Employees…where are they?

The number one issue (by far) with the majority of small business owners at the moment is…..where have all the staff gone? It was expected (in Queensland) the migration north from the southern states would bring with it an abundance of new talent. However, from speaking with the majority of our clients, this has definitely not been the case. Many workers from the southern states have remained working for their employers from NSW and Victoria…albeit from their homes in Queensland.

With a national unemployment rate at its lowest level in years, employees have been able to pick and choose where they work. Employees have been able to negotiate better positions (and often higher wages) during this time of worker shortages.

So how do you retain and attract your team? Are you an employer of choice? Do you offer conditions or employment packages that are above your competitors? Here are our tips.

1. Take a look under the hood

From a mediocre workplace culture to a lack of career opportunities, there are many reasons why your employees might be jumping ship. Finding out there are deep-seated issues at play is never something a business owner wants to hear – but burying your head in the sand can cost you big time. After all, it’s expensive to go through the hiring process and train up new staff members.

2. Have you asked what your employees want?
Speak with your staff to find out what’s important to them. You might actually be surprised at the answers, but the insights can help you create a better, happier workplace all-round. Research has shown, one of the most common reasons employees want to go to work is when they are given the ability to act autonomously and make decisions. After all, no one likes a micromanager, right?
3. Bend it like Beckham
There are ways to create a flexible workplace that takes into account your employees’ lives beyond work. It might mean being flexible about shift times or start and finish times. Another option maybe to build a culture that’s driven by performance and results rather than the time someone works. This can result in increased productivity and better employee engagement.
4. Show me the money

When writing a job ad to attract new staff, do you use the phrase ‘salary commensurate with experience’? This can be a huge red flag to applicants who worry the salary is so low you think it’s better not to mention it. When it comes to retaining employees, making sure salaries are competitive is of course important too, especially for higher-earning staff.

5. It’s not always about the money

If you’re dealing with a young, Generation Z workforce – research has shown, they rate employers who look after mental health and physical wellbeing as the most important factor  for being happy in the workplace. Does your business have a mental health workplace strategy? Show your team you’re committed to creating a mentally healthy work environment.
6. Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity

Automation is set to impact up to 46% of the current jobs within Australia by 2030. With this in mind, an employer who encourages their staff the opportunity to develop their skills with ongoing training, will be seen as a desirable place to work.

7. Don’t forget to say thanks

You don’t want to be the boss everyone’s talking about (for the wrong reason). Not only can it lead to a higher turnover of staff, it will also impact workplace morale and productivity. Multiple studies show that employers who are appreciative of their teams and show it have better employee engagement and retention.


Kim Jay