The labour market in WA is tight at the moment which is making it increasingly difficult for employers to find suitable candidates. Over the past few months, we’ve seen businesses offering inflated salaries and other employee benefits to attract new talent. Recruitment is the first step in getting people in the door, and working on retaining existing staff is important in a tight labour market.

Why should I work to retain my staff?

Recruitment is an expensive and time-consuming process. Advertising, shortlisting candidates, conducting interviews, and completing reference checks is significant, and so once you have a role filled, you don’t want to be running up these costs again. There is also the impact to productivity, training and getting a new person up to speed, as well as instability in the team. All these costs can be minimised through putting in place practical strategies to retain staff.

Many of these strategies can reduce the amount of staff turnover, and can also have the following effects:

  • Increase morale and overall business culture
  • Increase employee engagement and interest
  • Identify employees with values and beliefs not aligned with the businesses
  • Improve productivity and income generation

Employees are an investment, and looking after them should be top priority so businesses can get the best out of them. Although some employee benefits and retention strategies can be costly, the benefits of retaining staff compared with replacing staff are immeasurable.

Where do I start to effectively build a retention strategy?

We all know that employees will leave the business at some point. Understanding the reasons why they leave is key to putting together an effective retention strategy.

Research has shown that there are three reasons why an employee will leave a business which include:

  1. Dissatisfaction with pay
  2. Not being provided with opportunity for career advancement
  3. Company culture, respect and courtesy in the workplace
  4. Lack of transparency and clear business direction

A good way to find out why an employee has decided to leave the business is to conduct an exit interview. When done well, exit interviews can reveal what was working, what wasn’t working, and what can be improved.

Another more proactive approach is to conduct an employee satisfaction survey. The key however, is to make it anonymous so that employees feel comfortable enough to be open and honest.

How do I use employee feedback to develop an effective retention strategy?

Assess the information gathered and look for any trends or patterns in the responses received. Is the business paying too low? Are staff lacking motivation? Is the IT system working as it should? The information should also identify what staff value most, whether that is more flexibility to spend time with their families, their health and fitness, or recognition and rewards, or for some it may be that they enjoy further training opportunities.

Once the information has been assessed, strategies can be developed that target the key areas that will have the biggest impact. These may include:

  • Offering flexible working arrangements
  • Reviewing salaries and commission
  • Offering subsidised gym memberships
  • Providing training opportunities

Not all of these need to be costly. For example, training opportunities could be offered by team members sharing knowledge. Once a staff retention strategy has been put in place, we recommend regularly reviewing it to ensure that the retention strategy is still meeting the needs of the employees and the business.

Check out our previous blogs, Improving Employee Retention, and Understanding Employee Engagement and Retention for some more information about attracting and retaining staff.

If you’re looking for assistance in recruiting in a very tight labour market, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team, via the chat box here or calling us on 08 6150 0043.

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