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Finding talent is tough… So are we looking after our people?

Despite a small rise in the most recent figures, NZ’s unemployment rate still remains below where it was in mid-2018 and overall it has been drifting lower for more than six years. This has created a very tight labour market in nearly every industry sector.

Being in the talent industry, we hear every day about the impact this is having on businesses. No matter whether we’re talking to corporate leaders or startup entrepreneurs, and whether it’s in the office or at a weekend BBQ, a common complaint is that finding the right talent is a big challenge and concern.

So, it surprises me when many businesses that are desperate for growth tell me that they’re struggling with high staff turnover. I’ve heard leaders blame generational differences and how younger talent don’t ‘get’ their business strategy. Others claim new candidates are either too jumpy or they aren’t hard working enough.

My question is why – when we spend so much time and effort sourcing great talent – don’t we provide the great ongoing experience that new recruits expect and deserve once we hire them? Either we don’t spend enough time on-boarding our new people properly (when we all know the importance of the first few weeks for a new starter), we don’t equip them with the tools on day one, or our leadership doesn’t foster a culture of long-term engagement.

While you may be an exceptional lead developer, business owner, or highly experienced engineer that unfortunately doesn’t make you the best people leader or most inspirational storyteller in your business.

The importance of success in this area can’t be understated, with a recent report linking a strong company culture to lower staff turnover. It reported that 90% of top business leaders believe culture is important in their organisation, while an overwhelming 92% claim improving their culture would boost the value of their company.

So where do you start?

While the bottom line is naturally important for any business, people must come first when considering future business success and growth. This means understanding the nuances of each generation of your staff, as well as what drives each person. It’s no longer all about the money; it’s more about non-tangible factors like having a sense of purpose and alignment with the direction of the business.

Another recent report underlines that employee retention is about knowing what aspects of your employer brand encourage talent to stay, and which drive them away. For example, young employees (18-24) are more likely to stay with their employer if they receive good training.

As a business leader, when you really understand how to engage with your talent, this allows you to focus on growth instead of trying to keep up with attrition.  Not only this, but you’ll also have a much higher employee net promoter score to help you attract the best people available.

The world these days is like a village, particularly with the influence of social media. It’s far too easy for word about both bad and good working environments to spread via the cloud. Given the demand for good talent in today’s market, I suggest we aim for the best possible working environment!