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PODCAST: Achieving business goals in a tight labor market

Written on Nov 18, 2021

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager 

With no end in sight for the talent shortage, businesses must now determine how to be the most efficient with their people and processes to achieve results. 

“There's nothing like a labor shortage or material shortage to force business leaders to think about tradeoffs and making hard decisions,” said Jim Boland, partner-in-charge at Cohen & Company. “We can't do it all. So what do we really want to focus our time and our people on?” 

Boland joined The State of Business podcast to discuss a recent blog post he wrote titled: 3 Tactics to Help Fill Core Business Needs in a Tight Labor Environment

Robotic automation is one of those tactics, Boland said, and has become an exciting opportunity for companies. Bots were an expensive undertaking years ago, but now prices have dropped, making them a realistic option for many businesses. 

“We've seen companies really gravitate to automation to figure out where there are opportunities to deploy it in their organizations, even at a small scale,” Boland said. “It's not replacing a person or a group of people, but maybe it's supplementing an accounts payable clerk. And in the background, it's running tasks that they don't have to deal with.” 

Some organizations still find the prospect of bots scary, Boland said, so it’s best to thoughtfully consider the impact this would have on the business first. An organization should research how it would use the data the bot produces and understand how its operation would fit in with the flow of business.   

Another way businesses can make the best use of their resources is to explore flexible career paths, Boland said. This could mean looking at hybrid schedules for employees if it hasn’t already been discussed or switching up the number of hours certain teams work. 

“Does it make sense to rethink your complete employee engagement model?” he said. “That becomes a differentiator for attracting talent and for keeping people in your organization because you've proactively offered up flexibility of how they want to engage with their work.” 

And while it’s valuable to develop a plan to address the labor shortage, Boland encouraged companies to focus on what can be achieved now with the people and resources they have available. 

“it's a challenge because people don't know if it's a blip and it's going to get back to normal eventually,” he said. “Or if there's a new normal here, and you need to get on top of it quickly, or else it's going to impact your business long term.”