Labour Retention During a Shortage


One million. That’s the number of vacancies in Canada as of April 2022, according to Statistics Canada, i.e. an increase of 40% over the previous year. Whether in construction, insurance, finance, the scientific and professional sectors, or even in government, no field is spared by the labour shortage.

In such a context, how do we attract and retain qualified workers? That’s the big question we’re going to address today.


You have probably seen (or at least heard about) the videos circulating on social networks showing young Americans filming themselves quitting their jobs. In the United States, nearly 24 million workers have quitted their jobs between April and September 2021. This is called the Great Resignation

Long before the pandemic, there was talk of difficulties in recruiting and retaining employees. Indeed, the workforce has been shrinking for several years already due to workers retiring in greater numbers than the ones entering the workforce. We would obviously eventually hit a wall. We now have our back to the wall.

The health crisis is not the only reason for the lack of manpower, even though it has strongly contributed to it. It has opened our eyes to how we live and what our priorities are, and it has made us aware of what really matters in life: physical and emotional well-being, security, family and so on.

According to an ADP Canada survey conducted in 2021, 15% of workers in Canada would have changed jobs (or sectors) or left the workforce during the pandemic on a voluntary basis. Of these, 33% wanted to make changes in their personal lives, 29% expressed a need to limit stress and workload, while 28% wanted to have more flexible work schedules.


Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Why would anyone want to work for you? “Because I offer compensation!” You’d say. Sure, but another your employee would also get paid at company. So why would anyone want to work for you? What do you specifically have to offer?

2. Would you like to work for someone like you? If so, name 7 good reasons.

3. Do you know what makes your employees thrill?

4. Do you promote activities outside of work that brings your employees together or support a charity or other organization?

5. Can your employees learn anything from you that contributes to their growth? Does your company promote continuing education or personal and professional development?

To attract qualified workers, you must first realize that times have changed and we all need to adjust and adapt to the new reality. In fact, most of the solutions to this problem can be found in the answers you gave to the questions above.

For those who argue that investing in the personal and professional development of their employees is useless, since sooner or later, they will leave the company and go to the competition, here is what I answer them: In your opinion, why would your employees decide to go work elsewhere? What would they find elsewhere that they can’t find working within your company? These answers are the key to the problem!

It’s time for a culture and atmosphere change.


Since the pandemic, it is obvious that people’s priorities have changed.

Nowadays, employees, well beyond a salary, are mainly looking for flexibility in their schedules to balance work, family, and leisure, but they also want to evolve and grow both personally and professionally.

Employers mistakenly believe that salary increases are the only significant incentive to recruit and retain a talented employee. While salary is important, it is far from being the most decisive aspect.

If you offer an employee a salary increase for a job that offers little flexibility, his or her choice will inevitably be for another job that offers more flexibility versus a higher salary. Try it!

If you are not able to correctly identify the criteria and values of candidates, it will be difficult to find and retain quality workers.

It should also be recognized that telecommuting is a major employee retention issue. Hybrid work is now a must. For some, the benefits of telecommuting are self-evident, like less time in traffic. For others, working at home is less appealing due to reduced social opportunities and the impact on team cohesion.


You need to understand that everything is constantly changing.

I used to teach a course at the university called Change Management. I have since renamed it into Continuity Management. People were openminded with the new title. To stay alive and active, you need to adjust and embrace continuity rather than oppose it.

A good visionary leader has flair for trends. This is how they anticipate obstacles and prepare to overcome them.

I encourage you to be this visionary and pragmatic leader.

Do you want to develop sustainable and inspiring leadership? Click here to learn more.

To learn how to manage change through continuity, click here.