Australian small business owners share a common problem which is, finding good staff. In regional Australia, the labour pool is much smaller compared to the larger cities. I work with regional business owners helping them to successfully run their businesses and ensure they are sustainable into the future.
Finding good people is a shared challenge
There are a number of reasons that its currently hard to find staff. These include:
- Limited immigration and restrictions to skill migration. Remember Australia has relied on skilled migrant to grow and prosper.
- Limited number of working visa (backpackers) who would normally help bolster labour shortages in a range of industries.
- Changing social attitudes towards work and lifestyle balance. Couple with an increase sense of entitlement
- The changing nature of work, its casualisation and disruption, to highlight a few.
So, if we have fewer people to select from and less security for workers, its important to work on what’s in your control and find solutions to your staffing needs.
Here are a couple of my ideas:
- Use your circle of influence to incentivise word of mouth referrals for suitable staff. Let everybody know that you are always looking for good staff. When you find someone – create a position for them.
- Keep the staff you have. Talk openly with your staff about their needs and wants. Ask them directly, how long they plan to stay with you, on your team. It’s better to know you have got them for 2 years than to be worried constantly about them leaving.
- Have a succession plan for each key role. That is to be training openly for someone to step up over time. Articulate career and promotional pathways, even in small family-owned businesses.
- Ask your staff this question “Other then a pay rise, what can we do to make your job better?” Then act on their requests.
- Focus on the benefits for potential employees when they choose to work for you. “What’s in it for them?”
Remember to recruit on attitude, you can train the skills when new employees have values that align with yours.
“Work is the pathway to dignity” – Mark Twain
Focus on building a strong synergistic relationship with your employee, Treat them differently and individually. Life is not fair or equal. Their needs with vary. Set high standards and expectations that work for both of you on your shared quest for dignity.