Attracting and retaining employees to your business

Attraction and retention is a particular challenge facing all businesses, especially those located outside the Perth metropolitan area.  For example, in a survey of employers in the Kimberley, almost 42 per cent reported experiencing difficulty in recruiting. This difficulty stemmed from the mining industry, it’s remote geographical location and salary competition.

People often move to regional areas for a change in lifestyle, better work-life balance or have passion for a particular role or business. As such, it is recommended that you promote various aspects of your region in order to help invigorate the interest of prospective employees. For example, you may consider promoting:

  • benefits, services and recreational activities in the region and nearby regions (such as community events);
  • future projects and regional development; and
  • local employment and other available services.

Regional workforce development plans and strategies

The State Government has developed individual workforce development plans (WD Plans) to assist businesses in regional areas. These WD Plans examine the issues facing each region and provide tailored priority and action plans. You can review your region’s WD Plan on the regional workforce development plans section of the Department of Training and Workforce Development website. Some of the issues the WD Plans have identified impacting recruitment to the region include:

  • limited local vocational courses and institutions to train, develop and upskill workers;
  • high staff turnover and costs in recruitment;
  • absence of childcare facilities; and
  • limited housing and accommodation.

High staff turnover and costs in recruitment, is a problem faced by businesses across various industries and sectors. According to a 2015 survey by the Australian Human Resources Institute, a majority of employees (37%) left their employer within one to two years, and a third (28%) left within three to five years. Due to these challenges, it is recommended you develop an attraction and retention strategy. The strategy’s aim is to address the needs of the business, position and prospective employees. It should be reviewed regularly to ensure it is effective and relevant. Victoria’s rural businesses have experienced similar difficulties in attracting and retaining staff.

The region found success in implementing a number of attraction and retention strategies, including:

  • focused job and region marketing and analysis;
  • succession planning and staff development (i.e. backfilling roles with existing employees to broaden skills and exposure to other jobs);
  • student placements or holiday employment to provide exposure to the region; and
  • training opportunities (including travel to conferences).

What kind of incentives could you use?

Incentives offered by a business, often play a part in persuading prospective employees to change employers. The good news is, not all incentives mean a greater outlay of money for your business. An incentive package may include a combination of both financial and non-financial incentives to help attract and retain prospective employees. Examples of non-financial incentives include:

  • flexible working arrangements and hours;
  • relocation support; and
  • career development and progression opportunities.
  • In relation to relocation support, this may include providing assistance in school, childcare, accommodation and job search for spouses. This could be achieved by partnering with other businesses within your region or neighbouring areas. In addition to non-financial incentives, your business may also like to consider the following financial incentives:
  • housing and accommodation assistance (i.e. free board and lodging for families);
  • providing a company vehicle or fuel allowance;
  • additional annual leave;
  • retention bonuses (based on service with the employer); and
  • competitive salaries.

Aside from attracting and retaining new employees, it is important you also think about how to retain the talent you already have. Conversations with your current employees about what types of incentives they would value, may be beneficial.

Practical pointers

In summary, when trying to attract and retain employees to your business, CCIWA recommends:

  • developing an attraction and retention strategy;
  • promoting the benefits of living and working in regional Western Australia; and
  • providing both financial and non-financial incentives.

How can CCIWA help?

Did you hear about the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry and CCIWA’s “Kal Jobs Expo”? The event promoted employment opportunities and benefits of living in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region, attracting approximately 1000 students and job seekers. Some attendees were even successful in securing employment on the day! CCIWA will hold another expo and roadshows in various regional locations in the future. For more information about the roadshows or to register you interest, please email membership@cciwa.com.

Need more information about how to recruit the best candidates? CCI’s Recruitment and Termination Guide includes all these templates plus much more. Contact CCI’s Employee Relations Advice Centre team on 9365 7660 or advice@cciwa.com.

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