The key to the recruitment crisis: How businesses can prosper in today’s uncertain economy

22/03/2022
31% of small to medium-sized firms are hanging back on their hiring due to the lack of apprentices available

Comment by M-Files

This month, the BDO announced 31% of small to medium-sized firms are hanging back on their hiring due to the lack of apprentices available. Businesses face two daily challenges: an overwhelming shortage of skilled staff and the unbearable rise in recruitment costs. 

Over the last two-year, business leaders have had to do their fair share of juggling adaptability while dodging the Covid crisis. They’ve been coping with sick staff and a sudden shift to remote working, yet the problems don’t end there. The previous 12 months have seen increased interest rates, including the National Insurance rise (due in April 2022), and an overall uncertain economic future. These are all costs small to medium-sized businesses could do without.  

Addressing the recruitment crisis

So how can businesses feel secure during a recruitment crisis? First, we need to examine why enterprises are struggling to find workers. Today’s worker has very different objectives from 2 years ago. Many are switching to hybrid working − retail and wholesale sectors are suffering the most (around 40% under hiring) because these sectors are in-person where tasks can’t be carried out remotely. There are also health concerns − some workers want to wait until the dust settles before venturing into the workplace again. Overall, the return to normal is slower than initially anticipated. 

So, while business leaders spend too much time and money trying to attract the right staff – they will need to find time elsewhere to productively carry out their business to ensure that that does not suffer because of time spent on recruiting. Firms are spending much of 2022 looking for ways to improve productivity and efficiency for two reasons: first, to streamline their business activities, and second, to ensure that they are in a better position to hire the right staff and retain them.  

Since 2012, when many first heard the term’ digital transformation,’ business leaders have filtered into their strategies software to collect data to shape how they operate, manage teams, and effectively market their brand, products, and services. Yet it has taken longer to shift documents management to a system remote from paper, for most businesses, since the mid-1980s. Still, many small firms are clinging faithfully to their filing cabinets. 

Taking the necessary steps to build a bigger workforce

A digital filing system can convert the traditional filing cabinet into a digital format. This makes it easier to find information when businesses need it most, but it also makes the arduous process of storing any size of documents and files effortless.  

How does this connect to the workforce shortage and help businesses remain intact during these volatile times? Enterprises juggle operational commitments and staff retention daily. Yet, according to BDO, only 21% of companies are taking serious steps to ensure that they can offer employees present and future the benefits of employment they desire. Another 23% say they will bring flexibility into the mix to encourage new hires into their firms.  

There are ways to ensure that organisations can, in effect, have their cake and eat it when it comes to not just surviving but prospering in today’s economy, and not just through increasing the price of their goods and services. Yet if a business wants to grow, it must grow physically, which means hiring fresh recruits to keep the business moving. Of course, it’s costly, with some businesses already placing pay rises on their list of priorities to retain staff. More firms increase salaries at the recruitment level to attract new hires.  

But businesses remain optimistic, and digital transformation is playing a huge role in that. Where daily business practices are automated, costs can be cut, and time reallocated to high-value tasks. Still, success is never assured, and the upcoming rise in National Insurance may see some smaller firms struggle in the light of the increase.   

 Working smarter, working anywhere

So indeed, for businesses to thrive, there needs to be an element of give and take. The safest course of action is to simplify and digitise base practices and concentrate on hiring key staff to ensure growth and sustainability in the industry. That way, inciting the right team into a business can be doable and not a struggle. Talented workers bring creativity and diversity into the framework of an organisation, allowing companies to feel confident and plan for the future.  

In the meantime, businesses need to get their operations in order and begin with documentation and paperwork. Once the headache of content management is solved, an organisation has a workforce who can quickly and securely access documents from practically anywhere. This will enable them to access the information they need, collaborate, comply, and produce, even with a workforce working remotely, something to build upon truly.

M-Files is a global leader in information management. The M-Files metadata-driven document management platform enables knowledge workers to instantly find the right information in any context, automate business processes, and enforce information control.

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