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How To Overcome Short Staffing

Managing a business, may it be small, medium, or large-scale, is difficult even on the most productive days. Imagine, if you are short-staffed! It is a great challenge for business leaders and managers to go through staffing shortages, especially during times of project deployment and higher workforce requirements. Have you ever faced a situation where you have to manage a short-staffed team on a crucial day? It must have been a terrible ride to overcome that day, right? What if it happens again as a result of employee attrition? This is where prioritizing tasks and time management comes into play. Managers must focus on long-term solutions like reskilling workforce, hiring contract workers, or encouraging teamwork. To learn in detail about the effective ideas to overcome short staffing, read further.


For every business, clients or customers must be the top priority and we cannot compromise their expectations. It may even lead to a loss of trust and satisfaction resulting in a huge revenue loss for the organization. Staffing shortages have a direct impact on our client relationships. It is an indication of poor management! As a manager, you need to execute employee team-building ideas and encourage the workers to complete the project on time. But this may risk employee motivation due to workload. Alternative options like hiring contract workers will work only for a short time. The idea to reskill the workforce is a good but time-consuming method. So, dig more deeply into the exact causes of short staffing and apply our expert ideas on how to overcome that. Remember! Ignoring the shortage of staff initially might lead to greater impacts on business performance.


What exactly is your ultimate business goal? To gain more profits and improve your market position, right? So, think about who can take your business to a better level. It’s the valuable human resources whose skills you consume to facilitate the business. In that case, staffing shortage is a great threat to business productivity and growth. Just because you may have managed it temporarily do not assume that you can do it again! The causes of short staffing may be multifold:

  • Unable to find the right hire for the job role due to the competitive job market
  • Business requirement dynamics which may intimidate or demotivate employees leading to employee separation
  • Economic conditions leading to a high turnover rate
  • Long-term or short-term absenteeism of employees due to sickness, vacation, or educational purposes.

Such situations of short staffing can seriously impact business. For instance, if nurses/doctors are short-staffed it’s a great risk to safety. Even in organizations, short staffing causes safety issues, demotivates other employees, increased workload, unable to respond to clients promptly, poor organizational culture, diminished employee performance, loss of valuable clients and projects, and loss of business revenue.


Do you now understand the criticality of staffing shortage? If yes, start acting now! The chief remedial measures must be started from the management level by prioritizing tasks and time management. Followed by efforts to reskill the workforce, and team building. To have immediate results, hiring contract workers through RPO agencies can work out. Let us however understand in detail the expert ideas that have been proven effective:

  • Prioritize your projects
    The effectiveness of management lies in knowing what is the first priority. Start prioritizing tasks and time management and encourage your employees to follow a strict schedule. Track the completion of tasks on time.
  • Systematically organize the work execution
    The implementation of each project must be organized based on the available staff. Plan the work distribution according to the skillset and experience of the staff present. Make sure not to overload a single employee.
  • Maintain a checklist
    Having a project management software or tool backed by leading-edge technology can speed up the management process for you. It is easier to keep track of the completed and in-progress tasks and can send automated notifications to the respective staff.
  • Ensure good team communication
    Though it may sound simple, communication is a pivotal part of good management. Especially during short-staffed situations, communication among the team and with the supervisors must be seamless and consistent. This ensures adequate information regarding the progress of the tasks. But to enable better communication, managers must frequently make a check on the team’s coordination and work on employee team-building ideas.
  • Encourage teamwork
    The problem of short staffing will not affect a strong and well-grounded team. It is the responsibility of a manager to ensure that teamwork is maintained in all processes. An unbreakable team with rational and goal-driven professionals can easily overcome any staffing inadequacy.
  • Upskill/Cross-skill employees
    As part of learning and development, an organization must always prioritize the efforts to reskill the workforce. Employees must never stop learning and upskilling on the current projects/ technologies and future prospective enhancements. Also, cross-skilling is an efficient and time-saving way to utilize employees’ potential across various projects. Such knowledge expansion activities must be made mandatory to help with short-staffing issues as well as better productivity.
  • Implement automation
    One of the most effective ways to manage short staffing is to make all your business operations and project modules highly automated. This can be feasible only with exceptionally competent employees. With proper planning and systemization, managers must develop the projects to be automated right from the beginning. AI and ML experts can easily provide superfast solutions for any technological automation. Since, every business relies on technology for various purposes, investing in automation and AI incorporation can save your business.

  • Outsource in worst cases
    Despite all the above-mentioned efforts, if you are still short-staffed or have staff with inadequate skills, outsource your work to other organizations. Though this may not provide the expected results, it can save the business image among the trusted client during such critical times.
  • Hire contract workers
    Hiring contract workers is also a quick fix during desperate times. This can be easily achieved by hiring RPO service providers. Recently, RPO agencies are highly effective as they have top-tier technology and processes to give you the best candidates within a matter of weeks. Though this might cost the business some significant investment, this method is greatly useful for very critical business requirements.

As rightly said in the proverb, “Prevention is better than cure”, managers and business owners must always be well-prepared for staff shortage issues. The above ideas can give the best results to overcome staffing shortages in these changing economic and social conditions.

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