Having entered an era of a declining workforce, employers can no longer count on simply running an advertisement and hiring the new and replacement workers they require.
Much like the buyer and seller markets that occur in housing, coworkers can be choosey about where they elect to work. Problems extend beyond the woes of trying to add workers when business grows. As predicted by industry pundits reflecting on a post-recession business climate, retaining workers has come to the forefront. While I think the uneasiness and yearning for stability caused a delay in people looking for greener grass, workers are seeing the help wanted signs and increased wages being tossed about, and warming up to the idea of a change in employment.
If you want to be able to retain the workers you have, as well as attract the additional people you require, you may need to do a bit of introspective looking in the mirror. When assessing your workplace, approach it like a relationship, and do not take it personally.
Listen to what is being said, and consider it in its entirety, meaning context, attached emotion and perspective of the individuals.
Take that input and resist the desire to both justify as to why things are that way or immediately fix the problem. First, perform other analysis to understand better what the big picture problem is. In many cases you cannot fix it for them, they need help to arrive at what that fix is themselves.
That also means possibly giving up hands on control of the environment, partially or totally. Provide a vision of what you are looking for and allow your people to emulate or enact it.
Acknowledge those that are creatively striving for positive change and nurture the progression rather than condone stagnancy.
Recognize that evolution is a natural occurrence, and it is better to guide it rather than leave it to chance. Creating a place that people want to come work, and then continue to stay there, will not just be an advantage going forward, it will be a matter of business survival.