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The talent battle: Winning strategies to attract and keep top employees

In this week’s Let’s Talk, we’re delving into the important topic of talent retention.

As the global job market evolves, businesses grapple with the ongoing challenge of keeping top talent. Holding onto skilled professionals is crucial for growth and innovation.

Our experts will explore strategies and insights to attract and retain the best employees, creating a workplace they never want to leave. From recruitment competition to evolving workforce expectations, talent retention is the linchpin of success.

Let’s explore the keys to building a workforce that stays and thrives.

Let’s Talk.

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Sarah Ettershank, Director of People & Talent at Airwallex

Sarah Ettershank
Sarah Ettershank, Director of People & Talent at Airwallex

“In today’s fiercely competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent goes beyond offering competitive salaries.

“We know the talent we want is seeking exponential growth, alignment with the company’s product, mission and values, opportunities for skill diversification, and, of course, a competitive compensation package.

“For those seeking an ambitious and global-reaching career, there’s never been a better time to work in the Australian market, particularly in tech. Our homegrown skilled workers don’t need to move overseas anymore like previous generations. Here in Australia at Airwallex for example, we’re actively hiring around 90 roles across our product, engineering and design teams, as well as our commercial team.

“The start-up and hypergrowth model is also especially attractive because employees not only get to live the culture of the business you’re building, but they also have the opportunity to participate in the upside success through the likes of Employee Share Option Plans (ESOP) and Restricted Share Schemes (RSU).

“To secure top talent in this competitive market, companies should look to not only offer competitive pay but also craft a career trajectory that aligns with employees’ values and aspirations, fosters skill growth, and empowers them to make significant contributions to the organisation’s achievements.”

Rachael Britton, Director of Human Resources at McCabes Lawyers

Rachael Britton
Rachael Britton, Director of Human Resources at McCabes Lawyers

“Over the last few years, I have successfully led the HR team at McCabes Lawyers on a “War for Talent” in a competitive job market.

“The approach I’ve taken to this war parallels what Sun Tzu said in the oft quoted “The Art of War”. “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”.

“So, at McCabes our talent management strategy focusses on preparation by doing things like investing in a variety of people engagement and learning initiatives. Maintaining a strong emphasis on enhancing the overall employee experience, creating a positive and inclusive culture, and offering a multitude of learning and development programs.

“Today’s legal talent pool is knowledge hungry, and we meet their demands!

“Investing in our employees’ professional skills and growth has attracted top talent to McCabes and the retention of high performing people.”

Caroline Henshaw, Head of People & Culture at Mantel Group

Caroline Henshaw, Head of People & Culture at Mantel Group

“We truly believe that our people are our greatest asset, and we take extensive measures to provide an environment where everyone can be their best. We have developed a hybrid approach to remote working where employees can access one of our excellent hubs for collaborative work across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Magnetic Island, Auckland, Queenstown, and Hobart. This means potential employees to choose a work model that suits them best.

“We have also introduced a career coach to help retain existing employees. We are in a really fortunate position to be able to offer learning and development opportunities across nine different brands spanning across digital, data, cloud and cyber security. Our career coach increases visibility of all these opportunities so our employees have greater control over their career journeys and can explore different avenues at Mantel Group as opposed to starting from scratch somewhere else.”

Rob Allen, VP Talent and Engagement at GitLab

Rob Allen
Rob Allen, VP Talent and Engagement at GitLab

“GitLab is one of the world’s largest all-remote companies with 2,100 team members in more than 60 countries. We have always believed in nurturing an all-remote work environment because it plays a critical role in finding and keeping the right talent to fuel business success.

“Remote enables a more diverse and inclusive workforce, greater efficiency in workflows, and broader global coverage in servicing clients. It also significantly de-risks a business, making it more resilient in the face of crises and able to maintain continuity regardless of whether an office is open or closed.

“Remote work is attractive to prospective employees primarily because it allows greater flexibility in daily life and frees up valuable time otherwise spent commuting. It allows room for those other things that are critical for good health and overall well-being – whether it be fitness, family time, or cultural immersion in a different country. This increased flexibility helps improve employee engagement.

“We are proud to have perfected what remote work means for GitLab. By offering asynchronous options and driving tried and tested best practices, we offer an unparalleled inclusive experience for our team members, regardless of their location or timezone.”

Geraldine Nankeris, Head of People & Culture at Zepto

Geraldine Nankeris
Geraldine Nankeris, Head of People & Culture at Zepto

“Employees are continuing to advocate for varied work preferences; some want to continue flexible arrangements allowing work from home (especially parents) whilst others want to re-immerse in offices for human connection. Simultaneously, great talent want to work with great people who can lift them up and grow their careers. As such, the current talent landscape demands businesses cater to these evolving needs and preferences.

“At Zepto, we’re cognisant of this and strive to offer the best of both worlds in the flexible working era. While we’re remote-first, we also have a dedicated office space for employees—and we’ve even seen a trend where people want to come into the office more.

“However, culture isn’t constrained to a place of business—it extends to things like company values and the opportunity to do challenging (and fulfilling) work. At Zepto, we provide employees equal opportunity to grow alongside the business through our Employee Share Option Plan—which is just one example of how businesses can be catering to current and prospective employees’ career goals.

“Ultimately, attracting and retaining top talent requires a business to be on the same page as their employees. Those who take the time to truly understand what the talent market demands will come out on top.”

Beni Sia, APJ Lead at Veeam

Beni Sia
Beni Sia, APJ Lead at Veeam

“Retaining tech talent is a strategic imperative: our success lies in having happy, engaged employees. To do this effectively, we need to create an environment that both nurtures professional growth and sustains job satisfaction.

“At Veeam, we empower our team with opportunities for professional development, offering access to conferences, online courses, and mentorship programs. Embracing flexible work arrangements, we acknowledge the importance of work-life balance and trust our team to excel, whether in the office or working remotely.

“Caring for employees means creating an open-door policy and giving a safe space to talk. Open communication, for example, is embedded in our culture, ensuring that their voices are heard, and their feedback acted upon. By embracing these strategies, we believe that we will continue to innovate, push boundaries, disrupt industries, and shape the world of tomorrow.”

Jonathan Perumal, Country Manager, ANZ, at Safeguard Global

Jonathan Perumal, Country Manager, ANZ, at Safeguard Global

“Australian businesses are operating in a historically tight local labour market where skilled talent is in high demand. One way to overcome this challenge is to think beyond geographical boundaries and embrace international hiring, keeping the desires of employees front of mind in this process.

“Flexible workplaces that offer employees the option to work how, when, and where best suits them are more desirable for many potential or current employees, whether they are based locally or overseas, than those constrained to the office from 9-5. Flexible working policies also open businesses up to a global talent pool, giving them the ability to build diverse teams with great experience and innovative ideas.

“According to 74 percent of respondents to Safeguard Global’s recent survey on what different generations want from their workplace, having the opportunity to work on a global team would entice them to join another company.

“These findings, coupled with the fact that a third of Australian businesses are having difficulty finding suitable staff, according to the ABS’ latest Business Conditions and Sentiments report, demonstrate that businesses should consider expanding beyond national borders and introduce a Work In Any Way approach to attract new staff and retain their top talent.”

Sharon Melamed, Managing Director at Matchboard

Sharon Melamed
Sharon Melamed, Managing Director at Matchboard

“You can follow every best practice tip for attracting top talent and still not find someone – often it’s a case of the salary you believe is commensurate with the role does not appeal to anyone locally in a tight labour market. In this situation, I suggest having an open mind about the fact that there’s a global workforce out there who, just like other members of your team, work remotely. At Matchboard, we help clients find resources ranging from IT developers to accounting and customer service staff, in countries such as Fiji, South Africa, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and India. These countries not only have a skilled, available workforce, but the package required to engage them is significantly less than in Australia. Offshoring can be daunting the first time round, but I am happy to provide a free advisory service to set my clients up for success.

“Whether your team is inhouse onshore or outsourced offshore, there are various techniques you can use to ensure high retention: from providing a fun environment for employees, to living the values that a young demographic cares about, such as caring for the environment and those less fortunate.”

Wai Kit Cheah, senior director of APAC Products and Practices at Lumen Technologies

The talent battle: Winning strategies to attract and keep top employees

A new Tech Council report stated 75% of tech jobs require more than three years of experience compared to just 58% on average for other professionals. While formal education, certifications and experiences are good yardsticks, recruiting tech talent must extend beyond these traditional qualifications. This is especially true with more dynamic roles that are constantly evolving, such as cybersecurity and AI. To attract and retain such talents, businesses must be committed to providing a platform with opportunity for such talents to have the freedom to learn, to experiment, to develop their capabilities not just in their domain but with soft skills too, while keeping them motivated and guiding them in charting their career path in the organisation. Businesses should provide accessible career development options, even for those who haven’t followed the conventional paths associated with IT or cybersecurity, and can learn from their peers and coworkers.

Lisl Pietersz, Communication and Transition Coach at University of Sydney

Lisl Pietersz, Communication and Transition Coach at University of Sydney

“If you want to attract and retain the right people, your organisation must make it a priority. Here are my top tips to include in your business strategy:

  • Communicate a strong employee value proposition (EVP). The first step is to define and communicate the value your organisation offers its employees. This enables job seekers and employees to see if they are suited to what you offer and the benefits they will receive. Always undertake research to create your EVP which is as simple as asking your employees what they find special about your organisation, and why they stay.
  • Deliver an exceptional employee experience. Ensure you offer employees the right tools and technology to work and collaborate. Above all, build an emotional connection with them as this creates a positive working environment and contributes to their engagement. As a leader, facilitate organisational communication that is clear, open, and transparent.
  • Offer great benefits and rewards. Organisations have a clear advantage when they offer unique benefits and rewards. These can include, for example, professional coaching, ongoing training, continuing education, stock options, and greater flexibility in where and how employees work.
  • Build and promote your reputation. Showcase your organisation as a great place to work. A key hack is encouraging employees to share their workplace experiences on their own social media channels. In time, you can add marketing and communications activities to enhance your reputation.

“By implementing these tips, you will attract top talent, retain your best employees, and ultimately drive better business outcomes. As with other organisational priorities, make sure you measure your results so you can understand how your offering stacks up.”

Renata Bastalic, General Manager – People and Culture at Tecala

Renata Bastalic–Tecala
Renata Bastalic, General Manager – People and Culture at Tecala

“Organisations can position their businesses as an employer of choice in several ways including working towards achieving a Great Places to Work certificate, showcasing their amazing culture through social media and having a very active employee referral program. We have all of these key ingredients at Tecala complemented by competitive salaries and benefits. In addition, we showcase our Employee Value Proposition within our jobs adverts when talking to prospective candidates.

“Businesses can retain their people by focusing on ensuring their experiences in the organisation are the best they can be.  Measure employee engagement levels frequently, solicit feedback to improve how things are working for each individual and actively take on feedback and work across the business to bring about enhancements that will benefit the team.

“Our rewards program is one of the initiatives implemented to ensure people feel recognised for their contributions at work and during key life moments. Peers and leaders can recognise colleagues across the business. We understand the individual preferences our people have when it comes to be recognised and rewarded so that at the times it occurs, it’s conducted in a way that is individualised.

“Moreover, our Tecala Learning Academy provides employees with visibility of career options within the business and the skills and qualifications needed for future roles.”

Damien Sheehan, Country Head of Australia, IWG

Damien Sheehan
Damien Sheehan, Country Head of Australia, IWG

“Record low unemployment means employers need to carefully consider the needs of employees who have not only adopted hybrid working practices but celebrate it. Post Covid we’ve seen increased adoption of flexible workplace policies, advancements in corporate well-being offerings, and organisations reducing their office foot-print for flexspaces and co-working memberships and shorter term office leases. Today, Australians value flexible work more than ever and look carefully at a businesses’ hybrid workplace policy before joining. In recent research we conducted, 88% of respondents said hybrid working was a key benefit they would expect in any new role.

“Businesses have a lot to gain from hybrid work models, in which employees can split their time between the company’s main office, a local flexible workspace, and their homes. Hybrid and flexible work arrangements contribute to increased productivity and a better work-life balance. Companies can also benefit from higher cost savings in addition to sustainability wins.

“In a highly competitive and uncertain economic environment, the attraction, recruitment, and retention of top talent has become more challenging than ever. Though there is no one-size-fits all approach to hybrid work, business leaders need to consider the productivity and employee retention benefits of empowering their teams to work locally.”

Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

Elise Balsillie
Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

“With Australia facing continued talent shortages, businesses must prioritise nurturing and retaining their people.

“You need strong talent to stay competitive, particularly in the pursuit of customer excellence. Empowering your people helps ensure your business delivers the best experience and service to customers.

“When it comes to beating out competitors, nothing speaks more volume than a robust customer experience model. Your frontline staff are your main source of positive customer experiences; making sure they’re valued will mean you’re making sure your customers are as well.

“Programs such as reward and recognition, education and training, and flexible working are all great employee value propositions. Just like with positive word-of-mouth, good employee programs go a long way to attracting, nurturing and retaining talent – and customers prefer working with business that treat their employees well.”

John McCloskey, Managing Director, ANZ at Lenovo ISG

John McCloskey
John McCloskey, Managing Director, ANZ at Lenovo ISG

“As a ‘Great Place To Work’ certified organization, we’ve made it our mission to create an environment where individuals are not just employees but valued contributors to our collective success. In today’s fiercely competitive and ever-evolving market, it is important to keep your top talent motivated and committed. This requires listening to their needs and fostering a positive and inclusive work environment.

“We do this through ‘Lenovo Listens’, an employee engagement assessment that provides valuable insights into our employees’ perception and serves as a vital measure of their pride, motivation, and commitment. This gives us an opportunity to enable skill development and career advancement through an open-door communication which is a win-win for us.

“Additionally, the workforce should see value in the business, its innovation and growth roadmap which is a cornerstone in our efforts to attract and retain top-tier talent. We are dedicated to achieving our vison of net zero carbon emission by 2050 and are actively working towards a sustainable future. In essence, the secret to attracting and retaining top talent lies in creating an environment where innovation flourishes, and every individual has the opportunity to thrive. We’re committed to this vision, and we’re excited to see it unfold.”

Dawn Adams, Founder/ Imagination Coach at Imagination Session

Dawn Adams
Dawn Adams, Founder/ Imagination Coach at Imagination Session

“To attract and retain the leading candidates in your field, consider what you can offer to become their employer of choice. Incentives could include programs designed to build a sense of belonging and community as well as provide an educational opportunity to advance their leadership skills.

“In the experiential sessions I run on imagination, attendees tap into more than 10 professional skills linked to imagination such as decision making and critical thinking as well as ‘seeing’ multiple perspectives for complex problem solving and future planning.

“Through a teambuilding Imagination Session®, capabilities such as collaboration, negotiation and communication are put into practice and developed. Crucially, imagination is a first step on a pathway to innovation; it’s where all ideas are generated. In fact, research has shown that an imagination focus in business can lead to better outcomes.

“For a new employee, an Imagination Session® is an opportunity to forge connections with colleagues and adjust to a new workplace setting. For those already embedded in the business, these sessions remind professional skills can be gained through imaginative exercises that encourage laughter and a sense of belonging while rekindling hope, joy and optimism, all traits linked to imagination.”

Megan Luttrell, Director & Founder at Kairos Recruitment

Megan Luttrell
Megan Luttrell, Director & Founder at Kairos Recruitment

“Attracting and retaining top talent is a critical aspect of building a strong workforce in any company, regardless of its size or industry. Your team is your most valuable asset, and it is of my belief that in any reasonable sized company, the hiring priority should be to look for individuals who not only possess the necessary skills but also align with your company’s culture and values. Culture fit is essential as it fosters a cohesive and motivated team.

“Attraction specifically starts with your Employer Value Proposition and companies even on the leanest budgets can make a name for themselves in this space. Ideas for your own EVP (or benefits to the employee) could include: flexibility, hybridity, additional PTO, regular lunches & gatherings to build culture, and financial incentives. Flexibility also enables diversity in hiring by removing barriers in the workforce which in turn provides the business with a variety of perspectives, fostering innovation and broadening your company’s reach in the market.

“To retain talent, prioritise a strong onboarding process, competitive pay, a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP), clear growth pathways, a culture of listening to employees, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Establish two-way feedback processes and conduct exit interviews to continually improve your team’s experience.”

Sarah Mulvenna, Group Director – Revenue at Xref

Sarah Mulvenna
Sarah Mulvenna, Group Director – Revenue at Xref

“To attract and retain talent in a competitive job market, hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals must understand the needs and drivers of existing and future employees.

“Employee engagement surveys for current employees are fantastic tools to gain feedback from your existing talent about your organisation.

“After implementing initiatives to address employee feedback, future pulse surveys can help drill into the details. By consistently measuring ‘metrics that matter’, and benchmarking your results over time, your organisation gains a picture of progress and improvements.

“Giving your current employees a voice is a great tool for hiring. Firstly, if you understand what parts of your organisation are attractive to your talent, you can use these in your hiring strategy. Secondly, talent who share positive insights can be advocates for your organisation.

“Giving new talent a say via onboarding surveys is another strategy to not only retain new employees but also to learn what attracts people to your organisation. New employees come with fresh eyes and can give feedback on your hiring process, onboarding, early training and more.

“Employees appreciate being asked what’s important to them. The secret to attracting and retaining talent is to listen and take action where you can.”

Shannon Karaka, Head of Expansion ANZ at Deel

Shannon Karaka
Shannon Karaka, Head of Expansion ANZ at Deel

“Employees and job seekers continue to have the upper hand in Australia’s tightening job market, with the ABS revealing September’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 per cent. For businesses, this means offering more non-traditional benefits for talent, with global hiring and employee mobility emerging as key trends driving attraction and retention.

“In fact, Deel’s State of Global Hiring Report found that Australia leads APAC for fastest growth by organisations’ rate of hiring and number of organisations hiring internationally. Some 40% of research respondents indicated that their businesses already have mobility plans in place, while 16% said they had such a plan currently being developed or rolled out.

“The benefits of such an approach are clear — access to a global talent pool allows businesses to find the right talent no matter where it is based, and provides the flexibility to expand into strategic markets and the ability to offer employees the opportunity to work where they want.”

Paul Broughton, Head of APJ at Cornerstone OnDemand

Paul Broughton
Paul Broughton, Head of APJ at Cornerstone OnDemand

“Attracting and retaining top talent in a competitive job market requires identifying the key triggers for employees leaving or staying at a company.

“Research has shown that development opportunities are a key driver in retaining top talent. Cornerstone’s recently released 2023 Talent Health Index Report found organisations that commit to building their employees’ skills are better equipped to overcome future business challenges and keep their talent engaged. Despite a continued worldwide focus on upskilling and reskilling employees in recent years, the Talent Health Index revealed employers and employees are still misaligned around skills-building confidence. Globally, 88% of employers feel confident they can build the skills of their employees, while only 59% of employees feel the same. In Australia and New Zealand, the confidence gap was lower with 89% of employers confident they can build the skills of their employees vs. 67% of employees feeling the same.

“Invest in employee development and training programs to boost retention. Here, Talent Experience Platforms (TXPs) can play a significant role by providing tools to empower employees to choose their own career pathways, fostering a sense of autonomy and professional growth.

“Investing in your employee’s development helps build an appealing Employee Value Proposition and assists companies to position themselves as preferred employers in a competitive market.”

David Price, Group CEO ANZ at Employsure

David Price
David Price, Group CEO ANZ at Employsure

“Attracting and retaining top talent is an ongoing challenge for businesses striving for success in a competitive market. By implementing strategies that foster collaboration, innovation, and growth, companies can be a magnet for top talent.

Competitive remuneration and benefits are essential for attracting and retaining top talent. To avoid losing talent to rival businesses, companies must ensure that their remuneration packages are attractive and align with industry standards.

Strong company culture is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. A culture that is inclusive, supportive and diverse fosters employee satisfaction and loyalty, which leads to new talent and aids with retaining current employees.

Investing in professional development is crucial to retaining top talent. Employees are likely to stay with a company that provides them with opportunities to grow and develop, such as training, mentorship, and a clear career path.

“Finally, top talent is increasingly drawn to companies that offer a healthy work-life balance. By adapting to the changing work landscape and prioritising employee well-being, organisations can significantly enhance their ability to attract and retain the best professionals.”

Lauren Karan, Founder and Managing Director at Karan & Co

Lauren Karan
Lauren Karan, Founder and Managing Director at Karan & Co

“As the driving force behind an exceptional team, and a passionate HR specialist, I’ve crafted a distinctive strategy for attracting and retaining top talent in a competitive market for Karan & Co. Our thriving culture is built on unwavering support, collaboration, and shared values. Our strength lies in unity – we’re more than colleagues; we’re a close-knit family. Notably, 80% of us are accomplished mothers who embrace the flexibility we provide. This dynamic doesn’t hinder collaboration; it fuels our innovation.

“In today’s landscape, businesses should reshape their hiring strategies, focusing on adaptability and results-driven management.

“For smaller enterprises, honing two essential strategies becomes paramount. Firstly, the meticulous definition of roles in alignment with the shifting market landscape is crucial. This involves recognizing the vital skills that drive success, ensuring well-informed hiring decisions that mutually benefit your business and workforce. Secondly, the agility intrinsic to smaller businesses can be leveraged to forge deep connections with potential candidates. This engagement, commencing even before onboarding, harmonises values and ethos, creating a seamless integration process that fosters retention. Additionally, a successful journey underscores unity, adaptability, and values as cornerstones. By integrating these principles into your recruitment, you’re not just attracting talent; you’re nurturing ongoing success.”

Con Kittos, Executive Chairman at Asuria

Con Kittos
Con Kittos, Executive Chairman at Asuria

“Firstly, attracting and holding onto the best talent for your business shouldn’t be something to revert to in tight labour markets; it should be the hallmark of how every business sets itself up for success.

“Business owners need to think about creating a strong employer brand that showcases their commitment to nurturing and developing talent, fostering a positive work culture, and offering opportunities for growth.

“Something Asuria is passionate about is matching businesses with talent based on each individual’s unique abilities, attitudes, and potential. To do that, we invest in modern recruitment technologies to enhance our sourcing and selection processes, as well as recruiting and training hundreds of job coaches nationwide who share our values.

“When it comes to retaining talent, we advise businesses to prioritise continuous development and training by fostering a learning culture, including the creation of mentorship programs, and providing a clear path for career advancement.

“Furthermore, we encourage open communication, allowing staff to actively seek feedback and address any concerns promptly, in order to maintain a positive and engaging work environment.

“Providing staff with time to focus on completing training, even a small amount such as 2-3 hours a week, can also lead to incredible benefits for staff and employers alike.”

Laura Grierson
Laura Grierson, Director at Acacia Executive Search

“Competition for talent in Australia has not let up, even as hiring has slowed down. While less hiring typically means less power for workers, 64% of recruiters predict that the future will be more favourable to candidates and employees (as opposed to employers) over the next five years. The labour market remains tight, and talent is expected to retain the upper hand. Today’s top talent is armed with a wealth of information about prospective employers, gleaned from websites, social media, online articles and blogs, and personal and business contacts. The sum total of this knowledge creates employer branding – a company’s image and reputation as an employer – and it’s extremely influential in today’s fiercely competitive employment market. The Australian unemployment rate is historically low with more than 400,000 job vacancies. That’s why refining a compelling employer value proposition (EVP) is more important than ever. Your EVP is the unique value you offer as an employer to your employees in return for their skills, experience, and commitment to your company. To retain top talent, offer competitive salaries, have a strong reward and retention policy in place, create a culture employees want to be a part of and make employee development a priority.”

Rolf Howard, Managing Partner, Owen Hodge Lawyers

Rolf Howard, Managing Partner, Owen Hodge Lawyers

“In a tight labour market, becoming an employer of choice is no longer an option, but a necessity. Fostering a positive and engaged workplace culture is the best way to attract and retain top talent.

“This means becoming known for your great culture, competitive pay, flexibility, benefits, and wellbeing initiatives, as well as fostering a respectful and supportive work environment where new ideas are encouraged and psychological safety is maintained.

“To be a genuine employer of choice, companies must put their words into action by enshrining these practices in company policy and/or employment contracts.

“Here are some key focus areas to create a positive and engaging workplace culture:

  • Define your company’s values and mission, and make sure they’re clear and communicated.
  • Encourage open communication and feedback, both up and down the chain of command.
  • Recognise and reward employees for their contributions.
  • Provide opportunities for professional development and growth.
  • Create a work-life balance that supports employees’ wellbeing.
  • Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“By investing in a positive and engaging workplace culture, employers can attract and retain the best talent, even in a competitive labour market.”

Pete Murray, Managing Director ANZ at Veritas Technologies

Pete Murray
Pete Murray, Managing Director ANZ at Veritas Technologies

“For Veritas, when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, commitment to the business’ culture and our people’s growth has been key.

“When it comes to attracting, new talent will always want opportunities that pique curiosity and creativity. We try to make our employee value proposition unique and stand out for potential candidates – whether it’s the extra week of paid leave we provide to employees to engage in community service, or flexi personal exercise fund on offer each year to support work-life balance.

“Retaining talent is as important as attracting talent, if not more. Our approach has been to ensure every employee has a tailored roadmap to succeed in Veritas, such as through development plans. These identify opportunities for learning and growth, while ensuring both manager and employees can be transparent about what they need at work.

“I firmly believe that the culture of where you work is the foundation for a great business. People who are inspired about where they work – not just what they do – will stay longer, deliver more, and are prouder of the brand they represent. That’s why at Veritas we continue to prize our people-first approach, ensuring we’re always anticipating and meeting the needs of current and potential employees.”

Kade Brown, Workforce Solutions Director at RMIT Online

Kade Brown
Kade Brown, Workforce Solutions Director at RMIT Online

“Recent years have seen significant changes in the job market. We are in the middle of a huge digital transformation and facing a tough macroeconomic environment which is completely reshaping the working landscape.

“While some suggest these market shifts are waning, recent RMIT Online research indicates employees are still actively considering their career options. The reality is, the future of work is evolving rapidly, and if businesses want to adapt and nurture a competitive workforce, they must go head-on into the next era of work. This means rethinking their tactics and having the right attitude in the hiring process.

“While remuneration may be one of the main reasons for choosing a job, it isn’t the primary motivator, and it is entirely possible to sow the seeds for a more resilient team, irrespective of economic conditions. Businesses must show their desire to help potential hires reach their goals, looking at new – and current – talent with the bigger picture in mind.

“The ‘Reskilling Revolution’ is the next chapter of workforce evolution. Businesses must meet their workers’ desire to develop their careers, and reimagine how they approach ‘traditional’ jobs. The most forward-thinking companies are the ones built through a skills-based lens. This won’t just help the employee garner more fulfilment from developing and advancing their knowledge, but it also helps businesses evolve with the demands of the economy. Workers’ are looking for employers who will act like a true partner on their career journey, and provide them with multiple career paths within the one organisation, supporting them with high quality upskilling and re-skilling initiatives.”

Caitlin Zotti, Co-CEO at Pin Payments

Caitlin Zotti
Caitlin Zotti, Co-CEO at Pin Payments

“Increased financial pressures, long work hours, and rising costs of living has created a perfect storm for Australians recently. However, the post-pandemic era of changed working conditions has shifted again. Many employers have mandated a return to the office full time and recent studies have revealed Aussies are working longer hours than ever before. So, where does that leave the hiring market? Economics and politics play a significant role in shaping the psyche of employees, and as an employer you need to be aware of that in order to adjust your HR practices.

“With that in mind, mental health and wellbeing has become an essential pillar of work and employers have a responsibility to ensure their staff are not only safe, but healthy and well. Showcasing a positive company culture will help you attract talent who are looking for a long-term career, not a stop gap job. Likewise, while many have returned to the office, most employees still expect a degree of flexibility, even if it’s a day or two a week from home. Long term retention of staff requires genuine investment on the part of the business, to ensure that your staff have the right tools to succeed and are provided opportunities to grow. Holistically considering the happiness, development and wellbeing of your employees will result in a workplace which is more productive and content.”

Andrew Rossington, Chief Product Officer at Teletrac Navman

Andrew Rossington
Andrew Rossington, Chief Product Officer at Teletrac Navman

“Ensuring fleet safety is paramount for businesses relying on commercial drivers for the delivery of goods and services. By cultivating a safety culture, employees feel valued, supported, and secure promoting effective collaboration and mutual support. Building a culture of safety starts with the creation of a commercial driver safety program promoting safe driving practices.

“Clear communication of measurable and achievable goals is essential to ensure everyone understands the program and its benefits. Creating meaningful incentives that motivate drivers to practice safe driving habits and improve their performance is also important.

“Driver scorecards that monitor and measure driver performance using telematics data can help identify high-performing and underperforming drivers, while real-time scoring and benchmarking for drivers allows them to compare their performance against peers.

“Finally, it’s vital to continuously monitor the success of the rewards program and the impact on safety metrics, including accident rates and driver turnover. This fosters healthy competition and improvement.

“By combining safety-focused initiatives with meaningful rewards, clear communication, and effective technology utilisation, businesses can create a safer and more engaging work culture that enhances employee satisfaction and boosts fleet safety.”

Mollie Eckersley, Operations Manager, ANZ at BrightHR

Mollie Eckersley
Mollie Eckersley, Operations Manager, ANZ at BrightHR

“In today’s job market, Australian employers are setting their sights on retention. Not only is it more cost-effective to retain staff but, with the current talent shortages, it can be tough to find the right people to fill those roles if they ever become vacant.

“The best people management processes are built to achieve this from the first interaction with applicants to the entirety of an employee’s time in your company. So, it starts with simple things, like making sure your recruitment process is streamlined because dragged-out processes leave room for your best candidates to slip through the cracks. Then once you have top talent on your team, you need to keep motivating them with perks, recognising their work, and investing in their skill development with continuous training.

“At BrightHR, we strive to recognise these needs and find proactive solutions for them. Whether that’s with our user-friendly Turbo Talent Navigator for faster recruitment and our online marketplace BrightExchange that gives employees access to cash-saving discounts and perks, or Praise that gamifies employee recognition and the powerful Learning Management System of BrightLearn that saved our clients $12.6 million in training costs. People management needs to operate end to end.”

Tony Maguire, Regional Director, ANZ at D2L

Tony Maguire
Tony Maguire, Regional Director, ANZ at D2L

“In the quest to attract and retain top talent in a fiercely competitive job market, organisations are taking a multifaceted approach that extends beyond the conventional benefits of salary packages.  Companies are going the extra mile to secure and keep talent by adopting a more holistic approach to employee wellbeing through innovative practices like compressed work weeks or opportunities to upskill or earn credentials as part of their role.

“Organisations looking to offer career-aligned programs as an employee benefit tend to facilitate this by investing in Learning Management Systems (LMS). Tailored learning paths available through an intuitive and modern LMS not only build workforce skills but showcase an employee’s development and commitment over time. While consistency, familiarity and accessibility are critical enablers in employee development programs, fit-for-purpose LMS’s can slash admin overheads by monitoring completion rates and formal recognition certification issuance. In fact, LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report revealed that nearly 94 per cent of employees are more likely to stay longer in organisations that invest in enhancing and recognising their skills.

“While material perks hold their value in attracting some employees, offering new talent an environment that fosters learning and development should not be overlooked. In the competitive job market, investing in employee growth and engagement emerges as the ultimate differentiator, establishing organisations as magnets for top talent and preferred employers of choice.”

Kylie Terrell, Director of Consultancy ANZ at Reward Gateway

Kylie Terrell
Kylie Terrell, Director of Consultancy ANZ at Reward Gateway

“As the competition to attract top talent continues, employers and HR teams must consider the rising cost of living pressures. Top talents are not only looking for employers that offer attractive remuneration packages, but also benefits programs that address the needs of their families and household. Employers must review their total rewards strategy and develop a complete compensation and reward offering to provide a compelling and holistic offer to aid employees financially and offset certain costs, be it rewards or discounts.

“But most importantly, organisations must cultivate a feeling of belonging at work among employees in order to retain their talent. Our research found that 56 per cent of Australian employees’ value a sense of belonging at work but only 34 per cent feel this way at work.

“A key foundational element of any engagement strategy is workspace to ensure employees are supported and have spaces for suitable collaboration and building social connections, regardless of how and where they work. A virtual or digital engagement platform provides transparency in communication as it creates an internal newsfeed, enabling employees to have visibility over key business decisions, individual and team wins/achievements. During change, frequent communication ensures informed, reassured, and decisive employees.”

Jas Singh, Managing Director at SKL Executive

Jas Singh
Jas Singh, Managing Director at SKL Executive

“In a competitive job market, it is more vital than ever to invest time and energy into your talent. This means making the effort to find out how they are, understanding the sort of work they enjoy doing, as well as taking interest in their growth aspirations. Spend quality professional time coaching them not only on technical training, but on soft skills and navigating the organisation as well. Remuneration plays an important part – especially over the last few years where we have seen a lot of people chasing pay rises due to inflationary pressures – but it is definitely not the be all and end all. In short, show genuine interest in their development and you will go a long way in attracting and retaining top talent.”

Natalie Mendes, VP – Growth Marketing at IDVerse

Natalie Mendes
Natalie Mendes, VP – Growth Marketing at IDVerse

“In recent years since our launch, IDVerse has experienced exponential growth not just in Australia but in markets around the world. In order to effectively cater to this demand, IDVerse has needed to expand in various areas, ensuring we are equipping departments with the tenacious, knowledgeable talent that will assist in bringing IDVerse goals to fruition. However, the tech industry has been an incredibly competitive market in which top talent is often snapped up at a rapid pace.

“It is important for our leadership team to be involved in the recruitment process. Whether it is for a senior hire or a junior candidate, we want to be sure that their values are aligned with us as an organisation and, more importantly, to be there and assess for ourselves. Having an aligned set of values will also help retain the talent that we hire – we want our people to want to be here.”

Adam Pay, Managing Director at mycar

Adam Pay
Adam Pay, Managing Director at mycar

“When it comes to standing out in a crowded and competitive job market, too often businesses are focused on trying to attract talent and then forget about the employee experience beyond onboarding. It’s not just about attracting the best talent, it’s about creating a place that people want to stay and thrive in.

“At mycar, we’re People First, and we believe that feeling valued in the workplace, having a sense of belonging, and creating room for opportunity and growth is what makes people want to stay.

“For us, a great workplace culture is one that:

  • Nurtures the natural curiosity and ambition of team members with growth opportunities tailored to them. As Australia’s largest employer of apprentices, we know firsthand that employees have the potential to grow through the business, all the way up to managing director, so we help them do it!
  • Ensures every team member feels personally valued, and that their job is rewarding. Our unique focus on delivering great customer service allows win-win outcomes for everyone involved.
  • Actively listens and offers opportunities for team feedback to help identify pressure points. This culture of transparency allows forward-thinking and can help address needs long before they become problems!”

Stewart Cameron, Managing Partner at Hicksons Lawyers

Stewart Cameron
Stewart Cameron, Managing Partner at Hicksons Lawyers

“We acknowledge the legal profession and many employers, are in a well-entrenched war for talent. At Hicksons, we have a people first philosophy.

“Below are seven ways in which we believe is the best way to attract and retain talent:

  1. Promoting a positive business culture, including being highly collaborative, inclusive, friendly and regularly recognising achievements.
  2. Communicating the opportunity to work on interesting and meaningful matters, and provide a real impact within the legal industry.
  3. Supporting a strong employer brand, including through a clear firm identity and values, promoting a positive employee experience, and investing in the community (e.g. CSR, pro bono).
  4. Ensuring staff are supported through mentorship, professional development, and progression pathways aligned to their career goals.
  5. Offering competitive compensation and benefits that provide value, including flexible working arrangements, EAP / employee wellbeing support and other schemes (e.g. corporate discounts).
  6. Listening to staff, and utilising feedback to continually refine and improve the employer value proposition (EVP).
  7. Always living what we say, and walking the talk.”

Suzanne Murphy, Brand & Team Growth Strategist at Exhale Moments

Suzanne Murphy
Suzanne Murphy, Brand & Team Growth Strategist at Exhale Moments

“In a fiercely competitive job market, the solution for attracting and retaining top talent lies in your brand values and personalised professional development.

“When recruiting, it’s important to have a clear brand and culture strategy including values that candidates can resonate with. Demonstrating your purpose and values goes a long way to being an employer of choice but also having a training program in place will lead to attracting top talent. Crafting tailored professional development plans demonstrates a genuine commitment to a potential hires’ growth. It showcases your business as a place where aspirations are valued, making it a compelling choice for ambitious individuals seeking opportunities to succeed and thrive while adding value to the business.

“A customised professional development plan also plays a pivotal role in retaining top talent. It keeps employees engaged by offering continual opportunities for skill enhancement and learning, aligning their personal aspirations with the company’s vision. This commitment fosters a motivated, innovative, and loyal workforce.

“By investing in their growth and aligning their aspirations with your business mission, you not only secure exceptional talent but also cultivate a dedicated and high-performing workforce, to drive your company to a successful future.”

Jay Hira, Founder and Executive Director at MakeCyberSimple

Jay Hira
Jay Hira, Founder and Executive Director at MakeCyberSimple

“One of the most competitive job markets is that of cybersecurity. In Australia and New Zealand, ISACA’s 2023 State of Cybersecurity report indicates 65 percent of cybersecurity teams are understaffed. The global talent and skills shortage requires employers to develop enticing opportunities to attract cyber professionals, who are in high demand.

“While competitive salaries, growth opportunities and professional development are expected, the spotlight is increasingly on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) across sectors.

“For employers, DE&I is pivotal in opening a wider talent pool, attracting more professionals from under-represented groups, including gender, age, ethnicities, cultures, abilities, races and religions. A diverse team leads to new perspectives, problem-solving skills and innovative approaches, all valuable components in an effective team.

“For employees, there is recognition that organisations committed to practising inclusion have an innate sense of being welcoming, respectful and valuing of all voices. Staff can work in an environment where they feel comfortable and safe contributing ideas and ultimately have a sense of belonging.

Prioritising DE&I can be the differentiator to attract and retain top talent in your organisation.”

Bevan Guest, CEO at Novated Lease Australia

Bevan Guest
Bevan Guest, CEO at Novated Lease Australia

“As cliche as it sounds, the saying “people are your greatest asset” has never been more true than it is today. Employees are the foundation of any brand and play a central role in the success – or failure – of your business. To attract great talent, however, your workplace must be attractive in its own right. So how do you set yourself apart from the pack?

“To begin with, businesses must reflect the interests, values, and priorities of their ideal candidate. At Novated Lease Australia, we knew we wanted forward-thinking, eco-conscious employees, who also have the ability to implement their EV knowledge, so we implemented an electric vehicle incentive program that covers 30-40% of the cost of leasing a Tesla. When a job offers more than just a paycheck, it shows that your focus is on your team.

“In work-from-home era, forcing employees to come into the office every day is another quick way to cut your number of interested candidates in half. Offering a flexible environment that allows employees to prioritise work-life balance is crucial and, as research shows, is far more productive than in-office work.

“When it comes to attracting and retaining great employees, you reap what you sow. Create a culture that aligns with your desired team and the right candidates will follow.”

Thomas Fu, Executive Director at Motor Culture Australia

Thomas Fu
Thomas Fu, Executive Director at Motor Culture Australia

“In today’s competitive market, the importance of attracting and retaining loyal and dedicated talent cannot be overstated. The most important consideration we have when hiring isn’t necessarily qualifications or years’ experience, it’s passion. We’ve found when we hire for passion, our employees are happier and dedicate themselves to success. This method of hiring has resulted in a very low turnover of staff for our business, with only one person leaving in five years. Throughout our hiring process, we aim to attract people who are genuinely passionate about our industry and see the opportunity as a lifestyle and career, not just a job. However, to attract like minded staff it’s equally as important to showcase an inclusive work environment where open communication is encouraged and professional growth is possible. A balanced approach to work-life, with options like flexible hours and remote work is almost mandatory in today’s world, so it’s important to be open to this when hiring. Likewise, consistently engaging with staff, actively seeking their feedback, and making necessary adjustments can significantly boost job satisfaction. Ultimately, by seeking employees who share your company values whilst also putting employees’ well-being and professional development at the forefront, you’ll not only attract great staff but retain a strong and fulfilled team.”

Thomas Amos, CEO & Co-Founder at Sidekicker

Thomas Amos
Thomas Amos, CEO & Co-Founder at Sidekicker

“In the current tight labour market, attracting the best people takes imagination and flexibility. Traditional recruitment doesn’t always work and can be very expensive and time-consuming. Many businesses also don’t need permanent, full-time staff on a 9-5 weekday shift.

“Business owners need to think outside the box. If you’re a hospitality business and need to quickly scale up over the festive season, it might be worth partnering with a hospitality college or university to hire staff with experience and interest in your industry. Casual student workers could be ideal for permanent roles when they graduate.

“Employee referral programs can also be very successful. Existing staff may have friends and contacts who are a good fit. The cost-per-hire is often lower with referral programs, and retention is also much higher. Another option is specialist recruiters who can offer pre-screened, readily available experienced staff.

“One way to keep great people is to offer professional development. Upskilling benefits the employee and your business and makes them more likely to stay.”

Lauren Wakeling, General Manager at Allcourses

Lauren Wakeling
Lauren Wakeling, General Manager at Allcourses

“In order to attract and retain the best of the best, employees at any level need to feel as if they are making progress in regards to their skills. Whilst training programmes will of course require funding and time away from regular duties, your workers want to feel that they are more productive and more efficient than when they started in their role. To accomplish this, I would suggest investing in ongoing professional development opportunities, tailored to individual career paths. Support certifications, workshops, and conferences that empower your employees to acquire new skills and stay at the forefront of their field.

“Make sure as well to always involve your employees in discussing the specific training that they require – as no-one knows better than them what areas they need support in. Doing so enables you to line up what your business needs with what the individual needs, so that all parties can get maximum value no matter what path you pursue.”

Brian Hack, Managing Director at EES Shipping

Brian Hack
Brian Hack, Managing Director at EES Shipping

“In a post-pandemic world, I believe more people are prioritising a greater work-life balance, supportive workplace environment and growth opportunities, as opposed to moving to companies simply offering more money.

“Despite the current competitive job market, we’ve been able to keep staff turnover to a minimum and retain valuable staff, which we attribute to two key principles:

  • Culture: We have implemented various initiatives to foster a genuinely caring and supportive workplace environment, one that recognises the need for work-life balance and encourages staff to look after their mental health. We’ve implemented a four-day work week (for no loss in pay), developed a dedicated staff recreation area and actively reward staff for exercising on their lunch break, for example.
  • Opportunity: Staff are regularly offered the opportunity to upskill and take on more responsibilities in their positions, as well as being trained in other roles across the business. By providing opportunities for personal and professional growth, employees are able to understand they are valued and important members of the team, and not ‘just a number’.”

Nadine O’Regan, Talent Acquisition General Manager, TQ Solutions

Nadine O’Regan
Nadine O’Regan, Talent Acquisition General Manager, TQ Solutions

“As of October 2023, the labour market remains highly competitive. While jobs ads have decreased over the past five consecutive quarters, the ABS reports that they remain significantly (71.5%) higher than the start of the pandemic (February 2020).

“Here are three ways employers can stand out in this current job market:

  1. Build a strong employer brand: The most effective way to attract top talent is by creating a workplace that people want to be a part of. Your employer brand should be embedded in your organisation’s culture, flowing down from the ExCo and permeating every touchpoint of the employee experience.
  2. Shift to a talent mindset: This shift is a departure from relying on technology, processes, and policies to attract and retain talent. Companies with a talent mindset find themselves with more options and a highly-engaged workforce. An ‘always on’ talent mindset promotes mobility within the company, with a focus on long-term business success.
  3. Utilise the power of internal mobility: This can be more cost-effective than external hiring, so make it easy for your existing employees to move internally. Consider how an employee’s transferrable skills, attitude, and knowledge can be mobilised and developed elsewhere within your business.”

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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