Most Common Staffing Challenges (Post-Covid Trends Included)

most common staffing challenges

Staffing agencies and recruiters are faced with a variety of challenges daily. While some are easy to overcome, many continue to weigh these professionals down.

With COVID crises, thousands of staffing agencies across the country are doing their best to find top talent for their clients, regardless of the challenges.

Below we’ll discuss these so you can plan before having to deal with them.

Did you know that Recruiteze is the best free online recruitment software on the market? At the end of the post, we’ll discuss how our unique products can help you minimize many of your hiring challenges!

In this article, we will talk about some of the most common staffing challenges like:

  1. Navigating the multi-generational workforce
  2. Hiring millennials
  3. Applicant dishonesty
  4. The continued growth of the freelance economy
  5. Poor workplace engagement
  6. Talent shortages
  7. Managing an international workforce
  8. Employee retention
  9. Increased competition
  10. Cost of keeping up
  11. Candidate experience

We will also discuss the staffing challenges induced by COVID 19 crises and how to overcome them:

  1. Skill shortages
  2. Employee productivity
  3. Outdated strategies
  4. Lack of speed
  5. Unstable market

Most Common Staffing Challenges

Most Common Staffing Challenges

Here we will talk through some of the most common staffing challenges agencies are facing.

Navigating the multi-generational workforce

For the first time ever, the workforce officially consists of five generations working together:

  1. The Traditionalists,
  2. The Baby Boomers,
  3. Generation X,
  4. Generation Y and
  5. Generation Z.

This presents extraordinary challenges to HR professionals in terms of engagement, retention, and productivity.

We must understand and embrace these differences to get the most out of our employees at every level of the business. This demands a new level of flexibility to empower us to meet employees’ needs from across the generational divide.

For instance, consider work-life balance.

Traditionalists and Baby Boomers are often characterized as “workaholics,” who value hard work and discipline to climb the career ladder. Compare that to studies showing that nearly half of Generation X considers work-life balance critical when choosing a role.

Different values apply in many areas across the board, from communication style to motivation. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our article on Embracing a Multi-generational Workforce.

Hiring millennials

staffing in the 21st century: new challenges and strategic opportunities

We might be working amongst five generations, but the largest of those generations is now the Millennials. Learning how to attract, hire and retain this millennial generation presents a unique staffing challenge.

Read more: Hiring Millennials: What The Experts Say.

Things like building an effective work-life balance, creating goal-led incentives, and overhauling your rewards structure can go a long way.

It’s also important to address areas such as training and look at the career progress structure you have. HR professionals must also take care to address their ‘Big Questions’: who are we, who do we help, and why do we care?

Millennials are generally attracted to organizations with purpose and seek to engage in meaningful work. While things like rewards and progression are doubtless important, having a clear value proposition cannot be ignored.

With this in mind, our interviewing techniques must also improve. Cultural fit becomes even more critical, and with it, we must embrace a more refined interview process.

Applicant dishonesty

staffing challenges in the future

Many people feel that they have to lie to get ahead. This poses a big challenge for staffing agencies.

Here is an excerpt from a CBS MoneyWatch report, quoting Patrick Barnett, background and legal investigator:

“Some studies have indicated as much as 35 percent of resumes contain some form of deceptive past employment information. Even websites have a network of phony companies that will act as past employers, verifying a job history that never existed. In some cases, the applicant will declare they have worked for an employer that went out of business. Many times applicants will claim a degree they have not earned.”

Simply put, you cannot prevent applicants from lying on their resumes, but you can use some of the creative recruitment strategies that will prevent you from hiring the wrong candidates.

The continued growth of the freelance economy

international staffing challenges

More than 1 in 3 Americans work freelance, and that number is continuing to grow. Changing technologies make this possible, while changing attitudes value the freedom and accountability of freelance work. Equally, more support is available than ever, lowering the barriers to freelancing considerably. These things combined have led to the situation we have currently: the so-called gig economy.

On the upside, the freelance economy has been shown to increase productivity and engagement. As a result, businesses can be more agile than they’ve been before, hiring the talent they need, when they need it, without massive overheads.

On the downside, any change presents a severe challenge. How we attract, manage and motivate freelance talent is very different, and if we don’t adapt, we make ourselves noncompetitive.

Read more: The Freelance Economy: HR Implications.

Poor workplace engagement

Poor workplace engagement

One of the reasons the freelance economy continues to grow is staggeringly poor engagement in the workplace. According to Gallup research, 70% of Americans are not engaged at work.

Poor engagement costs the US economy around $370 billion annually – that’s a lot of lost productivity.

If the bottom line isn’t significant enough, Gallup lists nine key performance outcomes impacted by employee engagement. High employee engagement results in:

  • 21% higher productivity
  • 22% higher profitability
  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 28% less shrinkage
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)
  • 25% lower turnover in high-turnover organizations
  • 65% lower turnover in low-turnover organizations
  • 10% higher customer metrics

Clearly, this is something you want to be getting right. That’s easier said than done, though. The Ping-Pong tables and beer fridge are only the tips of the iceberg because the actual change to employee engagement starts much higher up the tree.

It’s about embedding top-down cultural change that genuinely cares about employees.

Talent shortages

staffing industry trends and challenges

The Annual Manpower survey found back in 2015 that 1 in 3 US employers struggled to hire when they needed it. That shows no signs of abating as we continue to function in a candidate-driven hiring market.

According to Bullhorn’s 2020 Global Recruitment Insights and Data, this is the top staffing challenge recruiters face.

Most of the top talent is already taken, and we must widen our sourcing toolbox, to include methods such as group interviews, headhunting, and advertising. Attending careers fairs is a good idea, and we should seek out referrals. In addition, we should consider video interviewing and ensure our social media recruiting etiquette is up-to-date.

Managing an international workforce

discuss the challenges involved in staffing operations in emerging markets

The workforce is changing.

Many generations, a mix of freelance talent, and now we’re crossing international borders.

International workforce management is a major staffing concern for HR since 2017.

How do we source, hire and retain a worldwide team? What can we do to ensure productivity? How can we manage cross-borders? What impact will differing time zones have on productivity?

HR professionals must find a way to answer these questions to ensure maximum productivity internationally. There still exists what McKinsey calls a “globalization penalty,” where global companies consistently perform lower than local companies across a whole range of areas.

These businesses’ issues include sourcing and hiring, relocating, training, facilitating skills transfer, and navigating cultural differences. To fix this, we must manage sales and improve performance, and ensure cross-border teams function optimally. We must train future leaders who grasp and thrive in this global age. Finally, we must try out different organizational models to ensure we can evolve.

Employee retention

summarize the unique challenges of international staffing

Employee retention is one of the biggest staffing challenges for 36% of IT, 36% of retail, and 37% of financial services hiring managers. Poor employee retention can cost tens of thousands of dollars, plus the knock-on effects of having to source, hire, induct and engage another employee.

On the flip side, improving retention saves time and money, increases morale, and enhances productivity.

Many businesses still aren’t doing what they could, though, and employee retention remains a major staffing issue.

There are a few things you can do to