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5 key strategies to recruit and retain the best talent

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Two-thirds of Australian companies have seen an increase in employee turnover over the last three years. That’s an alarming statistic. But what’s driving the high turnover in Australian companies – and how can you counter it within your own?

The truth is often difficult to face: happy employees don’t leave their employers. If they want to recruit and retain the best talent, Australian CEOs need to give employees what they need.

1. Capture the ‘what’s and ‘how’s’ of performance

Which employees do you really need to retain?

That comes down to job performance, but job performance is complex. Quantifying someone’s performance is about more than just tasks completed, attendance, or revenue generated. Poor methods of quantification can lead to retaining the employees who don’t really add value to the company as a whole.

To truly capture how much value an employee brings in, Australian CEOs need to consider the “what” and the “how” of each employee:

  • What is the employee doing in their role? Are they completing their projects in a timely fashion?
  • Are they completing their role satisfactorily? Are they doing it with a positive attitude? Are they a self-starter or do they need additional guidance?

Once you have successfully quantified employee performance, you’ll be able to focus on retaining your top performers. Yet, when collecting data, it’s important not to lose sight of the human element. More data isn’t necessarily better, and using AI algorithms alone won’t help you meet your targets.

Overall, retaining the top talent means first quantifying who the top talent in your company. It’s a process that has to be handled through both data and observation.

2. Create a coordinated strategy for building your talent

It’s not enough to continue hiring and managing employees piecemeal: you need an overarching strategy. Many employers are so overloaded that they don’t have a dedicated team attached to recruitment and retention.

You can start developing a strategy to recruit and retain the best talent by:

  • Allocating the most resources to your top 5%.
    You may not be able to put resources towards retaining all of your staff, but you can concentrate on the top performers.
  • Periodically updating your job listings.
    Requirements shift from time to time, and the skills and talents you thought you needed may not necessarily be the skills and talents you still want.
  • Identifying new talent channels.
    If you can’t find good employees, you may not be looking at the right places. Look for new talent channels, such as recruiters, word-of-mouth, and local groups of networked professionals.

A talent plan is going to guide you forward towards a more, well-organised, well-structured approach. The more thorough your strategy, the more you’ll be able to tweak and optimise it as you go.

In summary, it’s important to have a plan for managing your talent and recruitment. This plan will be your support and your roadmap.

3. Look internally at your company culture for better retention

What’s negatively impacting your retention? It could be your company culture. Petty issues, management failures, and a lack of recognition are high up there when it comes to poor employee retention.

Company culture is what controls the general attitude of your employees and your managers. Company cultures need to change from time-to-time: they need to grow and adapt. A company culture that is outdated may not appeal to newer employees, and over time, the company may see its talent pool shrinking.

Important aspects of your company culture include:

  • Open and honest communication.
    If your company culture doesn’t value communication, employees won’t be able to communicate when they are overworked, stressed, or about to leave. Open communication improves every level of the organisation.
  • Strong relationships between managers and employees.
    A dictatorial relationship between managers and employees rarely works well; it only fosters resentment. Managers and employees need to work as a team, fostering and supporting each other.
  • Balance between work and life.
    Today’s employees prize work-life balance more than anything, and they need to be guaranteed that they’ll be able to excel both inside and outside of work.

Within a toxic company culture, the highest value, most talented employees are most likely to leave first. A toxic company will ultimately self-filter out the best of its employees, being left with only the employees who don’t have enough experience or motivation to move elsewhere.

In summary, your company culture has a lot to do with whether you retain employees and which employees are likely to be retained.

4. Identify your existing the roadblocks

When you can’t seem to procure the best talent, it’s time to investigate your roadblocks. What’s preventing you from getting the best talent on the market? There are many things that can present issues, but some of the most common are:

  • Negative employer reputation.
    Your reputation is online. Former employees talk. If your business has developed a reputation for being difficult, then employees are going to avoid you — and it doesn’t always have to be a fair analysis.
  • Not offering competitive salaries.
    While many employees are now looking for soft benefits, they also need competitive salaries to match. When you’re dealing with the best talent, you need to be willing to pay the best rates.
  • Looking for the wrong candidates.
    HR departments may not always know what a job really requires, yet they’re often in charge of the job listings. It’s important to be reasonable and flexible about requirements, and to know what a job really needs — especially in terms of matching company culture.
  • Failure to work together.
    When an employee is being hired by a committee or a team, the team members may disagree on how to move forward. There may be multiple prospective candidates, and different team members may want a different one. This is a failure of communication.

Often, employers fail to find the right employees because they’re looking for the wrong employees. You may be finding employees who don’t quite fit with your company culture or may be looking for specifications that fit the job listing but not the job description. Improving your hiring practices will lead directly to improved employee retention.

Overall, countering your problems may begin by identifying specific bottlenecks in your current employee management protocols. What appears to be the most significant issue?

5. Provide your employees with a path to grow

Employees don’t want to feel stuck: they want to be able to grow in their career. If they don’t feel as though the company has room for growth, they will start to look for positions in other companies. The strongest companies are able to promote from within to retain talent through a structured lattice of improvement.

Employees can be encouraged to grow through additional training and seminars, with clear paths towards promotion. At any given time, employees should understand what they would need to do to move into additional responsibilities, in addition to how they need to modify their performance. If employees don’t know how to excel, they will stop trying.

In summary, Employees will leave a company if they don’t see a future there. Offer them career and growth opportunities to prevent this.

Takeaways: Create a better hiring environment through structured improvement

Losing a new employee is estimated to cost 130% of that employee’s annual salary — and approximately 20% of new employees will wash out in the first 45 days.

For a more stable business, healthier company culture, and better profit margins, Australian companies need to look into their current retention and hiring strategies. A deep dive into the reasons behind employee turnover is just the start; you need to take structured actions towards improvement.

Reducing your employee turnover can improve many levels of your business, but it’s rarely easy. To begin implementing your new retention and talent strategies, you need to connect with the experts. Reach out to TEC today to begin networking with entrepreneurs and CEOs and sharing in their expertise.

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