March 9, 2023

Doing more with less: 5 questions that will help you navigate the current labor shortage

It’s as though we are all holding on, looking for the same lighthouse, but the waters are still raging.

Lately, the daily headlines have delivered more conundrums than clarity.  Interest rates and inflation are growing – but so is hiring. Economists warn of a pending global recession, and yet unemployment rates rest at 50-year lows.

When you zoom in and focus on our industry, the trends aren’t any more predictable. As a healthcare leader, you’re navigating the same Bermuda Triangle of conditions that many of our clients face:  A shortage in healthcare labor. Post-Covid staff burnout. Growing competition. Increased productivity expectations from leadership.

How can you calm the storm, and deliver more with less in this turbulent environment?

Schaefer knows the current labor paradox presents challenges. But it also presents pathways for long-term growth. Whether you are part of a large health system, a small independent practice, or a pharmaceutical / device manufacturer, success begins with re-framing today’s challenges, and seeing them from a new perspective. You can begin to do this by asking yourself five fundamental questions:

“How can my internal teams help me amplify our story to make messages more effective and attract more talent to the team?” 

Think inside out.  When it comes to communication, your people are one of your most important audiences. Double down on the mission of the organization and deploy an effective internal communications program to rally your most important asset: the people you have today. 

“What is our singular most important message and how do we reduce the other messages to ensure the most important ones are being heard?” 

Think small. Ensure you are communicating simply and clearly. Avoid vague or grandiose messages, and hone in on the concrete. Audit your brand strategy to ensure that it is precise and succinct. It may call for narrowing focus down to one or two very important things. Be sure you’re placing bets on the right programs/differentiators that will generate interest and carry the unique story of your brand. 

“How effectively is our content motivating internal and external audiences to take our desired action?” 

Think simple.  Focus on quality over quantity. Fight the urge to launch multiple initiatives, which will overwhelm or confuse your people. Instead, invest in one or two great programs that inspire, grab attention and motivate your audiences to action. 

“How well does my staff understand their role in moving us toward organizational goals? How can we make it even clearer?” 

Think again — Repetition is good: Tell your team what you’re doing. Do it. Tell them you did it. Internalizing a message and making it part of your culture begins with communicating what needs to happen and linking the action back to why it matters and what it means to them. 

“How do we leverage our existing partnerships to help us create strategic priorities and ensure they’re providing optimal value back to us?”

Think outside — Partner with your external agencies, consultants, service providers or contractors, and ask them to help you find ways to extract the greatest possible value out of your finite resources. 

By changing the way you think about the environment we’re in, you can position your organization to respond more effectively and weather whatever storms lie ahead. With these shifts in perspective, you can re-energize and re-engage your internal teams, while leveraging external relationships with improved efficiency and effectiveness.


Dealing with a labor shortage isn’t easy. But there are important steps you can take to shift your culture and compete more effectively. At Schaefer, we’re here to help your organization improve its performance, whatever the economic climate brings. We’re more than a healthcare specialist; we are a human specialist that knows how to get people to take action. For nearly 30 years, we’ve helped clients across a variety of industries achieve results through multiple economic cycles. We’ve done so the only way we know how: By relentlessly focusing on measurable strategies that drive business objectives and results.

Are you wrestling with an internal or external communications challenge?  If so, contact me today at to arrange a no-obligation consultation.