The economy is again changing as part of its never-ending cycle, this time with Australians as the beneficiary as opportunities grow, and business services increase, after surviving the downturn over the last eighteen months caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. As the Australian economy continues to surpass its global peers in a post-pandemic world, business and organizations are faced with new and evolving challenges. After the recent budget announcement introducing multiple future revenue streams, including dedicated increases in spending in medical, construction, and resourcing, the economy is certain to continue to have a strong forecast for the coming year. However, even with new government projects, allocated spending, and projected growth, there are still emerging difficulties for small and mid-sized businesses.
With a reported 1.292m of the Australian workforce being recent migrants or temporary citizens, Australian metro and regional areas are feeling the pinch. Australia imports a substantial number of qualified individuals each year, and the lack of these individuals over a two-year span are evidently creating a deficit in the workforce. Thus, employee retention is at an all time high, given that many professional fields will likely struggle to replace skilled workers at an equal cost or capability of their predecessor. With this in mind, understanding how businesses can attract and retain quality staff is more important than ever.
Below are some top strategies to create a loyal workforce:
- Work that is not challenging enough – As skilled employees grow, so do their capabilities. What might have been difficult as a junior becomes a trivial task for a senior, and, if the difficulty, complexity, and developed skills of the projects aren’t steadily increasing, expect to see timely exits from skilled individuals. Of course, as an employee matures to face these more difficult challenges, so too does the services they can provide clients, and in turn, generate leads and revenue.
- Internal conflict – you can be the bees’ knees of employment, offering table tennis tournaments for the office weekly, and clocking off for work drinks on a Friday at 3 P.M, but, if there are significant conflicts raised within a supervisor-subordinate relationship, inaction will only end with a quickly available position.
- Company Dynamics – Who has the pulse on the company? Changing existing sub-groups within an organization works with large market-capacity companies, who generally accept high turnover rates, but small and medium sized companies can have significant turnover if a key well-liked individual is removed, replaced, or lost to a rival.
- Change in Responsibilities – Some employees love working with people, and some are happy to work efficiently as an individual. Identifying an employee’s strengths and weaknesses early in their tenure can help eliminate future conflicts regarding expectations in responsibilities.
- Lifestyle Balance – A classic conflict, and a difficult one to manage when work picks up. Having clear, concise, and open conversations can help reduce turnover due to workload.
- Changes in leadership – Although changes within an executive leadership team, mid-management, or supervisors can be beneficial in the long run for a company, significant investigation should be considered as to the flow-down impacts to employees. Will this change be welcomed, or will it be a tumultuous time where projects seize up and become frustrating, waiting for new management to understand all aspects of the business.
- Poor Recruitment – Recruitment is a vital part of the continuing functions of a business, and ensuring you have the right strategy in place in order to incentivize workers to join you is vital. Consider the recruiters and the strategies they employ, the advertisements for the role, and the lead on time to find an ideal employee. Generally, looking for someone to fill a project last-minute means compromising in several different categories.
- Lack of Recognition – A simple ‘good job’ goes further then anything else when it starts to get busy, and it is easy to overlook recognizing great work from an employee if they are consistently delivering on targets and KPI’s.
Currently we are seeing that small business owners are often left to fill the gap in staffing shortages, which is causing a huge degree of burn over. We perceive a greater need for small businesses to invest heavily in training less qualified candidates, to provide them the skills to move into more senior/qualified roles to bridge the skills shortage gap locally.