boxes.

Another route to finding the right people for your organization is to look at hiring a recruiter. Recruiters have access to large networks of individuals with a vast array of skills and industries. The inherent ability to create relationships with almost anyone is what makes hiring a recruiter a seamless process. The catch, as is with most recruiting efforts, is the timeliness of your response. In our job market, employees will be receiving several job offers after only a single interview. If you aren’t willing to move quickly and take a leap, the candidate will be starting somewhere else within a week.



When recruitment efforts take longer than anticipated, companies are learning to do more with less. They are adapting their processes and procedures to accommodate the smaller staff and strained resources. It’s not an ideal situation to ask your staff to buckle down and bear with you through this time, but transparency is important. If you keep your staff informed of your recruitment efforts and even encourage them to make referrals, it will inspire loyalty and increase retention. Nonetheless, adaptability is one of the most crucial traits of a company during this time.

The labor shortage for some employers is so dire that they are willing to rethink their pre-employment processes to determine if background checks and drug screenings are applicable for all positions. While this is up to the employer’s discretion, it’s important to revise any handbooks or employee documents to remain compliant.



At the beginning of the pandemic, the saying “We’re in this together” rang out like a siren and signaled a change in our mindset. While it may seem naïve to encourage that saying again—especially when you consider we could all be grasping at the same candidates—nevertheless, it is true. Whether your company has expanded and you need more resources or you have been affected by the Turnover Tsunami, we are all seeing the lingering effects of the pandemic through the labor shortage.


As Owner and President of Lever1, Erica is responsible for strategic planning, management and business oversight. With Erica’s guidance, Lever1, a fully accredited professional employer organization, has secured an industry-wide reputation of excellence, operational reliability and thought leadership.