By Kailey Bowser

The Great Recession is no joke. Most of us have seen, heard, or are living through the current staffing crisis. Restaurants and business can’t find enough help -some going so far as having to cut their business hours- teachers leaving education in record numbers, nurses changing careers and leaving healthcare, frontline workers and leaders burnt out and looking for new career paths and opportunities. 

Last year, more than 4 million people left their jobs each month in the United States. And, according to a new LinkedIn survey 61% of US employees are considering resigning in 2023.

The effects of this workforce volatility on organizations is staggering. 

So, what do we, as leaders, do?

Figuring out the best path forward can be overwhelming, but here are a few tips that can help you find your way. 

Focus on retention. 

There are most likely rockstar employees that have shown up every day, with a smile on their face, a teamwork attitude and continue to take on more responsibility as the workforce around them dwindles. It’s time to make sure that you are keeping them happy. 

  • Conduct a “stay interview?” Maybe you can ask them why they have stayed and what it will take for them to keep sticking around. 
  • Show them they are appreciated. If there is a possibility for an extra PTO day, new job title, a bonus, or a wage increase, do it. 
  • Say thank you. Bring them a gift card or their favorite coffee and tell them how much they are appreciated.

Focus on recruitment. Reassess your recruiting process. Do you have one? Review what you’ve been doing and strategize about what you can be doing to improve your process. 

  • Work with an organization that specializes in organizational effectiveness. If it’s feasible, a new set of eyes and ears can help you see things from a different perspective, perhaps helping you determine the types of individuals you need in the organization and how you can be better equipped to recruit the best talent.
  • Cast your net wide. Find new places to look for talent, rewrite your role summaries to allow more diverse candidates to apply, look for inventive ways to attract candidates with more diverse skill sets, experience, and energy to work. 

Push Boundaries.

If one good thing can come out of this staffing crisis, it’s probably the way that organizations continue to push boundaries. 

  • Get creative and innovative. Continue to test new ways to best serve patients, provide great customer service, and become more efficient. 
  • Partner with other businesses for support. If you don’t have the bandwidth or expertise to implement processes or tools that will improve your business, partner with others for support so you can implement those new technologies and new processes. 

Cross train, re-organize, and rethink. 

Many organizations have employees that are too specialized, and they are learning the hard way that they need more flexibility in their workforce.

  • Cross train. The more you can cross train, the more people can step into new growth opportunities and support one another. This is a great time to look at your business model and re-organize to best suit the company needs. 
  • Listen to your employees. They are most likely the ones with the in-depth knowledge of how things work and come up with ideas to become more efficient, new ways of thinking and new ways of training.  

Don’t forget about safety. As the workforce dwindles and your staff are working longer hours, taking on new responsibilities with less training, and stretching their bandwidth, please, please, please remember to slow down and keep safety top of mind.

  • Take the time to train. Make sure your employees have the training they need to keep themselves and their co-workers safe. It just takes one accident to throw your organization into a tailspin.
  • Create a safety checklist.  Ensure that safety concerns, breeches and reminders are included in your weekly meetings and check-ins. Keeping safety protocols and expectations top of mind can help ensure safety in the organization.
  • Use reminders. Place reminder posters, notes and memos in strategic locations to keep your people safe.

Change your leadership style. If you are continuing to expect more from your employees, be sure that you are holding yourself accountable. Now is the time to FOCUS ON YOUR PEOPLE. 

  • Listen Intently.  Listen to what your teams are saying – and pay attention to what they may not be saying as well. Listen for meaning, listen for new possibilities and perspectives. By engaging in the conversation, you are showing your people that they matter, and they are worth your time. Your people are your biggest asset, make sure they know it.
  • Connect and Be present. Taking the time to connect with others makes it possible for you to really get to know the other person, allowing you to build deeper, more meaningful relationships. Pick up the phone or get up and walk around to connect with your team.
  • Find ways to recognize and celebrate others often. Recognition makes people feel good about themselves, their jobs, and the organization. By taking the time to call out a job well done, you show your team that you truly value them and their contribution.

When you do these things with intentionality, they move you in the direction you need to go to recruit and retain the workforce you need to succeed. If you find you are stuck at some point in this process, we would love to talk with you. Our mission is to give voice and action to an emerging future. As a partner in your success, we would come alongside you to help you find your voice, see your vision, and imagine what the right action could be for you, your team, and your organization. Please contact us for a complimentary consultation at or call us at 970-279-3330.