Let’s Talk Business – August 25, 2023

As college-aged employees head back to school, businesses face the challenge of filling gaps in their teams, especially for seasonal positions and internships. Here are some effective strategies for businesses to address staffing needs during this transition period.

To figure out how many people you need on your team, assess what your business needs to get done both short- and long-term. Look at the work you have right now and see where you need extra help. Then, think about times when you usually get busier, like holidays or certain seasons, and factor them into your calculation. Being proactive and thinking ahead will better prepare you to deal with staffing changes as the year progresses.

Initiate the conversation with your college-aged employees to figure out their availability. Find out if they’re available to work during the academic year, during school breaks, and their potential to work on weekends or after school. Be empathetic and try to see the situation from the point of view of a student with a lot on their plate.

Another way to avoid exacerbating staffing challenges is to prioritize employee retention and engagement. By fostering a positive work environment and providing growth opportunities and recognizing employee contributions, you boost morale as well as  encourage loyalty, which can reduce turnover.

To tackle staffing and skills gaps, start by looking within your existing workforce and prioritize cross-training to leverage the talent of your current team and enhance their versatility. You can start by identifying areas where additional support is needed and explore opportunities for employees to learn new skills.

Consider using a staffing agency to fill temporary positions. Additionally, consider reaching out to different groups such as parents, veterans, and those in the process of changing careers. Embracing diversity in your hiring practices not only expands your talent pool but also fosters a more inclusive and innovative work environment.

Flexibility is a significant advantage in business. Instead of hiring one employee to cover the absence of a seasonal worker, consider the option of employing two part-time employees, allowing for increased coverage and providing added flexibility to accommodate varying workload demands.

Embracing part-time roles, remote work options, and flexible scheduling can attract a broader range of candidates and tap into their unique availability and skill sets. This allows you to accommodate the needs of both your business and your employees, enhancing job satisfaction and productivity. Flexibility not only helps fill gaps but also promotes a healthy work-life balance, fostering a positive work environment that can attract and retain top talent.

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce offers many resources to help you start, run, and grow your business–including our annual Leadership Emporia Academy, monthly Group Lunches, Ribbon Cuttings, Business After Hours events, Legislative Dialogues, and more. Stop by the Trusler Business Center at 719 Commercial St., call 620-342-1600, or visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org to learn more.

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“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.