Meeting America’s Labor Shortage: Three Winning Strategies

The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence,

It’s acting with yesterday’s logic!

Peter Drucker


Turbulence in America?  Yes, we all agree.  But what are the causes?  After decades of low birth rates, a severe labor shortage hit the American workplace.  While facing a shortage of workplace talent the 2020 COVID Pandemic triggered early retirements, deaths, long absences, and resignations.  Two challenging events occurred as Boomers began to retire and organizations relied upon generations known as X, Millennials, and Zs to meet workplace demands.  The Pandemic disrupted America’s workplace and workforce in ways unseen since World War II.  Result:  a societal and economic tsunami.

The Great Resignation

As the Pandemic surged, Congress funded a stimulus package.  Its impact on society, business, and the global economy remains.  While the stimulus created a financial cushion, it also allowed millions to consider new careers.  Exit interview data has revealed that younger employees wanted less stress, fewer responsibilities, reduced travel, and a better work-life balance.

A recent Post-Ipsos Poll of 1,148 workers, aged 18-64 found that “demands for flexible work, better pay, opportunities for mentorship, job advancement, and a lack of interaction with managers caused the Great Resignation.”  The Post-Ipsos Poll found that, “While eight of 10 workers are satisfied with their jobs, six in 10 said their work is stressful.”[1]

The Great Reshuffle

To combat the spread of COVID, organizations created millions of remote positions, despite a support system.  Consequently, employees with varying levels of experience were required to manage tasks and become decision makers – for better or worse!  Understaffed organizations and overworked employees remain exhausted despite increased supervisor training and the redesign of job tasks and responsibilities. PTO policies have expanded, and many organizations have begun to explore a four-day work week.  Still, many organizations continue to struggle.  The labor shortage remains.

Building a Competitive Workplace and Workforce

Turbulence creates change opportunities.

Great leaders are change ready!

For decades American business has faced many challenges.  Leaders have always responded with solutions despite significant barriers and constraints.  It can be done again!  However, business leaders know they can’t do it alone.  They recognize that “knowledge workers” [2] are essential for success.  As before, only a willingness to change is required!  Rapid implementation of the following three strategies will meet and beat your competition.

Strategy # 1:  Objectives and Goals Build Profitability and Purpose for Employees

Strategic Plans are your organization’s roadmap for growth and stability. Not only will it create long-term financial success, but it will define your company brand. Recent reports show that employees want to work with a sense of purpose and fulfillment, and they find that sense of purpose largely through their employment. So, by focusing on your objectives, purpose, and growth, you are also attracting people to your mission.

To meet and beat your competition, your Strategic Plan will set Goals and:

  • Build leadership collaboration and decision making
  • Reveal organizational strengths and weaknesses
  • Identify and evaluate marketplace competition
  • Develop opportunities for new products
  • Develop budgets that increase profitability
  • Build operational efficiencies

Strategy # 2:  Build an Engaged Workforce

Today’s workplace requires knowledge leaders and knowledge employees!

Human Resource professionals are challenged as never before.  In a tight labor market, they must hire and develop curious and resilient minds committed to workplace excellence.  While a formidable task, the payoff is great: workforce excellence is contagious!

If your company doesn’t already prioritize mentorship, start by implementing an innovative and robust talent acquisition strategy, intentional onboarding programs and DEI procedures. Build workforce knowledge with individualized training/career plans and set measurable performance goals which include a cadence of mentoring and coaching milestones. Encouraging a culture of innovation and creativity means allowing mistakes to happen. Understanding the needs of each individual, and affirming those needs, will lead to a workforce that feels heard and ready to work towards a common departmental Succession Plan and Goals.

Strategy # 3:  Leaders Lead!

Establish a change ready culture of leaders throughout your organization with traits that question, reframe issues, communicate solutions, courage, and character to do what is right and encourage others to do the same.  True leadership traits:

  • Curious, perceptive, flexible, and innovative
  • Build collaborative and cohesive teams
  • Identify cost-effective change opportunities
  • Implement rapid solutions
  • Self-confident, resilient, and focused during times of turbulence
  • Develop similar qualities in many others!

While every organization needs both leaders and followers, it’s possible to  create a culture of leaders -- at every level.  By instilling values of creativity with accountability, your employees will be willing to make strategic decisions that are well-thought out and participate in a collaborative environment.


Sheila Magee is the Founder and President of Antrim Consulting, LLC.  Sheila has served multinational financial institutions, Fortune 1000, and medium sized corporations, non-profits, family-owned businesses, and startups for over 20 years.  Sheila provides clients with strategies to reinvent themselves and thrive in highly competitive markets, especially in challenging times.  Sheila is known for her commitment to servant leadership and the significant benefits it brings to employees and corporations alike.

Sheila graduated from Loyola University, Chicago where she earned a B.A. (History), a M.S., OD & HR (Organization Development and Human Resources),and a J.D. (Law).

She can be reached at 773-293-1600 or via email at  You’re invited to visit Antrim’s website: for more information.

[1] Washington Post, Post Ipsos Poll, (2023, May 23), American Workers Mostly Happy With Their Jobs,

[2] Drucker, Peter, The landmarks of tomorrow, Harper & Row, 1957