Staffing issues are relatively common — and if you’re seeing any of the following red flags at your organization, alarm bells should be going off. Here’s what you need to know about these all-too-common staffing issues, together with actionable advice to help you put the right staffing strategy in place.

1. trouble setting competitive pay rates

Obviously, you know that offering competitive compensation is essential for securing best-in-class talent and driving business growth today. But that doesn’t solve the riddle of how much money, exactly, you should plan to set aside for each and every role. Here’s how to set the right pay rates, no matter what role you’re hiring for:

  • Find a reputable online salary calculator to ensure you're looking at the most recent pay data for your industry and market.
  • Consult Randstad’s comprehensive salary guide.
  • Consider partnering with a staffing firm. Doing so can rapidly accelerate your time to hire, ensure you land top candidates (before they go to your competitors) and provide you with deep insights into pay trends in your industry and market.

2. staffing doesn't scale with business growth

If your staffing strategy isn't aligned with your overall business growth strategy, then your organization will never be able to really take off. It’s a major handicap. Two simple steps to help your human capital scale in sync with the business:

  • Align your staffing strategy with high-level strategic priorities. That means designing staffing plans for more than, say, the next quarter. You should be planning for the next five to 10 years now.
  • Cultivate a talent pipeline — because even if your hiring needs are sometimes seasonal, candidate sourcing isn’t. You need to be on the hunt all year round.

3. inability to predict staffing needs

Accurately predicting your staffing needs can make or break the success of a new project or initiative — and yet, given all the uncertainty associated with our next normal, doing so is seldom easy. How to find the sweet spot?

  • Look at past initiatives to estimate headcount: How many sales reps does it take to cover a given territory, or what kind of volume has a new product launch driven for your customer service team in the past?
  • Calculate the costs you can expect to incur from each hire: A good rule of thumb is to add 20 to 25 percent on top of the salary you'll be paying to account for benefits, new equipment and potentially extra office space.
  • Prepare your final headcount projection (along with the total costs) well in advance to ensure you have your staffing needs met before new plans are set in motion — otherwise, unfortunately, you'll lag behind.

4. difficulty finding the right talent

We’re seeing severe talent shortages across multiple industries right now. So if you're having trouble finding the right talent to drive business growth, you certainly aren’t alone — and the quality of your job posts might have something to do with it. Make the following changes to start finding more qualified candidates, despite the competition.

  • When describing duties and requirements, use clear language with plenty of strong action verbs.
  • When it comes to describing your company, you can probably afford to be a bit more relaxed, even playful — this is a great opportunity to showcase your organizational culture as well as your employer brand voice.
  • Pepper your postings with the right SEO keywords to increase searchability. This Google AdWord Keyword Tool should be your friend.

5. limited budget for staffing

Having a limited budget for staffing doesn't necessarily have to be a limitation for your staffing strategy. It does, however, mean that you’ll have to be a little bit creative — and use that budget wisely. Two suggestions, in that vein:

  • Try to focus more on growth opportunities in your messaging to talent. After all, 64 percent of job seekers today say they’d rather take a job that comes with a lot of growth potential than one that pays more but isn’t challenging.
  • Organizational culture can also be a differentiator. Leverage it strategically in candidate-facing messaging to offset financial constraints around staffing.

6. uncertain about staffing ROI

Your instincts tell you that improving your staffing strategy could pay dividends — but to the tune of what bottom-line figure? It can be hard to accurately forecast ROI, especially if this isn’t something you’ve done before. The best workaround is to think through various quantifiable ways in which a well-designed staffing strategy could help your business, for example:

  • reducing time to hire
  • speeding up time to market
  • reducing monthly overtime costs

7. HR is unclear about job-specific requirements

It's nearly impossible to successfully hire for a role when you don't know exactly what that role entails. It’s a classic staffing issue signaling a core disconnect between HR and business heads — one that especially comes into play when you’re staffing for technical or niche roles. The solution?

  • Talk to managers from related departments who understand what it means to be a specialist, or to demonstrate expertise, in this area.
  • Have HR team members shadow colleagues in relevant functions to learn more.

next steps

More than anything, what the seven red flags outlined above should make clear is that lack of alignment — of one kind or another — tends to be the culprit when staffing issues break out. Of course, you aren’t powerless if you want to change that. You’ll just have to initiate the right conversations, think creatively and begin implementing solutions. It all starts with the actionable guidance above.