Talent Attraction & Recruitment
While Australian unemployment levels are currently higher than normal, long term demographic change tells us that the recent “war for talent” will inevitably return in time, for the most skilled workers at the very least.
Major brands often find it easy to attract great staff – even if the reality of working in those businesses rarely matches the hype. Small businesses usually find it harder to stand out, as an employer of choice. Trying to attract the right people can be challenging, even if you are using a good recruitment agency – and many recruiters aren’t that good.
However, if you set your business up with a great Employer Value Proposition (“why your people want to work for you”) and create the right Employer Branding (“how you attract the right candidates”), you have a much better chance of hiring the right people for your business, while also saving external recruiter fees and minimising the time required to fill critical roles.
Most businesses also don’t realise how the right recruitment process can make all the difference, for both hiring the right people and building your Employer Brand. From crafting a strong Position Description through to your networking, advertising, screening, interviewing and reference checking techniques, there are many opportunities to hire well or poorly, and for sending positive or negative messages about you and your business to candidates and others.
Onboarding, Engagement & Alignment
The first 90 or so days in a new job can be the best or worst experience that your new hires ever have working for you. It is that never-repeated period when they really get to see whether the business they signed up for meets their expectations. At the same time, this is a critical time for you to observe if this person is really the right person for your business. It’s also important that this person becomes productive as quickly as possible, but not at the cost of their overall relationship with you. We recommend that employers invest in onboarding policies and checklists, and focus on both performance and relationships.
How you engage and align your people with and to the Purpose, Values and Goals of your business and its leaders, and culture is critical to both the performance and retention of your People:
- When people are aligned they will be more effective and efficient in their individual roles.
- When they are engaged, they will “go the extra mile” and encourage their colleagues to do the same.
Generally, leaders and managers don’t fully scrutinise the performance of their people or teams unless they are underperforming, whereas there is a tendency to leave high performers to their own devices, assuming this is what they would like and need. We believe that Performance Management should be both equitable and positioned as proactively and positively as possible, so that your business is playing to the strengths of its People more than their weaknesses. After all, its often easier to prevent a performance issue rather than fix one that has become a bad habit.
We recommend that you set up solid performance management processes that are:
- Aligned to your business Purpose, Values, Goals, Strategy and Actions.
- Emphasise both individual and team performance.
- Based on both “in the moment” and periodical assessments and feedback.
Often, the best business investment you can make is developing the skills of your key People – and that is often cheaper and quicker than buying those skills, through new hires, and research shows that career development increases staff retention and engagement.
We recommend that you use a “3Es” (Education, Exposure & Experience) approach to career development. It begins with a top down approach, where you first identify your structures and roles for the future, and then determine the competencies required to fulfill those roles and assess any gaps compared to your current People that will need to be bridged.
Having said that, you should also enlist your People in the process. From the bottom up, take time to understand their personal goals, interests and talents, and any development barriers that they may need to cross. Also remember that the most successful career development programs are those that are driven by the employees themselves – after all, they are benefiting too.
Remuneration & Incentives
It’s critical to know the award rates and market benchmarks for paying your People, so that you can make active, informed decisions about where you wish to position your business in the marketplace, and also respond correctly to requests from your People for pay increases.
Non-financial benefits and variable incentives (that are realistically linked to performance that the individual can control) can be a great alternative for organisations that can’t offer the highest salaries. Research has shown that employees often value benefits such as flexible working conditions, staff social events and training more highly than direct compensation at the same monetary value.
Everything your business does well as an employer can be undone straight away by non-compliance, especially if there is a public investigation. Your most valuable employees lose trust and your values-driven Customers will not want to be associated with you.
We recommend that all employers invest in understanding the Fair Work Act, Modern Awards and Enterprise Bargains (where applicable). Keep your contracts up to date with best legal practice, and find a lawyer or HR expert who can help you with amendments or their enforcement. Only use payroll systems or services that are fully compliant with Single Touch Payroll requirements. Ensure that all casual employees and contractors are paid for all of the time that they work, not just for rostered shifts, and are paid the right loadings and allowances. Pay both wages and superannuation on time, and maintain correct leave and other entitlement records. If you have to restructure roles or make them redundant, consult with affected employees according to the law and comply with your other obligations.
Finally, don’t let underperformance go unremarked, or disputes get out of hand. If you act early and wisely, it is often possible to turn around underperformers and avoid potentially very costly payouts for poorly managed terminations, which can also impact your other People negatively.
All of the above Sub Pillars can be monitored using empirical data, such as:
- Time and cost to hire calculations.
- Retention, Promotion and Turnover statistics.
- Periodical performance assessments.
- Employee engagement surveys (typically including NPS type questions).
- Employee dispute resolution results.
Businesses should schedule regular reviews of such data at intervals that suit their scale and structure – typically that will be either monthly or quarterly.