Market Update & How to Improve Recruitment and Employee Retention

Published March 2022

Over the past few years, the search for top talent has become a significant problem across all industries. As the Covid-19 lockdowns ended in late 2021, job vacancies surged across Australia highlighting crippling staff and skill shortages. The reopening of the borders was expected to be important in offering a solution, but we are yet to see major changes. As the country opens again, businesses are still struggling to fill those same roles, with many workers thumbing their nose at job offers and instead opting to pursue new work-life balance aspirations.

To put this into context, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found in June 2021 that 27% of Australian businesses were experiencing difficulty finding suitable workers. Fast forward to February 2022 and 100% of Edwards HR’s clients are still experiencing the same difficulties. As a result of this, a term, the “Great-Resignation”, was brought about to describe an employees deep dissatisfaction with previous employment situations. This dissatisfaction is thought to be caused by the ongoing global pandemic enabling workers to rethink their careers, work/life balance, long-term goals, and working conditions. All over the world, we are now seeing workers are ditching pre-covid conditions like long hours and burnout and pursuing better work-life balance. Employers are now facing a rocky road ahead, with companies needing to “sell” career development and flexibility to attract workers as jobseekers are now looking for a more fulfilling work-life balance. This is a challenge across all industries. However, it’s important to rethink the status quo.

For employees, this is being seen as the “Great Job Boom”, with more jobs available than ever before.

How to Improve Your Recruitment Process

As you rethink the status quo, it is important to remember that there is no silver bullet, or one size fits all approach. Following these tips and tricks will allow you to reassess your recruitment, onboarding, retention, and benefits strategies.

  • Pre-recruitment: Before starting the recruitment process, knowing the purpose of the role, and the types of skills and personal attributes needed in an ideal candidate is a good place to start. Then, clearly outline these points in the job ad and use them to devise interview questions that will enable you to determine each candidate’s suitability.
  • Company Values: Remembering your company values, adhering to them, and discussing them in the interview is another way to ensure you are hiring the right candidate that align with the company’s values. For example, at Edwards HR, one of our values it that we ‘deliver on time, every time’, so we always ask candidates about this during our interviews.
  • Where to Advertise: Be sure to advertise only on reputable platforms such as LinkedIn and Seek (depending on the role) as these will generate results that platforms such as Facebook and Gumtree will not.
  • Explore Networks: Another great way to explore your existing network is to share vacancies within the team and encourage them to seek candidates through their networks. You could even consider a ‘Referral Program’ that offers an incentive to your employee if a referral is hired.
  • Practical Tests: For some roles, it can be useful to ask the candidate to complete a practical task as part of the interview. For example, a Boilermaker could complete a welding test, or an Administration Officer could be asked to identify errors in a document or navigate a system. This can be very helpful in determining an individuals’ depth of experience and standard of work.
  • Move Quickly: You’ll also need to act as quickly as you can through the recruitment process to secure new talent and potential. There are many jobs available in the market and candidates ore often interviewing for more than one role simultaneously, so be sure to act on applications you are interested in pursuing.
  • References: If hiring a supervisor/manager role, consider asking for a reference from someone who has worked beneath them to gain a better and honest understanding of the potential candidate.
  • Consider Pay & Benefits: Considering and offering a competitive wage will also be of use when seeking top talent however, not everyone is motivated by money. So, it is worthwhile considering other benefits you could offer such as flexibility with hours, bonuses, health care benefits and structured career programs just to name a few.

The world has changed in the last few years and the recruitment process is now not only about how you interview the candidate but also finding out what the candidate is looking for in a job and whether you align with their needs, values, and goals.

How to Retain Employees

Now that you’ve recruited someone, the fun doesn’t stop there! It is equally important to continuously seek ways to retain top talent and keep your team members happy and engaged

  • Solid Onboarding & Induction: You can do this by having a solid onboarding and induction process so that your employees are given all the right tools and information required for them to carry out their role and learn about the company culture from their very first week. Take a look at our Quick Guide: How to Nail the Onboarding Process for New Employees for more guidance.
  • Growth Opportunities: It is also beneficial to give your employees the chance to continue to grow in their roles by looking at training opportunities such as on the job training, cross-training, new licences and by promoting from within the company. This allows your employees to feel motivated and look towards the future at the company.
  • Leadership Training: You should also think about investing in training for top-down leadership that teaches them to encourage employees and make them authentically feel there’s an urgency in the work they’re doing. In other words, an employee should be made to feel their work is important and their manager trusts them. That kind of training for managers should be executed consistently throughout an organisation, from top line managers down to front-line managers.
  • Communication & Reviews: Making the effort to encourage employees and checking in regularly to see how they are going within their role will give you an idea of employee satisfaction and their workload management. Alongside this, completing regular performance reviews, usually every 6 months or annually will help your employees understand how they are travelling in their role and how they can potentially improve. Performance reviews are also a great way for your employees to feel encouraged to provide upwards feedback to their Supervisor or Manager, have their achievements acknowledged and address any concerns.
  • Always Address Concerns: When addressing concerns, it is important to do so in an efficient and timely manner and communicate openly, honestly, and consistently. Remember, not everyone is intrinsically driven, so by asking the employee what would make the workplace better, will give you an opportunity to accommodate to their needs and ultimately, create a happier workplace.
  • Celebrate: Always make time to celebrate the wins and acknowledge both team and individual achievements.
  • Ask the Team: Remember, not every employee is motivated by money and the flexibility to work from home. Sometimes the best insight about how to make your workplace a better place to work is by asking your team just that – you might be pleasantly surprised by some of the unexpected responses.

Migration & Visa’s– The Impact & What’s Changed?

The imposition of strict border controls since the beginning of the global pandemic together with stringent new immigration rules in overseas countries have made it harder and honestly, less desirable to travel. For Australia, this meant a dramatic fall in migration and the ability to import labour (via visa’s) to fill local skills shortages almost impossible with flows of migrants inhibited. Since the widespread travel bans and border closures have recently eased, migration is expected to bounce back and surge. Australia’s borders reopened to eligible international student and certain skills visa holders on 15 December 2021, almost 6 months earlier than forecasted in the federal budget. Many temporary visa holders left Australia during the pandemic due to the lack of work and welfare support, so the focus will now be on offering permanent residency pathways to those who remained and different pathways and extensions for international skills workers.

Changes were announced by the Australian Government on 25th November 2021 will be implemented progressively from December 2021 through to the 1st of July 2022.

  • What Does This Mean? These visa changes will enable employers to address labour shortages by bringing in skilled workers where employers can’t source an appropriately skilled Australian worker. Certain visas require testing the local labour market in Australia before being allowed to nominate an overseas worker for a skilled position. This means that employers, the approved sponsor, must demonstrate that no suitable worker is present in Australia before nominating an overseas skilled worker.
  • New Visas Include: Among the new visas are the Temporary Skill Shortage visas (subclass 482, short and long term) and the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 494 Labour Agreement Stream).

Edwards HR would also like to mention that although, this is a general overview of possible visa considerations when seeking talent amongst Australia’s current skills shortages, Edwards HR does not provide migration services. If you are looking for further information or a migration agent, please visit the Foreign Affairs website here.

What’s Next?

Change is inevitable and constant. Looking towards the future by assessing your recruitment, onboarding, retention, and benefits strategies will allow you to remain competitive and gain long-term top talent.

Recruitment and retention have continued to pose considerable challenges for businesses over the last 2 years, and while most expected that the borders re-opening would help overcome some of these challenges, these expectations are yet to be realised. So, the next 6 months will see Edwards HR establish our dedicated heavy industry Recruitment team.

This service offering is being fine-tuned as we speak and we are keen for your feedback and suggestions to ensure our new recruitment service is a value-add for your business, just like our other HR services. We want to deliver a service that is suited to what are clients are seeking, so we would appreciate 3-4 minutes of your time to take our survey.

Take the Recruitment Survey here!

As always, the team at Edwards HR are here to answer your questions and provide support across all areas of HR, specific to your circumstances.

You can reach our team on 07 3568 0866.

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