Many small businesses around the nation are dealing with a labor shortage. Being short-staffed doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t fulfill all of the necessary functions to keep your business operating.
However, it can cause problems for your marketing team, which has to pick up the extra work to fill in the gaps. Being understaffed might not seem like a huge problem as many business owners are used to wearing all the hats.
Yet, an understaffed marketing team means you may have overworked individuals. And when employees have too much on their plate, they’re at risk for burnout. This health condition leads to missed deadlines, lower customer satisfaction, and illness in the workplace.
If you find your marketing team is working back-to-back, here are some tips to help reduce burnout risks and support your employees.
1. Assess Your Team’s Needs
Before implementing a course of action, it’s imperative to find out what your current team needs through a carefully conducted analysis. Without an understanding of what your marketing team truly needs, it can be impossible to create an actionable plan.
To consider your team’s needs, start by creating a list of the tasks and shifts that you need to have covered. Then, assess how much work your employees can take on.
Assessing their needs gives you an idea of how much work your team can handle. Plus, it helps you determine how many additional marketers you’ll need to hire.
Additionally, you must ensure you ask for employee feedback on how much work they can handle reasonably. Instead of going off intuition, you can get a more accurate perspective of how much work goes into each employee’s tasks.
Therefore, consider consulting with your marketing team and finding out these details.
2. Brainstorm Solutions With Your Employees
Sometimes it’s better to work with your team on solutions that work best for understaffing.
The key is to simplify as much as possible. Therefore, you may consider assessing your team’s work and involve them in removing non-value-added tasks.
Try working collaboratively by asking them for suggestions on the best way to reach a specific outcome. You never know what ideas they may come up with, and these could be solutions that you can use in the future.
3. Take Advantage of Technology
Technology can make your business operation seamless — from automating tasks and managing projects to hiring new employees and scheduling.
To support your understaffed marketing team, consider using tools like Zoom or Slack to effectively communicate and engage with your team. You can also use other solutions to improve productivity, such as Hive, to keep track of to-do lists and project updates in real time.
Keeping everything organized gives you better insight into what everyone is working on and when employees are taking breaks.
In the meantime, while your team is working efficiently, you could consider using recruiting software to help hire new employees. When you need to hire, consider using BambooHR to manage the hiring process.
4. Add On Temporary Employees
Support your understaffed team with a real solution — hiring more team members for a short period. While a temporary employee is only a short-term solution, it will tide you over until you can hire full-time employees.
However, temporary staffing may only be the best route if you believe it will resolve the staff shortage problem for the time being. Typically, hiring temporary employees during busier times, such as holidays or the end of the year, is especially helpful.
You can hire them for simpler tasks while your marketing team focuses on more important projects.
5. Offer Additional Benefits
A great way to support your understaffed marketing team is by offering them additional benefits. Adding to their current benefits may involve increasing the overtime pay rate for those willing to work more hours.
However, one thing you should try to avoid is overworking your current staff. Aside from the risk of burnout, you may put your business at risk for employee loss — contributing more to the shortage problem.
6. Outsource Tasks
If current tasks are weighing down your marketing team, it may be useful to outsource them. And plenty of freelancers are willing to put in time and effort, thanks to the effects of the ongoing economic changes.
Freelancers are a viable option since they can take care of the most repetitive, tedious tasks. Once you outsource, you’ll find your staff with more time and energy to use toward larger marketing campaigns.
7. Overlap or Cross-Train Teams
Overlapping or cross-training teams from different departments may help ease the strain of understaffing.
Suppose you have a sales member interested in joining the marketing department. You could cross-train them to work on marketing tasks or projects to help relieve some of the stress of your short-staffed marketing department.
You could also consider overlapping teams by switching a team member from an adequately staffed department to your understaffed marketing department.
8. Offer Internships
When your marketing team is understaffed, you could consider adding paid interns. Hiring paid interns can be an optimal solution for your team if they’re overworked.
They can help them get more work done while you’re giving interns the experience they need to get started in their careers. Essentially, it’s a win-win for everyone involved because there isn’t too much commitment from either side.
One thing to remember is that unpaid internships may not be too appealing, even for those without experience. Therefore, it’s best to consider offering interns payment since many small businesses offer higher wages to interns due to the worker shortage.
9. Prepare for Scheduling in Advance
Many people call off sick or request time off during holidays, summer vacations, and other certain times of the year. These periods are where you may want to prepare by overscheduling in advance.
You could also keep track of request offs in a calendar to help you keep scheduling organized. Keeping track of employees’ time off can help you oversee where you need to add shifts into the scheduling system.
Furthermore, you may need to implement a policy that extends the notice for taking time off. For instance, you could consider extending it to one month instead of letting employees request off two weeks in advance.
Manage an Understaffed Marketing the Right Way
A team shortage presents a major challenge for your small business. Unfortunately, it’s not always avoidable, but there are many ways you can weather the storm. To take care of it adequately, offering support and finding solutions is the best way to avoid stress.
The next time you face a worker shortage, implement these tips to help you keep operations steady. These strategies can assist you in making it throughout the days until you can fully restore your marketing team.
About the Author
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.