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Revolving door?

Tips to help you deal with a labour shortage

By Nicole Deveau

Labour shortages may be the norm, but there are ways to remain competitive. Solve your staffing crunch by incorporating these strategies into your growth plan.

Businesses are working harder than ever to attract talent. With unemployment levels at record lows, those looking to hire are seeing a shortage of applicants, a lack of required skills, and significant competition from other organizations. According to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), more than half of small- and medium-sized employers are already struggling to find talent. And with hiring difficulties projected to continue, the labour shortage will last for the foreseeable future.

But hiring isn’t the only hurdle. Employers are also having trouble retaining workers. Recent surveys suggest that high turnover will persist, as employees look for new opportunities that address their demands over pay, culture, and remote work options.

Staffing crunches are adding to an already complex economy, but there are options to move forward. Incorporating these strategies can help you deal with the labour shortage so you can grow your business and remain competitive.

Invest in technology.

Consider going digital if your business is spending too much time on manual or time-consuming processes. If you’re struggling to fill or retain positions, explore options to prevent burnout and create a better workplace, like adopting a cloud accounting solution. Automation and digitization can alleviate unnecessary pressure by reducing the reliance on your workforce.

Make an acquisition.

Want to build your business? Consider making an acquisition to gain much-needed talent or technology. Whatever your goals, it will be necessary to find a good acquisition candidate, conduct due diligence, consider the tax implications, and determine how to finance the deal—especially as the cost of borrowing rises.

Look beyond your borders.

Be open to remote work models to allow you to leverage a new pool of talent. But don’t forget to do your homework first. Consider the tax regulations and employee benefit rules in the jurisdiction where those individuals are sitting. Also, be aware of the increased cyber risk that comes with employees working remotely and relying on technology to do their jobs.

Identify inefficiencies.

In a labour-constrained market, efficiency is everything. Conduct a review to find ways to streamline complex processes and tedious tasks. Eliminating inefficiencies can cut unnecessary costs and reduce the strain on your team, creating a better culture and improving employee retention.

Create a better culture.

The importance of a strong and healthy work culture should never be underestimated. To help you attract and retain high-quality talent, conduct a review of your organization’s culture to find ways to strengthen it. Developing an employee value proposition (EVP) with a clear and consistent message about the unique experience and benefits an employee receives from an organization in return for their skills, capabilities, and experience is an important differentiator in today’s market.

An EVP develops an understanding of what is attracting and keeping candidates and what is keeping them away, leading to a better employee experience. An EVP can not only lead to improvement in areas like performance management, leadership development, and onboarding, but can result in attracting better-fitting candidates and higher engagement with employees and prospects who are a natural fit for what you have to offer.

A positive work environment is crucial, particularly when there’s a labour shortage. Building a culture that offers flexibility and work-life balance isn’t a value-add option anymore—it’s an expectation.


Remaining competitive amid a worker shortage isn’t easy, but we’ll work with you to find the right solution for your business. Whether you’re looking to build your talent base, explore remote work models, or reduce reliance on your workforce, our advisors can help.

Have questions?

To learn about incorporating strategies to grow your business and remaining competitive, contact Nicole at or +1 902 835 5601.


Nicole Deveau

Nicole hold a BA (Hons), MPA, and is Prosci Change Management Certified. As the Partner & National Leader—Human Capital Management with Grant Thornton, Nicole focuses on everything from people, culture, and change solutions to recruitment, human resource strategy, project management, and outsourced HR support. Her priority is helping her clients build a workforce and an organization that is engaged and capable of driving business growth. Nicole and her team have the expertise to help business owners solve both their simplest challenges and their most complex problems. Nicole oversees the delivery of Grant Thornton’s business consulting solutions to clients across Atlantic Canada.

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