Rebecca arrives early for work on Monday morning feeling excited and anxiously awaiting the arrival of her team. She has a great plan for the week to generate sales and produce results for her store. Each team member will contribute to a successful week and she can’t wait to get started!
Within minutes of her scheduled arrival time the phone rings. Rebecca sighs as she notices the District Director’s number on the display and lifts the receiver. The district is understaffed and employees have been covering multiple locations. “Of course”, she says. “No problem. We’re always happy to help!” Her enthusiastic tone masks the disappointment of yet another morning spent wondering how she can possibly get it all done.
She retrieves her notes and begins to reassign some of Mike’s duties while removing other items that likely won’t get done without him. When Mike arrives she lets him know that he’ll be covering a shift at the location down the street. Her smile provides reassurance while frustration bubbles just beneath the surface…
Unfortunately, there are far too many situations like Rebecca’s and too many Multi-Unit Leaders who are feeling the daily pressure of ensuring their locations are open and available to serve customers.
Every leader knows that nothing kills productivity and morale as quickly as understaffed locations, yet many allow positions to remain open for far too long. The stress of borrowing from and lending to neighboring stores often results in additional resignations; a vicious cycle that impacts not only results and employee morale but customer experience, as well.
There is certainly a lot more to Staffing than filling open positions. Engaging, training, developing, evaluating and promoting team members are all critical elements of Staffing. However, the first step is to have great people in place and every available position filled.
Here are five ways to avoid the disastrous effects of poor Staffing and to ensure you are making Staffing your top priority:
- No matter how busy you are make some time each day to take action: Review resumes, follow up with Recruiters, foot source in your area, engage with your current employees and customers, or post open positions on Social Media. Schedule reminders for these simple tasks on your calendar.
- Be available with little or no notice: Hiring is a process that takes some time. Don’t put off interviews because of your schedule. Change your plans in order to accommodate an interview. If you can’t change your general location arrange for the candidate to meet you half way. Another option is to meet the candidate early or after operational hours. In some cases, a video interview can be scheduled in order to “get the ball rolling.”
- Get your team involved: Share Staffing needs with all employees. Often times, employees are not involved in the Staffing process because they are not asked to be or don’t know how to help. Having staffed locations benefits all employees so be sure to “explain the why” to your team members.
- Don’t make excuses for poor staffing levels in your area. “I haven’t had time to look for candidates”, “I haven’t had quality applicants apply”, “Recruiters have provided very few candidates for my area”, “I had the position filled, but the deal fell through,” are all examples of excuses leaders make rather than taking ownership. If the leader can’t fill the position with the right person, who can?
- Do it now: Don’t wait for a Staffing issue to become serious before acting with urgency. Respond immediately and often to every open position.
I often think of this quote:
“The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small.”