Insight Talent management

4 ways to manage a staff shortage with your HRIS

Written by Edda Hamar on 11 Aug 2022

“I quit.”

As a HR manager, these aren’t the words you want to hear during a staff shortage.

It’s estimated to cost a company 6-9 months of an employee’s pay to replace a star team member. On top of this, you have to deal with the ripple effect that an exiting employee can create; disengaged coworkers, loss of productivity, and added pressure on recruiting and training teams. A talent shortage can be a rollercoaster.

While employee attrition may seem incredibly challenging, finding ways to adapt and thrive during trying times separates the companies that have future-proofed their people strategy from… well, the ones that get left behind. The talent shortages we’re witnessing across industries globally call for savvy leaders to leverage tools that free up their team to do great work, maintain their wellbeing, and attract top talent.

You’re not alone. Approximately 75% of companies surveyed by ManPower Group in 2022 reported talent shortages and difficulty hiring, representing a 16-year high. The top five in-demand roles are in:

  1. IT & Data
  2. Sales & Marketing
  3. Operations & Logistics
  4. Manufacturing & Production
  5. Customer Facing & Front Office

Taiwan tops the list with 88% of companies reporting talent shortages and the Czech Republic is at the other end of the scale with 49% of companies reporting staff shortages. View the full list here.

employee offboarding

Tools to combat staff shortage

Solving the talent shortage isn’t about finding rockstar recruiters. It’s a multi-layered challenge with a range of different talent management solutions to implement. Here’s a breakdown of some of the impacts you might see during a staff shortage:

  • Talent acquisition challenges: It’s harder to hire great people.
  • Increased employee turnover: Your team members may be tempted to jump ship into new roles.
  • Higher costs: It’s more expensive to replace people if they leave.
  • Reduced capacity: Certain parts of your business may need to be scaled back or put on hold due to skills shortages.
  • Lower morale: People can feel overworked if they are working in under-resourced departments.

Let’s explore how people management software can supercharge your team during uncertain times.

  1. Task automation during staff shortage
  2. Develop your team
  3. Invest in culture
  4. Analytics tell you the whole story

1. Task automation during staff shortage

Technology is your superpower. Build efficiency into your systems to save your team time and hassle with automation. There’s nothing more draining than doing menial work that a computer could do better, and faster. Plus, you reduce human error across every department.

Automatic Onboarding Workflows and Checklist | HR Automation | intelliHR

  • Problem: Repetitive tasks suck up time — a precious resource in periods of staff shortages.
  • Solution: Automate processes like team pulses, workflow design, and use templates. We have a range of automation tools that can assist you in streamlining work.
  • Benefit: Using automation tools will not only save time, but also boost productivity, which has the added bonus of improving the office aura (aka employee satisfaction).

Related: 5 ways to reduce HR admin with automation

2. Develop your team

Investing in your team’s learning and development contributes to their professional growth, but also supports your internal mobility strategy. When you’re operating during a skills shortage, it’s a game-changer to boost the skills of your current workforce.

  • Problem: A skills gap in your workforce means you may need to scale back projects or client deliverables. That’s money left on the table.
  • Solution: Use a Learning Management System (LMS) to upskill your employees and assign stretch assignments to build capacity in new areas. Our learning and development features help you conduct training needs analysis, and identify skill gaps, while tracking your investment and feedback along the way.
  • Benefit: By bridging different skills gaps, you ensure teams can meet business goals and you create opportunities for your employees internally. Good for morale, great for business.

Related: 5 Tips to conduct an effective training needs analysis

3. Invest in culture

Building a fulfilling culture is a hugely impactful employee retention strategy. When your company becomes one that people love to work for, there’s far less reason to leave. Simple.

Think about these questions to build a more meaningful culture for your people:

  • Do your managers actually know how their employees are feeling about their work?
  • Do you have a grasp of what culture looks like for your entire organization?
  • Are leaders moving from ‘managers’ to ‘coaches’?
  • What opportunities for advancement do you provide?
  • Do you offer a competitive salary and flexible work arrangements?
  • Is your workplace a safe environment, physically and psychologically?
  • Do your employees have the tools they need to do their job?
  • Do employees feel they have a work/life balance?
  • Are you offering adequate leave entitlements? Mental health days, paid parental leave, fertility benefits, wellness budget.
  • Are you conducting exit interviews to improve the culture?

Employee Wellness Survey and Analytics | HR Automation | intelliHR

Here’s how investing in culture during a staff shortage can play out:

  • Problem: A struggling culture results in higher staff turnover.
  • Solution: Lean on your people management platform to facilitate performance reviews and build a continuous feedback system. Nurturing the culture becomes a collaborative process with employees, based on input from everyone in the organization. A continuous feedback system provides real-time insights, transparent feedback, and fosters employee trust. This keeps your finger on the culture pulse so you don’t miss a beat.
  • Benefit: Your employees become empowered at work and focus their attention on investing in their current role, rather than looking for jobs elsewhere.

Related: How to use feedback to improve your company culture

4. Analytics tell you the whole story

Making effective people management decisions during staff shortages can be challenging — stakes are high, business targets are on the line and uncertainty lingers in the air. One thing that makes decision-making easier is access to real-time, data-driven HR analytics with actionable insights.

  • Problem: Measuring engagement and retention traditionally meant spreadsheets and clunky processes – this isn’t great for your employee experience or effective decision making.
  • Solution: Lean on HR software to understand your people like never before. You can track, measure and report on employee engagement, performance and productivity with real-time HR analytics. Your gut feeling can only take you so far.
  • Benefit: Increase employee retention with ease and clarity. Learn more from our Employee Turnover and Attrition Guide.

Related: The ultimate guide to HR analytics

A staff shortage isn’t the end of the world. Yes, it’s frustrating and we’d much rather have access to lots of talented people at our doorstep. But it does teach us to trim non-essential tasks from day-to-day operations by leveraging clever tech tools. Improving staff retention is key to thriving through uncertain times; build a wholesome culture, create regular dialogue with your team, and leverage HR analytics to guide decision making. Technology is your superpower. Embrace it and you’ll sail through the current talent shortage, and beyond.


intelliHR is a people management platform helping HR, leaders and managers enhance performance, culture, engagement and retention. With built-in HRIS and powerful real-time analytics, see how the platform works today.

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