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ROAL with It

roal with it

Dec 06, 2022

In boardrooms and within management teams across America, leaders are wondering – what does the future hold? We’re encountering a business environment that is as challenging as any in recent memory. From labor issues to supply chain shocks to inflation, the challenges are aplenty. The last time we had to operate in a rapid inflationary environment, most people in the workforce were either not born, children, or fledgling professionals. Therefore, most of us are getting a real-time MBA in resilience.

When I discuss the current business atmosphere with colleagues and clients, there are many common themes. The primary issues I hear relate to the workforce:

• Where do I find skilled staff?

• Can I afford perpetual salary increases?

• How do I pass along labor costs to my customers?

As a member of Generation X, I have few answers based on real-world experiences. However, I am fortunate to speak with many business owners and entrepreneurs who are the eternal optimists that power our economy. They will survive the good and bad times by staying focused on what is important in the short and long term for their business. Therefore, my advice to them is simple – ROAL (recruit, outsource, automate, leverage) with it!

Historically, employers recruit only when they need talent. Candidates for most positions used to be plentiful and at times there were many candidates for most positions. Employers even had the luxury of taking their time during the hiring process to ensure they hired the ‘right’ person that fit their ‘ideal’ job profile. Hiring managers would often take weeks (or months) during the interviewing and hiring process. Those days are a distant memory.

Employers need to develop the resources and team necessary to support a 365/7 recruitment process. Additionally, human resource leaders need a seat at the management table with intentionality and urgency. Human capital powers all organizations, even those that are infused with technology. While a sales pipeline supports the topline, it is human capital in its various forms that fuels the bottom line. To the contrary, failure to deliberately invest in human capital erodes both revenue and profit. Consider investing in talent when you don’t need it and double down on the resources you are expending in the recruitment function.

I also engage business owners in dialogue about the merit of outsourcing as a measured approach to support their growth. Outsourcing is a terrific way to isolate staffing needs in specific functional and technical areas that don’t represent an organization’s core competency. It also allows businesses to give the responsibility of sourcing talent and project management to other organizations who are investing resources in a specific function.

Sometimes outsourcing is frowned upon since it is associated with international outsourcing of talent. For better or worse, we no longer have local markets and almost every business is now a national or international business. I am a proponent of domestic purchasing and hiring, however I am also a supporter of business growth. The former is noble, but the latter requires creative strategies. Using outsourcing solutions will be imperative for all organizations in a labor-constrained world with misalignment of talent and skills.

Automation is another vital investment for all businesses, some in more ways than others. Organizations need to think differently about their external and internal processes, as labor shortages force efficiencies. Historically, such investments used to be cost-prohibitive and only available to large organizations with the capital to invest in six-plus figure technology solutions. However, small and mid-size businesses can now invest in no-code and low-code automation products to enhance their respective platforms.

Business owners want their valued (and expensive) talent performing functions at their highest level. If you ask your staff how much of their time is spent on repetitive and voluminous tasks, I imagine the percentage would be high. With labor both limited and at a premium, it is in your interest to minimize such tasks through combinations of automation and process re-engineering.

Finally, leverage is an important component to meet your continuing customer and staff needs. For tasks that cannot be outsourced or automated, it is important for your staff to leverage their time and push work to others whose time is better spent on certain tasks. Aside from freeing up your skilled staff from administrative burdens, you will be serving to enhance the careers of your less-experienced staff. You’ll also find that administrative or paraprofessional staff is easier to recruit and train – so leverage will be a win-win for your organization.

The current business environment can be a terrific opportunity for your organization. You should ROAL with it and invest in recruitment, outsourcing, automation, and leverage. In a labor-constrained world, we need to think differently and lay the foundation for the future success of our companies, employees, and customers. I95 

Jeffrey Rosen, CPA  is the Managing Partner of Rosen, Sapperstein & Friedlander, LLC.

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