Attracting and retaining talent

In Business Together, September 20224 MinutesBy Roylance WatsonOctober 5, 2022

The question I hear from every business I visit (no matter the industry) is, ‘How do I get good staff?’

The talent shortage has put a massive strain on businesses. So how do you attract and retain good staff? I visited one business so scared of losing valuable staff members that they gave them pay increases up to four times a year. While I am sure the employees would have loved it, it is not sustainable. It doesn’t help with future staff and may not even be what drives the employees’ contentedness in their role.

We now have five generations on the global workforce, and they all want different things. The tables below outline the different attributes of each of the generations. If you are a baby boomer and employ a millennial, you need to know that the same things do not drive them. You worked long and hard to establish your place in your career and were driven by salary. Millennials need constant feedback and personal relationships to strive. They will not leave a position simply because they will get paid $5000 more somewhere else.

An environment that gives them flexibility and knowledge across several facets of the business will encourage them to stay. When given the right tools to succeed, they will work smarter (not necessarily harder), which can have a big impact on your business.

Another big shift in the labour market is the number of careers a person will have in their working lifetime. A baby boomer would generally have 1-2 careers in their working life, whereas now we are seeing a shift of 3-8 careers. You should expect that younger staff will leave. Therefore, businesses must create the right processes to bring in new people.

Also, be open to taking someone from a different career path initially – they are out there and looking to make a change. They are also incredibly smart and technologically savvy and can help take your business further if given the opportunity.

There are a few points that you can think about actioning to help with retaining staff in a new and different labour market:

• Give adequate training and access – 40% of employees will leave their jobs in the first year if they don’t receive the necessary training to be effective in their roles.

• Be aware and accept the new realities of the labour force.

• Create purpose – It is more important than paycheques.

• Ensure flexibility and agility in working conditions.

• Provide opportunities for continuous learning.

• Coach rather than be a boss.

• Have ongoing discussions about performance and development – don’t just leave this for annual reviews (if you even do this).

• Focus on strengths, not weaknesses.

• Maintain and encourage a healthy work-life balance.

Leaders need to shift from control as a leader to mentoring as a leader. Richard Branson put it perfectly when he said, “Train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.”