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3 battle-tested ideas to win the war over talent

(Source: Bigstock.)

It has been said that only when the tide goes out can you see who has been swimming naked … and Covid has laid bare many organisations. 

Gone are the days of rigid employee management and the ongoing assumption that a bevy of hourly applicants will be there to cover any workforce churn and turnover. Further, employees want to work for something worthwhile as well. They are more purpose-driven than ever. 

The absence of a real strategy for employee attraction and retention is no longer an option.

So what’s an organisation to do?

Recently WorkJam ran a few survey questions to the Gartner Pulse.QA community. 

First off, we asked for your biggest business impact for your workforce.

Attraction rose to the top. While this seems obvious, it’s also the “easy” choice as it forces the organisation to work harder rather than smarter. The fact is that a retention strategy is a much more realistic and cost-effective approach when you look at hard costs like talent search and training or opportunity costs such as lost sales or lost efficiency. Even before the pandemic employee acquisition costs were over $4000 per retail employee but factor another trend, and it seems that hiring bonuses would inflate that already high figure.

Further in my experience at Target, and even Coles, the other approaches of upskilling and driving a better customer experience can also drive not only retention but sales.

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Even the best-laid plans and good intentions won’t amount to much if you don’t embed the intended change within your organisation.  If you want real positive change your efforts cannot be seen or felt as superficial or feel tentative – employees will know.

Communication & education 

Start with better communication and learning access. This critical combination enables a better employee experience, which leads to a better customer experience and brand recognition. Personal growth also creates passion for the brand. Employee communications is often thought about as a text or task, but really, it’s enabling the employees to bring your brand vision to life at each location. Effectively enabling frontline teams to do their jobs more successfully also drives these next ideas.

Train to retain but also enable

Employees want to work for a place that respects them and offers a vision worth working towards as well as defined career paths they can pursue.

Make it easy for location managers

Mental health and burnout are real, up and down your hierarchy. Review your current technology stack to discover available efficiencies offered but you’ve yet to apply. Managers have a lot on their plates, including manual processes to find shift coverage. Most WFM solutions for instance make it the manager’s responsibility to phone or message other locations in the hopes that a manager could spare a worker or two. Wouldn’t it be incredible if your employees could pick as many shifts as they wanted to work at any location they wanted on their own? Finding solutions like this are worth the effort. 

Crowd-sourced staffing for the win 

The war for talent is unprecedented in its scale. Enable your casual and part-time workforce to help sustain and grow the business in a variety of ways. Create a Shift-Coverage Culture by becoming flexible and accessibleOur research shows that 61 per cent of frustrated employees cite scheduling and being under-utilised as a reason for leaving. Enable employees to easily pick additional shifts, swap with eligible co-workers across their location or district.  

Ignite your secret weapon: your casual workforce

About the author: Andrew Myers is Managing Director APAC at Workjam. #AlignTheFrontline