Finding and keeping top talent in a tight labour market

The last thing we expected to learn from COVID-19 was a lesson in economics. We’re seeing economic pressures and changes play out in front of us, and unemployment and a labour shortage is one economic factor that is biting hard right now. Unemployment is at its lowest rate in over 15 years. With our borders now open and many Kiwis thinking about heading overseas or taking their postponed OE, the labour shortage is predicted to worsen before it gets better.

There’s a number of ways you can help your business find the next great team member and, importantly, keep hold of those you already have on board.

Great employers are increasingly looking beyond salary, for ways to entice and keep employees. Employees are asking for more than just a wage. How can you make sure you’re offering the best you can afford?

Career progression & upskilling

Non-financial benefits such as structured career progression are an important part in encouraging your team to continue to work with you. Regular meetings and review sessions with your team let you know what their aspirations are, where they think their strengths lie and how you can help them progress their careers. In turn you can offer career progression opportunities and through giving regular feedback let them know what they need to do to move up the ladder. Providing staff with opportunities for further training or the chance to take on new responsibilities and upskill, is a valuable retention strategy. 

Make sure you have enough people

When someone leaves or is away sick it’s easy to think you can get by and just spread the work amongst your existing team members. The challenge is to make sure you’re not overloading people with extra work to bridge the gaps, and it’s important to identify which members of the team are happy to take on more responsibility. Some people welcome the extra challenge as a way to prove their worth, but forcing an increased workload onto those who don’t want it is likely to lead to further staff shortages. Look at ways to share the load, implement new tech and if you just need to fill the position or bring in a temp get started and advertise.

Flexible working

Another thing COVID-19 has shown us is that the juggle of work and home-life isn’t just for working parents. We all share the load and want a bit more flexibility in our working days. Whether that’s flexible hours, fewer hours, working from home or a hybrid office and home environment. Employees want to have options that allow them more choice over where and when they work. Accommodating this – with parameters that work for your business is crucial to retaining and attracting good staff.

Work perks

We’ve all heard stories of Google & Facebook employees laying around on bean bags, being given free lunches and a free on onsite gym. While these perks may seem overly generous and might just not be feasible for small businesses, perks are fast becoming an expectation for the best talent. More affordable options like subsidised gym memberships and health insurance are other options that not only provide an incentive for staff they also improve employees health and wellbeing too.

Consider what perks you can offer that your team would love, the return in terms of employee satisfaction and commitment has the potential to far outweigh the financial costs. You may need to pay Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) on the cost of the benefit to the employee but this can still work out to be a cheaper option.

With labour shortages and continued economic uncertainty, looking for creative solutions to keeping and motivating our teams and implementing financial and non-financial incentives helps attract and retain staff. There’s lots of options available so choose the right ones for your business and get started. Maybe even ask your team what they think – showing you trust and value their opinion builds loyalty too.

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