Ask any company manager what their biggest challenges are, and you are almost certainly going to hear “finding people” in their top challenges. We live in an era, especially post covid, where finding enough people for our businesses is a major challenge and finding enough “good” people, an even bigger challenge. In this article, we are not going to go into the reasons why this is happening. Instead, we will look at what we can do about this problem and how we can help our businesses to continue growing and succeeding despite this labour-restricted environment.
The five initiatives below come from our experience of working with large international clients and are in order of priority. They are practical and most importantly, proven to work.
1. First and foremost, get past the “complaining” stage. It’s good to voice your problem at various business forums especially where you can influence decision makers (government authorities, lawmakers) but move your attention and efforts to initiatives that YOU can do to reduce the problem.
2. Look after your existing people so they don’t leave. Businesses sometimes focus so much on their recruitment challenge that they neglect the fact that they are also losing people, which makes the problem even bigger. Improve your Employee Experience and your Organisational Culture so that people are less willing to leave for a few euros more.
3. Improve the performance of your existing people so that they can make up for some of the work of the missing people. This is not about working harder or longer hours. Train and develop their skills so that with the same effort, they will be more effective in their jobs. You will thus need fewer people to do the same job. Improvements in performance and effectiveness of 20-30% are not as difficult as they sound.
4. Make your processes more efficient so they don’t require so many people to be done. This is a very underrated solution. Do you really need so many signatures before a €100 expense or payment to a supplier is made? Give people at lower levels the authority to decide on the smaller things. Does this process change really need to be approved by 3 senior executives or/and the GM? Some might, but most don’t. Delegate tasks and decision authority where possible.
5. Introduce technology to do more of what people used to do. There are many tasks that can now be done by technology with very little investment. Examples are everywhere. Electronic shop-location maps in malls reduce the required people in reception, self-checkout stations in supermarkets, etc. Not all technological solutions require large investment.
By Barry Kyriacou, featured article in Limassol Chamber of Commerce & Industry