In the rapidly evolving business world, companies are faced with various challenges when it comes to their workforce. One of the most pressing issues is attracting and retaining top talent.
With the high demand for skilled workers and a competitive job market, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need help finding and retaining employees with the skills and expertise they need to succeed.
According to experts, the key to a successful workforce lies in a holistic approach that incorporates both competitive compensation and benefits, as well as a positive and supportive work environment and opportunities for professional growth.
By offering flexible work arrangements, clear communication, and recognition for their contributions, companies can foster a sense of belonging and job satisfaction among their staff.
And by promoting employee wellness and work-life balance, companies can attract and retain the best employees. With regular training and professional development opportunities, employees are able to grow and develop their skills, and a positive workplace culture that prioritises employee engagement and feedback helps retain staff for the long term. It’s a win-win for both the employees and the business.
This week on Let’s Talk, our experts with an extensive background in workforce management and running businesses will be sharing their insights on the major challenge for SMEs in Australia, which is maintaining and keeping a productive workforce.
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Nicole Gorton, Director, Robert Half
“The jobs market has drastically changed in the last five years, and many employers are finding that they no longer hold all the cards when it comes to attracting and retaining staff in today’s fast-paced environment.
“Employees no longer prioritise holding a tenure with their current company over seeking a job elsewhere that better suits their lifestyle and career aspirations. So, in order to attract and retain top talent, it is important to implement key strategies that emphasise a company’s commitment to their staff and employee experience.
“Employee engagement factors that really matter to jobseekers and existing employees in 2023 include providing competitive remuneration, a clear career path, employee recognition, cultivating a culture of respect and freedom, offering flexibility (in work environments and hours), and clear lines of communication.
“Career progression, offering a high level of flexibility, and paying employees at or above market rate are at the top of workers’ priority lists, and employers who understand and recognise these candidate expectations have a better chance at securing top talent for their roles.”
Libby Shade, Senior Human Resources Manager ANZ, SAS
“Hybrid work will continue to be at the forefront of employers minds in 2023, with research indicating that 52% of employees say flexible work policies will affect their decision to stay at their organisations. Therefore, companies will need to find the right strategy that embraces a culture of flexibility and focuses on the employee experience. Listening to employee feedback will be critical to help strike the right balance of in-person collaboration, inclusivity, and work/ life balance and will be a key driver of employee satisfaction.
“Career development and progression continues to be one of the top reasons employees leave companies, with research indicating that today’s candidates are placing greater importance on skills growth. To attract and retain employees, as well as close the skills gap, organisations need to offer training and career opportunities. With the challenges of hybrid work and technology disruption, businesses will need to redefine their employee development strategies and learning platforms to maintain employee engagement and ensure employees are set up for success.”
Dr Crissa Sumner, Employee Experience Solutions Strategist ANZ, Qualtrics
“The key to attracting and retaining top talent in 2023 is the same as every year – being able to understand how your employees and candidates are thinking and feeling about work, and then taking action on what’s most important to them. In the current macroeconomic environment, doing this well is going to be critical.
“When we look closer at what’s impacting retention right now in Australia and New Zealand, the top drivers of an employee’s intent to stay with their current employer are believing in the company values, feeling like they can achieve their career goals, and having employee benefits that meet their needs. For employers, these findings – taken from the latest Qualtrics Employee Experience Trends Report – give insight into what’s driving career decisions, and the need to think beyond just salary when it comes to talent attraction and retention.
“Employers that ensure their work processes and systems, including onboarding and enablement programs, are designed and optimised for new ways of working (e.g. hybrid work) will also have an advantage when it comes to retaining talent from a wellbeing perspective. For example, the same Qualtrics study showed intent to stay is lowest in employees who have been with their current employer for less than 12 months – a contrast to what saw pre-pandemic. Similarly, workplaces that have effective systems and processes, as well as managers who help remove barriers to work getting done, are more likely to have higher levels of workforce wellbeing.”
Sally McKibbin, Career Coach, Indeed
“Research from Indeed has revealed 72% of employed Australians have felt unhappy at work in the past year, while 26% reported they were looking for new jobs for this reason. Causes of workplace unhappiness included heavy workloads, long hours, and poor relationships with colleagues and managers. Unsurprisingly, workplace mental health issues are on the rise, with a growing number of workers wanting better mental health support from their employers.
“Talent attraction and retention go hand-in-hand and Indeed’s research confirms a people-first approach is critical to both. By investing in employees personal and professional well-being – including mental health services, professional development pathways, a supportive and inclusive culture, and competitive benefits – employers are likely to see a significant shift in engagement, productivity, performance, and employee happiness. This, in turn, is likely to have a flow-on effect on an organisation’s employer brand – a boon considering 71% of job seekers agree having information available about employee happiness is important when deciding whether to work for a company.
“The pandemic and subsequent Great Resignation marked a turning point for the global workforce. Employees and job seekers are becoming increasingly discerning when it comes to deciding where, how, and for whom they want to work, which means organisations need to listen up or risk missing out on top talent.”
Angela Logan Bell, Senior Director Strategic Partnerships, Alliances and Marketing APJ, Rackspace Technology
“The evolution to cloud native, and the deployment of sophisticated and complex technologies, will continue for companies to remain innovative and competitive. However, sourcing high-level and technical expertise to evolve and develop a cloud native operating model is still a major challenge.
“Organisations need to focus on retaining their top performers while developing future leaders. Nowadays, simply knowledge sharing is no longer enough. It’s about upskilling workers for future roles and the practical application of these skills to deliver in relevant environments. And combining this with a culture that embraces a diversity of ages and experiences is crucial. By doing so, you create a workspace that accelerates learning, development and ultimately business outcomes with multiple touchpoints for employees to learn. This is particularly true in areas such as the cloud, where competition is fierce, and there is a steady momentum of new products that employees need to upskill.
“Embracing a pod of experts to bridge remaining skills gaps can be a key solution. With new smarter sourcing standards for delivering support, these teams can act as a true extension of their customer’s business and their internal teams, freeing up time for workers to upskill in the in-demand skills needed to become specialists.”
Emad Afghani, Vice President sales ANZ, TeamViewer
“Skilled worker shortages are still expected to impact businesses in 2023, which means it will be important to find new ways of standing out from industry competition when attracting staff. Adopting new technology can go a long way towards creating a digitally savvy workforce, boosting productivity, connecting a disparate labour force, and providing the knowledge and resources staff need to complete tasks.
“Implementing augmented reality (AR) should also be a key consideration when it comes to training in 2023, as it can be used from the onboarding process to upskilling to developing the skills of workers. The possibilities of AR can provide staff with on-the-job training and can guide employees through tasks in real-time, ensuring that teams can receive adequate training regardless of their physical location around the world.
“Businesses will find they are more likely to attract and retain talent by offering these advancements and new technological opportunities for employees.”
Bill Zeng, Senior Director, Hybrid Work Solutions and Peripherals, APJ, HP
“To build a high-performing team, businesses need to build a strong culture. But this is much more challenging in an era of hybrid workplaces. Remote workers are less likely to feel connected to their organisation’s culture.
“Forcing staff back into the office isn’t the answer: Accenture research found that 83% of workers prefer a hybrid model. Instead, businesses need to make more effort and be more creative and flexible in building culture and team collaboration.
“One step is to repurpose a workspace for more collaborative interactions when people are present.
“Another is to ensure the highest quality virtual interactions, providing staff with professional-grade audio and video equipment wherever they work from.
“Workplace equity is vital: businesses must make sure they include remote participants in hospitality experiences, and that everyone enjoys the same perks and benefits.”
Olivier Pestel, Vice President APJ Solutions Group, Cornerstone OnDemand
“With predictions of global recession and difficulties for many industries to attract staff since the pandemic, many HR leaders will acquire the necessary skills and capabilities without actually hiring new employees in 2023. They may utilise existing employees or turn to consultants. This “new” strategy has been dubbed “quiet hiring” by Gartner, but many high-performing companies have been focusing on upskilling and reskilling workers to meet organisational needs for a while already.
“Retaining talent involves ensuring employees can see a clear career path for themselves and making employee learning accessible and embedded in the culture of the business. Employees need to feel encouraged to develop their careers to stay with a company.
“HR leaders should help employees create formal career paths for themselves, so everyone understands each other’s goals and expectations.
“Reward Managers for becoming career coaches and mentors for the well-being and mutual long-term benefits to employees and the organisation. Support them by providing advanced career-matching and recommendations tools.
“To create a culture where employees can grow and flourish within a company, learning and development must be prioritised by senior management, and continuous learning needs to be embedded in the culture across all levels of the organisation.”
Damon Pal, Head of Asia Pacific, HireVue
“As labour shortages soar, and with candidates in high demand across numerous industries, the shift in employer-employee dynamic is palpable. Many capable candidates are open to new opportunities, but aren’t interested in companies unwilling to adapt to the new era of work/life balance. So how do employers best position themselves to attract and retain this talent?
“Starting at the recruitment process, offering flexibility to prospective employees is a sure way to increase the employee experience from the outset. Interviews scheduled within working hours can be disruptive and stressful for your interviewee, so enhance their experience by offering them the opportunity to complete an online assessment or pre-record interview in their own time.
“For retention, it’s not just about perks, parties and benefits. Broader workplace programs that focus on diversity and inclusion, development, upskilling, ESG and sustainability practices, engagement and performance will have a more meaningful impact on candidate satisfaction. Afterall, a fulfilled employee tends to mean a loyal employee, leading to greater productivity, motivation, and profitability for the business.”
Craig McFarlane, VP Australia and South East Asia, Pearson VUE
“Recognising every person is on their own journey is fundamental to retention. An employee will remain as long as an employer is supporting their personal journey. Mutual growth is the key. An employer who supports the skill and knowledge development of their employees to help them grow will not only retain staff longer, but will also drive business growth. This can take several forms; on-the-job training;, external learning opportunities; or through more formal channels such as micro-credentials and certification – particularly for vocational roles such as emergency services personnel. For front-line staff for instance, the latter is non-negotiable, so it’s actually about offering the most thorough, up-to-date accreditation options to help staff stay on top of their game, and ultimately make them more employable in the long term. Retention is also about flipping the script to look at things from the employees perspective. Why should an employee want to work for you? There are plenty of roles and organisations out there, particularly in today’s market. So why should an employee work for you? Understanding what you offer your staff from a holistic perspective is important.It’s not just money. What skill and knowledge development do you support? What flexibility do you provide? How are you engaging with your employees to provide them with a sense of belonging and mutual growth? What’s the next step for the employee in the organisation and how is the employer helping them to get there? These are the key questions an employer must ask themselves, and form part of the holistic package of reasons why an employee would stay.”
Ashley Watkins, Vice President ANZ, Trend Micro
“The recent acceleration in cybercrimes following the pandemic has led to an increased demand across businesses for cybersecurity professionals. But the country’s tertiary institutions, government training programs and skilled immigration can only do so much to fill the skills gap we have in Australia’s cyber landscape. It’s up to every organisation with a stake in the industry to do their part in developing the next generation of cyber experts.
“Upskilling is now a critical element of the hiring strategy of many businesses following the pandemic. Many local businesses are now stepping up to offer courses to help upskill their employees. For example, last year, Trend Micro ran the first Australian edition of the Certification Program in IT Security (CPITS), aimed at providing the hard and soft skills needed to get started in the field of cybersecurity. Furthermore, to reduce the burden on cyber professionals and thereby reduce turnover or retraining, businesses should collaborate with trusted cybersecurity vendors to augment their security teams with added services to support them. Whether a company is recruiting externally or internally, the assurance of ongoing training and support is a powerful way to attract and maintain new and experienced talent.”
Tony Maguire, Regional Director ANZ, D2L
“Without employees, businesses and services simply can’t function – people are, of course, our greatest business asset. Finding and retaining the right staff has been challenging at times but in recent years, many industries have struggled with finding any staff.
“If they weren’t doing so beforehand, many companies are now offering employee and workplace benefits that wouldn’t have been considered in the past (unless you were Google or Airbnb).
“Just like the material company assets requiring ongoing maintenance, there are gains to be made by investing in your staff’s development. In an ever-changing work environment, where the need for more types of digital literacy and analytical skills are becoming the norm, there is no greater career incentive than an employee receiving learning opportunities to grow their career and keep them employable.
“By providing quality learning and development programs in the workplace, through technologies such as Learning Management Systems, staff can develop new skills and further enhance their current skills.
“Wellness treatments, free lunches and flexible types of leave are great to have but organisations still need to stand out in this challenging job market. At the end of the day, job satisfaction is what retains staff and creates employers of choice in a tough job market.”
Aaron Skonnard, Co-Founder and CEO, Pluralsight
“It’s undeniable a lack of specialised technology skills will remain a key challenge throughout 2023. To overcome this, business leaders will be looking to be on the front foot when it comes to retaining and upskilling staff.
“While it may seem obvious, one of the most important things that can be done is to build a dedicated budget and proactively allocate resources for skill development. This skill development program needs to be programmatic and baked into the strategic initiatives within your organisation. For example, if your organisation is undergoing a $10 million cloud transformation, you should make sure that 10% of that budget is being carved out to fund the skills development of the individuals who will be supporting the cloud transformation.
“Organisations are still struggling to find talent to fuel these digital transformations, and it’s become clear that there is simply not enough talent to hire for the skills you need. Instead, employees will need to be upskilled from within. Skills development will be the strategic differentiator for organisations in 2023.”
Craig Rees, SVP of People and Talent, Airwallex
“One of the most powerful ways we’ve found to recruit and retain our talent is to highlight that as our business grows, so do the personal and professional opportunities for our employees.
“We create opportunities for regular learning and development – so that as our business moves forward, we’re also investing in our team’s skills and capabilities so they too can grow with the business. Helping staff to extend their skills supports our longer-term needs as we increase demand for a highly skilled workforce, and it also helps our employees understand that their personal and professional development is valued by our business.
“While we train and foster our teams, we also help them understand they are invested in the business’ success with an Employee Share Option Plan and Restricted Share Scheme.
“This two-pronged approach means that we reward our teams with professional growth, but also an incentive to keep that talent we’ve supported to remain with the company as they know the wider success of the business will circle back into their own financial wellbeing.”
Shiva Pillay, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Asia and Japan, Veeam Software
“While there has been a stronger focus on compensation and flexible hybrid work options in 2023, we need to go further to attract and retain top talent in today’s competitive market.
“This starts with demonstrating care through three C’s: culture, career, and communication.
“Positive work cultures encourage feedback, show the value of supportive relationships, and emphasise protecting mental well-being. Caring about career growth means listening and investing in suitable training, learning, and development for each employee, according to their ambitions and goals. Lastly, inclusive communication is crucial to acknowledge and celebrate diversity among employees. This extends beyond gender, to race, culture, parenthood, and the different life stages that the team are experiencing.”
Pete Murray, Managing Director ANZ, Veritas Technologies
“As the saying goes, employees are a company’s greatest asset. But with more employees in control of dictating working conditions, catered lunches and funky meeting rooms are no longer enough in the competition for talent.
“While money definitely matters to potential employees, many people also look for an inclusive team and for impactful work. In 2023, people-first and purpose-led organisations will thrive, driven by strong, diverse teams who are inspired by where they work and the culture they represent.
“My tips for maintaining great talent include:
- Attracting – be loud and proud of your company culture and employee value proposition. Organisations that are engaged in the community they are a part of and inventive with their employee benefits will stand out amongst job hunters.
- Training – employee upskilling must move beyond video modules in 2023. Businesses must identify their operational shortfalls and tailor training to close these gaps effectively. Organisations should also consider what employees desire to learn and offer opportunities to explore these areas.
- Retaining – keeping in tune with the needs of your employees and taking action to meet them is essential in the competitive job market. By being flexible and welcoming of new workplace norms such as mental health days and hybrid work, businesses will build a culture with satisfied employees who stay longer and deliver more.”
Richard Gerdis, Vice President and General Manager APJ, LogicMonitor
“Don’t only prioritise salary. While the rising cost of living will likely encourage many to consider greater remuneration, the pandemic caused the workforce to reprioritise what they value in the workplace. We spend one-third of our life at work, so culture and workplace flexibility should be emphasised when communicating your value proposition to potential candidates.
“Your legacy lives on through the recruitment process. It’s a small world and those who may not be successful on the first go might be a better fit for a future opportunity. Upholding respect, strong communication and a seamless interview process are crucial to demonstrating company reputation and building advocacy with both successful and unsuccessful candidates.
“Too often there’s a disconnect where companies share what they’re looking for, without enough attention to what candidates and existing staff want out of an employer. Addressing this key factor early is essential to ensure the evolving needs of staff are met. This means creating an environment from leadership down that values exploring better ways of doing things and breaks down siloes between teams, to empower collaboration and a culture that works towards a common goal.”
Dean Anderson, CEO, Leading Teams
“When it comes to attracting and retaining staff, it’s all about a people-first approach in which commitment to culture is key. A culture where people feel included, heard and respected lays the foundation for deep professional relationships that enable a safe environment for people to thrive.
“At Leading Teams, we come together as a full team approximately 20 days a year to prioritise training and development that covers Leading Teams’ team dynamics (i.e. internal culture, relationships) and business mechanics (i.e., strategy, business development). Culture is a clear priority for our business, and it has the combined effect of protecting and enhancing our own culture as well as developing our team members as culture facilitators.
“Another key part of a people-first approach means recognising your staff as individuals, not just employees, and acknowledging the role of external support networks. At Leading Teams, we invite staff to bring a key person in their life, whether it be a partner, parent, sibling or child to team functions twice a year, which helps to promote a sense of work-life integration and belonging. When staff feel a sense of inclusion and belonging, they’re more likely to bring their full selves to work, and less likely to become disengaged, unfulfilled, or seek opportunities elsewhere.”
Cia Kouparitsas, Chief Marketing Officer, WithYouWithMe
“Many employers still view workforce as a cost, and human capital as a revenue driver—this must change. We need to take a step back and consider how we look at employees. High-performing individuals and teams enable genuine business acceleration and growth, and we must acknowledge this by changing the conversation from human resources or human capital to human assets. To attract and retain talent, employers need to create meaningful career pathways for their employees with a focus on reskilling and career development. Great talent is never in shortage when effective continuous learning is available, however, few employers provide training that is truly practical or remains relevant ahead of evolving skill requirements.”
Damien Sheehan, Country Head of Australia, International Workplace Group (IWG)
“The pandemic has revolutionised the working landscape, not only with the permanent adoption of hybrid working, but it has also changed the way we view talent attraction, recruitment, and retention. With economic uncertainty looming over Australia in 2023, retaining valued employees is more critical than ever. This means prioritising your team’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being, with a renewed focus on employee benefits and training.
“Companies that offer perks like skills development and ongoing L&D will make for an attractive prospect for potential candidates and current employees alike. This is especially important as the Gen Z workforce of today values learning new skills as a step toward career growth.
“Hybrid working – where employees can choose to divide their working hours between their company headquarters, a local flexible workspace or office, and their home – is another important perk to consider. Hybrid and flexible working arrangements help to increase productivity and work-life balance, and because of these benefits, many employees are now prioritising this over higher pay. Ultimately, hybrid working is becoming the norm, so it’s important for businesses who are looking to cultivate a pool of loyal employees to ensure they’re aligning benefits to the future of work.”
Peter Philipp, General Manager ANZ, Neo4j
“The skills shortage, particularly in tech, is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses. Many organisations are trying to rehire former employers and re-skill and upskill existing staff.
“Beyond training and redeploying people, it’s imperative to help employees reach their personal career goals. Research indicates that career development is key to retention: if people don’t feel they’re progressing, they are more likely to move on. At Neo4j, we’ve allocated budgets for external learning opportunities for employees and work closely with managers to effectively and inclusively lead diverse, remote teams to foster efficiency and a sense of belonging.
“Two-way communication between management and staff is essential to keep employees engaged. We schedule regular catch-ups between employees and managers. This gives us a great pulse check on how individuals are feeling and we can then take the appropriate steps to support them as needed.
“Staff want to know what in-demand skills they should have for career development opportunities but managers may not always have the necessary data to provide this advice.
“By using graph databases, leaders can gain a better understanding of the complex relationships between their people, skills, learning gaps, and business resources. This enables them to carry out workforce planning analytics and better guide employees towards career opportunities and pathways available within their organisation.”
Damien Andreasen, Head of Region ANZ, HiBob
“Over the past year, employee expectations have shifted significantly, with a greater emphasis now placed on company culture, employee wellbeing, and flexibility.
“In today’s uncertain economic environment, business leaders should focus on building a people-first culture, understanding the unique needs and drivers of a multi-generational workforce, fostering a positive and healthy workplace culture, supporting employee wellbeing, and providing employees with regular upskilling and training opportunities.
“People are every organisation’s number one asset, and to attract and retain staff in 2023, organisations should invest in tools that offer leaders data and insights on employee engagement. Modern, data-first HR tools enable the C-suite visibility into employee engagement and retention. However, information alone doesn’t yield results — leaders must act swiftly on the insights and data to build a people-first culture.
“While a competitive salary and benefits package might be what initially attracts people to your company, a positive culture where they feel valued and supported is what keeps them.”
Lindsay Brown, Vice President and General Manager APJ, GoTo
“In 2023, employees will seek to work for a business that equips them with the opportunity to do their best work without sacrificing their personal life. A great way for organisations to enable this is by adopting the right technology that makes operations flexible and simple for staff.
“Technology needs to support a range of working environments without hindering quality of work. Australians are increasingly prioritising jobs that give them the ability to work flexibly without feeling disconnected or unassisted. Implementing a solution that consolidates both collaboration tools with IT and remote working support allows employees to maintain a strong work-life balance in a hybrid work model.
“Furthermore, a consolidated tech stack reduces time wasted on mundane tasks and managing a range of different applications. Tools that help employees upskill from anywhere should feature highly in a business’s tech stack, as personal growth is high on the agenda for many Australians in 2023.
“A balanced life for employees is pivotal in today’s workforce, and when employees can achieve this with human-friendly tools they will be able to produce their best work. This is essential in attracting, training and retaining staff in 2023.”
Lisa Virgo, Chief People Officer, Tic:Toc
“As companies look to address their talent shortages despite falling job vacancies, we will continue to see a highly competitive environment for talent. This competitive market signifies the need to revamp the traditional approach to attracting candidates.
“Take job descriptions, for example. They’ve been the backbone of job vacancy postings for decades, but considering a growth mindset, they become relatively ineffective when they are too prescriptive. Instead, companies should curate an ‘opportunity description’, where a prospective employee has the chance to tailor their candidacy according to their strengths and experience and mindset. Considering potential in people, rather than the checklist of skills, is a better long term play.
“We know employees’ motivation is driven by connection to purpose, so it’s critical to have clarity and consistent communication about the business ambition and strategy. Create a direct link from business purpose to every role in the business. Share ownership schemes are a wonderful way to take this a step further, and encourage employees to act like owners (because they are!).
“Organisations should also invest in the aligned employee journey. At Tic:Toc a big part of our experience centres on retaining the ‘human’ in a growing digital world.”
Matt Smith, Executive Director, AETS (Australian Employment and Training Solutions)
“It is currently a candidates’ market, with 77% of CEO’s citing talent as the biggest challenge for 2023, according to a KPMG report released this month. Businesses should be looking to attract and retain staff by investing in people and building the capabilities of their workforce.
“Key to that should be a commitment to recruiting based on candidates’ strengths, with practical, job-specific training provided once they’re onboard. One key thing that shouldn’t be overlooked as part of the strategy to upskill on the job, is the value and availability of government funding.
“Smart and Skilled’ is an excellent example in NSW that provides a range of qualifications on the NSW Skills List that are eligible for government subsidy. The NSW Skills List includes a range of vocational qualifications to support the diverse skills needs of NSW employers and covers all industry sectors in NSW and includes qualifications up to Advanced Diploma.
“Employment service providers like Asuria can help employers to navigate government funding, and can support businesses with wage subsidies to assist with recruitment and training costs, as well as support with work-related clothing, tools, and licenses.
“Once comfortable in their roles, providing opportunities for staff to develop their careers is another key part in supporting retention. Providing staff with time to focus on completing training, even a small amount such a 2-3 hours a week, can lead to incredible benefits for staff and employers alike.”
Shannon Karaka, Head of Expansion ANZ, Deel
“The biggest challenges for business leaders in 2023 are around their people – recruiting, retaining and upskilling their teams (KPMG). And with rising inflation and talks of recession, business leaders are looking for ways to simplify the HR tech stack so they can focus on finding talent in a tight labour market. This is why many Australian businesses are adopting a global hiring approach. In fact, Deel’s H2 Global Hiring Report found Australia is the APAC country with the most organisations hiring overseas remote workers.
“The idea is that instead of taking people to where the work is, you can take work to where the people are. This opens us a global pool of talent that can be deployed immediately thanks to platforms like Deel that handle compliance and payroll for international remote workers. Employees win, too, as businesses are empowered to offer unparalleled flexibility for workers who want to work from different locations and more easily integrate priorities like family into their daily activities.”
Karina Guerra, Global Group GM – Customer Intelligence and Marketing, Xref
“2023 will present new challenges to attract and retain the best talent. One of the best ways to retain your staff is to ask questions and identify what makes your teams happy and what improvements can be made to enhance the employee experience. Exit and engagement surveys are great tools that, when cleverly used, can drive relevant insights. The secret is to listen and take action in those areas that require attention.
“The learnings from the voices of your team become a great tool for hiring; once you understand which parts of your company culture are attractive to candidates, you can use them in your hiring strategy.
“Times have changed, and managers and talent acquisition professionals need to look at the talent journey from a holistic approach understanding the needs of future and existing employees. Small things make a big difference. Employees appreciate being asked what’s important to them.”
Helena Softley, Senior Sales Manager, WP Engine
“Today, more than ever, people are searching for purpose. Professionally this means finding an employer that aligns with their own core values. At WP Engine we are committed to diversity, inclusion and inspiring both organisational and personal growth. Our team is a diverse, multinational assortment of talented people with unique perspectives. Globally, 30% of our employees do not have a college degree and 33% of our employees are people of colour and 31% identify as woman or non binary.
“Creating an inclusive space that celebrates and inspires the team while also demonstrating how they are valued is very important. We invest time to train and develop skills and also provide access to the Wellable app which encourages us to earn points through exercise and engage in activities that promote mental health for a work-life balance. This also fosters camaraderie as participants can compete with peers across countries.
“WP Engine also offers unique opportunities to play a bigger part in our initiatives such as, ‘Do the right thing’ and ‘Engine for good’ campaigns which uphold our core values, staying dedicated to helping our community in every aspect.”
Phil Parisis, General Manager Product and Sales, My Business
“As a small business owner, recruitment can be overwhelming. Not only does it feel like larger organisations have a greater pull power and the ability to outbid for workers. My tips for attracting staff in 2023.
- Give them equity – Employee share schemes are now easier and much cheaper to put in place than previously and they’re a great incentive to attract quality job candidates and by allowing your employees to share in the growth and success of your business you’re also giving them a reason to stay.
- Be flexible – Don’t just offer remote or hybrid working but reconsider non-traditional working hours and be open to job sharing.
- Be human – People want to work for businesses that care about more than money. Make your staff feel cared for and valued.
- Benefits – Re-evaluate what benefits you’re offering staff including cost effective options like shorter Fridays during the summer months.
- Personal touch – During the hiring process make sure you respond to all your applicants. Help make them advocates for your business even if they don’t get the job.”
Melissa Hyland, Human Resources Manager, ipSCAPE
“According to a PwC report, 38% of Australians surveyed, revealed they are planning to leave their job within the next year – the challenge is how can organisations minimise the percentage of their employee turnover rate?
“At ipSCAPE, we invest in our employees by providing attractive perks and benefits such as an amazing Health & Wellness Program, various teambuilding & social events, an Employee Recognition program and a Learning & Development program that empowers every person at ipSCAPE to achieve more.
“A rigorous recruitment process, career development opportunities & a company culture that thrives will continue to be key for organisations to endure success in 2023 and beyond.”
Paola Molino, General Manager of People and Culture, TAL
“Creating a workplace experience that adapts to what people want at different life stages can give your organisation an edge. Through actively listening to suggestions and incorporating feedback you can improve the experience for people at different stages in their lives.
“At TAL, retaining existing talent and attracting new people are equally important, so we regularly review employment packages for our people and ensure they are recognised through promotional opportunities, as well as offering competitive packages for new talent.
“Clear development pathways and growth opportunities are crucial and our job is to know how best to support people to grow and learn.
“Finally, positive workplace culture is paramount. At TAL this covers everything from interactions with colleagues and leaders to the support we provide to the wider community.
“People who have a great experience at work become advocates for your organisation and for us this has helped our referral program succeed.”
Ross McDonald, Country Manager Australia, Perkbox
“Retention will be more crucial for companies than ever before, as economic factors in 2023 not only make it harder to find talent, but also difficult to cost-effecively hire.
“Our top tip for retaining staff this year is to focus on rewarding your team and acknowledging their work. Most companies don’t have a structured, programmatic way of doing this.
“It could be as simple as taking the time each meeting to point out a piece of work that impressed you. Or calling out hard work in a regular weekly team email. However you do it, it should be tied to an incentive so employees are not only recognised, but are motivated to perform.
“A note on rewards in the workplace: They shouldn’t be one size fits all. A bottle of wine or movie pass won’t suit everyone. Either set up a system where the employee can choose their own reward or understand what motivates them and work backwards when planning their incentive.”
Erin Deacon, Marketing and Communications Manager, Whizdom Recruitment
“By making use of modern hiring practises, allocating resources to employee training and development, and providing regular mentoring opportunities to recognise employees’ accomplishments, morale can be boosted. Whizdom uses these methods to recruit, train, and retain it’s own staff.
“We’ve learnt through experience that the best approach to maximise the effectiveness of our hiring tactics is to promote from within and offer entry-level positions to attract new employees. When we bring on individuals seeking a career change or new talent, we gain a fresh source of perspectives and ideas. As a sign of commitment to their employer, employees are more inclined to stay in their careers.
“Competitive pay incentives can help recruit and retain employees, but wages aren’t the only thing applicants evaluate. While salary may influence whether an applicant accept a position, there is no assurance of loyalty. Whizdom offers staff flexible work arrangements and access to employee assistance programmes, to help our staff achieve a positive work-life balance.
“Our productivity has grown as a result of providing in-person and online training opportunities for staff in soft and technical skills, as well as mentoring opportunities and building teams with a varied range of expertise.”
Marty Keetels, Commercial Vice-President, Plotlogic
“We’re very conscious of the increasing demand from staff and potential hires for diversity and inclusion at workplaces.
“A team that has a mix of backgrounds, cultures, ages and perspectives is a must-have for top talent, as well as being essential to a fast-growing, problem-solving business like ours operating in the highly competitive mining sector.
“One example of Plotlogic’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy in action was seen last week when we gave staff the choice to work on the Australia Day public holiday and take the leave at another time.
“January 26 signifies different things for different people. It’s therefore part of our Diversity and Inclusion Policy to offer staff the option about that day as we aim to be the employer of choice for people of all backgrounds and beliefs.
“About 30 per cent of our 75 staff decided to work on January 26 after being given until January 23 to choose.”
James Campbell, Regional Manager ANZ, SnapLogic
“Considering all of the mass layoffs occurring in big-name tech organisations across the globe, a focus on attracting and retaining top talent is top of mind for many. At SnapLogic, not only have we been fortunate to escape the need for major layoffs, we’ve actually found ourselves in a period of growth, strengthening our presence in the APAC and SEA regions with new hires.
“What’s our secret? We like to look at onboarding and retention similar to how an enterprise would implement its data strategy – it starts with integration and automation. When integration and automation are applied properly, the entire employee onboarding experience and other journeys where HR intersects with a variety of departments are improved.
“The faster you can integrate your data and applications, the faster you can create a connected employee experience,” says James Campbell, Regional Manager, Australia New Zealand at SnapLogic. “This results in employees being freed up to get on with the strategic, rewarding work they were hired to do. Even more, employees feel confident that they’ve chosen the best place to work, and the business sees results and outcomes more quickly.
“SnapLogic has amassed great success in the market, which can be attributed not only to our powerful solution but to the strong culture and values that inspire our workforce. Combined with a smart, steady growth strategy and a reliance on economic advisors, providing the next best thing to having a crystal ball to see into the future, SnapLogic naturally experiences resiliency and retention of top talent.”
Julian Stevenson, Product & Workforce Development Director, RMIT Online
“With talent shortages across most industries in Australia right now, it is more important than ever for businesses to consider how they can attract, train and retain staff in 2023.
“Attract – Businesses should consider the needs, and wants, of Australian workers to be able to offer these during the hiring process. For example, an attractive remuneration package, flexible working arrangements, a positive work culture and career development opportunities.
“Train – Last year, RMIT Online conducted a research report, The Salary Trap, which revealed 40% of managers believe new hires don’t have the skills or experience necessary for the new roles. To combat this, it is essential for businesses to offer training to new employees (as well as existing), to help them succeed in their role. This extends to both on-the-job and formal training to upskill in key areas.
“Retain – The Salary Trap report identified most unsatisfied workers (57%) don’t feel valued by their employers, and half of those (51%) believe they aren’t receiving adequate compensation for their current role or level of responsibility. To succeed in 2023, businesses must consider their entire EVP and that their workers are connected through purpose, and understand the value they bring to the organisation.”
Caitlin Zotti, Co-CEO, Pin Payments
“Employee retention has become more challenging in recent times, particularly since the pandemic, given the changes to the way workplaces operate. At the same time, hiring has also been difficult with fewer people looking for opportunities and reduced migration to Australia since the pandemic. It’s really important when looking for talent to showcase your company values, in order to attract like-minded employees and to define your company as the stand-out opportunity for a candidate.
“Further training opportunities which provide long-term pathways for your employees are critical in creating an environment where your employees feel valued and enables them to visualise progression with the business. Aligning with people who embody your business ethics or purpose is a great way to find staff who will stay with you into the long term, creating meaningful contributions and opportunities for everyone involved.”
Adam Pay, Managing Director, mycar
“As Australia’s largest employer of apprentices in the auto sector, mycar is a people first business focused on attracting the next generation to a trade-based career.
“Making mycar and the automotive industry an exciting place to be is crucial for the long term sustainability of our business. Just seeking to fill gaps in a team, or recruiting for the short term won’t fix the issue long term. What’s critical is building a platform for the best talent to stay engaged, passionate and excited about the career they’ve chosen and where it may lead them.
“Unfortunately, conversations on attracting the best candidates often only focus on employee perks, compensation and flexible working. While these are important, attracting and retaining talent goes far beyond perks.
“It’s about creating a place where talented people want to come to work, with a culture that’ll keep them engaged for years to come. Some tips are – define the values of your business well, highlight the impact they personally can make, and demonstrate your commitment to their ongoing development.
“It’s also critical to start early. At mycar, we’re ‘growing from within’, and investing in trade-based skill pathways to encourage school leavers to consider the alternatives to university.”
Bruce Macfarlane, Interim CEO and Director, Energy Action
“In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations are facing an ever-increasing need to attract, train and retain top talent. The war for talent is fierce, and companies that want to stay competitive must be strategic in their approach.
“Attracting new employees requires a strong employer brand and reputation. This can be achieved through positive word-of-mouth, employee testimonials, and a clear and compelling company mission and values. Additionally, offering competitive compensation and benefits packages can also help attract top talent.
“Once new employees are on board, it’s essential to provide them with comprehensive training to help them succeed in their roles. This can include both on-the-job training and formal training programs. Regular performance evaluations and opportunities for career development can also help keep staff engaged and motivated.
“Retaining staff requires creating a positive and supportive work environment. This can be achieved through open communication, recognition and rewards for good work, and providing opportunities for professional growth. Additionally, offering flexible work arrangements such as remote work options can help retain employees.
“At Energy Action we know that attracting, training, and retaining staff is a journey that requires a combination of strategy, investment and a clear vision. Companies that can navigate this journey effectively will be able to ride the talent wave and stay ahead of the competition.”
Darin Fox, Chief Research Officer and Principal Consultant, Expertunity
“Australian businesses are battling a skills shortage, a challenge that compounds when technical experts are overlooked as strategic partners and simply siloed as service providers. When this occurs, businesses risk losing staff who feel undervalued or unable to further progress their careers.
“Businesses can maximise the return on investment (ROI) of their experts by reassessing their roles under an ‘expertship’ approach – this involves nurturing technical talent and professional development.
“Modelling in our recent whitepaper, The Rise of Organisational Expertship, showed that a company with 2,000 staff could save $875,000 by further developing 10 experts due to the costs incurred if they resign and need to be replaced.
“Developed from five years of research involving more than 2,000 experts and 30 organisations, the whitepaper found the most common requests from experts were to receive coaching and mentoring in strategic thinking and how to get more involved in their company’s strategic process.
“Recognising the potential of experts within organisations, leveraging their experience, and encouraging their professional development are great ways businesses can attract, retain, and develop staff in 2023, who will gain greater career satisfaction as a result.”
Rachel Zerr, Founder and Director, FirstFifty
“This year will no doubt be an interesting (and at times, challenging) year. Much like 2022 we can expect choppy waters. Many small and medium sized businesses are under pressure and at mercy to larger players & global pressures including rising costs and instability.
“The employment market is already seeing a shift back to ’safe’ larger corporates. Start-ups & technology-driven businesses are losing their shine as valuations dip, with many making difficult staffing decisions (and headlines) as a result.
“Small employers now need to not only compete for talent with larger corporates, but also with continued wage inflation for hard-to-hire roles. SMEs need to think creatively around their talent strategies. Many are turning to on-demand/fractional models for demand-driven skills like customer service, finance, talent acquisition & HR, and even tech development. I also expect to see a return to offshoring of these key functions.
“Having said that, small and medium businesses still have immense opportunity to create environments and benefits that will attract and retain employees. Things like flexibility, hybrid working, additional time off, and people-first environments can be high impact yet low cost. We are smaller, faster, and create these things without red tape; let’s not lose this opportunity to shine.”
Karen Kirton, Managing Director, Amplify HR
“With the economy slowing and a competitive job market, retention and development of key people and attraction of candidates should be on every business owner’s priority list.
“Start with a plan, built by surveying and speaking to your employees to understand why they stay, and what is important to them. This will give you the information to be able to build and leverage your workplace culture to more effectively find, grow, and keep great people. For example, you find that your employees love those they work with and feel that they have a supportive and professional team which is a key reason they stay. This is then something you can use in your job advertising to attract candidates who are attracted to this and will better fit the workplace culture. You can also implement initiatives to build on this, such as social activities or cross functional projects, or team-based training to nurture and develop a team culture. Each business is different, but the key to attracting, developing and retaining great people is to put a plan in place based on your current and potential employee’s values and motivations, and continually seek feedback to proactively build and develop your workplace culture.”
Richard Knox, Head of People and Culture, Allianz Partners Australia
“We want to become an organisation that can attract and retain people from all walks of life and with different life experiences, including people from various diverse backgrounds and circumstances.
“Lifelong learning and strategic workforce planning, flexibility and training are essential for staff growth and development. Creating a diverse workplace is also vital to a future workforce, and that includes offering fair and equitable opportunities for all employees.
“Employers need to instil the principles of accessibility and inclusion throughout their business operations, which is supported by the senior management team. Ultimately, we can all benefit from a collection of different voices and lived experiences.”
Vesna Brown, Head of HR, Bowens
“At Bowens we pride ourselves on putting our team first and giving them the tools to build meaningful careers as well as connections at Bowens. Customer service is paramount to our brand, so we take the training, mentorship and development of our staff really seriously. As a result, we boast an average tenure of over 7+ years. We focus on:
- Investing in the training and development of our team: at Bowens, every new team member undertakes a targeted training program which includes induction, on-line and face to face training as well as role specific training including product training and other functional skills development. Training and development is a big focus at Bowens from the very outset and we encourage our team to try new roles and learn new skills.
- Supporting gender equality in our industry: we continue to platform and support females in trade and understand our role as an industry leader is to encourage more women into the industry, especially in the face of a major labour shortage in trade. We host an annual Women in Trade event and offer equal opportunity in our business to succeed and thrive at Bowens for all staff. Since last year, we have over 260 women on staff, up from 189 the previous year.
- We keep things fun: Our culture is something we really pride ourselves on at Bowens, this includes building an engaged team by hosting fun events like Bowens Unearthed rock music concert, free barista made coffees for staff and customers and Friday BBQ’s to ensure we are building friendships within the team inside and outside of the stores.”
Dr Patrick Aouad, CEO and Co-Founder, [cu]health
“The cost of incessant staff turnover can be too costly, both financially and culturally, for many businesses to handle. Attracting and retaining great staff is not really about pay, although a pay rise will result in temporary satisfaction, it’s soon forgotten if they aren’t actually happy in their job. It’s not even about typical perks and rewards, they don’t change the way an employee perceives themselves, or their purpose within the business.
“The key to staff attraction and retention is simple – offering a great culture and making them feel good about being part of the team. Creating an environment and culture to sustainably and consistently contribute to the way each employee feels about themselves and their work.
“This can be achieved through empathetic leadership, providing autonomy and learning opportunities, advocating trust, having clear and transparent escalation processes, and giving credit and acknowledgement.
“Offering evidence based health and wellbeing services for employees to lean on to build their capacity and resilience, creates a true team culture where everyone understands how they are contributing to the mission and vision of the business. If these factors become part of the fabric of a company’s culture then word spreads and talent will come.”
Ian Schubach, CEO, Red Leaf
“It seems like 2023 will reflect the uncertainty dominating the business environment now. Big Tech is shedding jobs at an ever-increasing rate, and industries like travel and entertainment are roaring back after a Covid-induced slumber. In the never-ending war for quality talent, these business problems appear to require radically different approaches.
“Not so. Training is the key.
“Retaining quality, well-trained people during a downturn is vital to make the most of the inevitable upturn that will come. Cut, yes, but make sure you behave like a surgeon rather than a butcher in a rush. Do not outsource your short-term (often fund manager-driven) challenge to a consultancy that typically is unaware of the nuances in the past staff investment you have made.
“Hiring people hand over fist with no plan to onboard them into your organisational culture and build on their skills is the glutton’s option. You satisfy an immediate need, but indigestion follows. Spending resources on hiring and training the right people pays dividends in the long term.
“How do you attract and retain staff in 2023? Hold on to your good ones and cherry-pick and train the best ones that other, less strategic organisations have let go.”
Peta Sigley, Co-Founder and Chief Knowledge Officer, Springfox
“The key to attracting and retaining staff in today’s workforce is promoting a sense of purpose amongst employees. Purpose is the currency of the new workforce. Employees are no longer satisfied with office ping-pong tables, gym memberships or even attractive salaries. Increasingly, workers and job seekers are looking for roles that provide a sense of meaning and fulfilment, allowing them not just work-life balance, but the harmonious integration of both work and life.
“Investing in your people – which means prioritising flexibility, well-being, and personal and professional growth – is critical to promoting purpose and fulfilment. Organisations benefit from higher levels of engagement and performance when staff are supported, cared for, and valued.
“Leaders must seek to understand how staff know they matter. It’s clear to each of us when we don’t matter – e.g., when we’re spoken over, when our ideas are disregarded. Taking time to find out what matters to each team member will be well rewarded by staff knowing they’re valued.
“This includes prioritising employees’ professional development and setting KPIs around wellbeing as part of an organisation’s success metrics. When staff feel supported and valued as individuals, they are more likely to feel a sense of purpose and engagement in their work, and are therefore less likely to be enticed by shiny opportunities.”
Nic Brill, Chief Executive Officer, Poolwerx
“Poolwerx’ key objectives in attracting new staff and retaining current team members include maximising diversity and inclusion in the workplace, driving sustainability initiatives, utilising employee feedback as a key means to evolve and grow, continuing to support a positive hybrid work culture, balancing connectivity and flexibility and overcoming business challenges through technology and innovation. For example, the purposeful open lines between Business Development Managers and franchise partners provide a space for ideas to be brainstormed beyond the corporate office team.
“Poolwerx relies on internal knowledge sharing and has set up business-wide workshops for franchise partners to share their insights with peers, and for staff to align and contribute to the business strategy. These meetings have become invaluable and are a crucial touchpoint for ensuring the business works collaboratively with clear and open communication channels.”
Trent Innes, CEO, Compono
“Engaging and retaining staff is closely related to how you hire. Hiring well will significantly lower turnover rates. So how do you hire well? Hire for attitude and values- NOT for skills and knowledge.
“Skills and knowledge can be taught and learned, but a person’s work personality, personal values and attitude are inherent to them. How well they match your organisation will depend on what type of team they’re joining. Understanding the culture of the existing team will help you better understand who to hire, and therefore help retention rates dramatically.
“Once you’ve hired the right person, continually investing in their learning and development will drive employee satisfaction, engagement and retention, as well as increase team dynamics, business performance and customer satisfaction.
“Over the past few decades there has been an incredible uptake in organisations having dedicated functions to people and culture, and workforce development. Similarly, because of the increased focus on culture, the use of psychometrics in hiring to find the right candidate fit has increased significantly. Ultimately, by implementing tools which enable companies to understand their current workforce and work culture better, employers will gain insights into how to better engage and retain employees. Tools like Compono Hire bring real, actionable, and usable insights to small businesses that care about who they hire but don’t have big budgets to play with.”
Ben Kearney, CEO, Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA)
“Pandemic recovery, lower migration rates, and rising employment are staffing challenges exacerbated by lack of training and flexibility, diminishing loyalty and static wages. It’s not all dire. Train, support and value the team you have. Then make a strategic recruitment plan.
“Aim to attract exactly who you need. Consider the core traits, and the best platform on which to find them. Write position descriptions with clear requirements and conditions. Consider diverse workforces, older workers, people with disabilities, and other overlooked valuable potential staff. Flexibility is crucial. Establish shifts and workloads that can be filled with flexible/hybrid work hours where appropriate.
“Explore training resources to upskill and empower your team and build a culture of ongoing learning. Building up skills and engagement with staff enriches their work and supports your business bottom line with a more skilled and efficient team.
“Retain your team by valuing it – your greatest asset. Recognise circumstances and acknowledge personal milestones – graduations, family events etc. Formal recognition of staff with awards or financial incentives boosts morale and helps foster loyalty and excellence. Showing that you care about your team (beyond just saying it) reaps dividends in loyalty, retention, and better performance for your business.”
Rebecca Moulynox, head of human resources, ANZ/SEA, UKG
“Facing pressure to control costs in a tight economic environment as well as a significant skills shortage, Australian businesses should look beyond exact skills and experience and hire for ability to perform in the role. Organisations need to rethink outdated assumptions around qualifications. It’s also crucial that businesses invest in making roles more accessible to all applicants, with a particular focus on diverse candidates.
“Business leaders must change the narrative around what training is. Internal experiences such as shadowing, project work, and mentoring are valuable training opportunities that can be offered to employees at little cost. Upskilling staff members can also help organisations backfill more technical roles, leaving the more junior and easier-to-fill roles open.
“Businesses can also attract and retain great talent by becoming an employer of choice. Organisations should look to create a truly inclusive culture that nurtures employees and offers valuable initiatives. By deploying an innovative workforce management (WFM) solution, businesses can elevate the employee experience, helping to keep future and current workers engaged and motivated through facilitating accurate rostering, self-service, and flexibility.”
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