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What can Aussie employers do to attract and retain talent during the skills shortage crisis?

  • Written by Andy Brockhoff, President APAC at Unit4



Australian businesses have been contending with small talent pools for technology skills for years, and it’s only worsened since the pandemic. Even with international borders re-opening, Australian businesses will continue struggling to find workers with highly sought technology skills into the future. To make matters worse, the Australian government announced in March 2022 that it would cut the number of workers entering the country on skilled visas in 2023. 


So how can employers attract and retain quality talent during the skills shortage crisis?


Understanding what skilled workers want


With skilled workers in high demand, it’s given them free rein to work almost wherever they want. To remain appealing, employers must self-analyse exactly why prospective employees would want to work for them and change achievable policies that might give current and potential employees the flexibility to work where they want. 


Aside from a paycheck, a pingpong table in the office and a Friday pub lunch, employees need to feel like they’re supported and valued. Employees need a clear career trajectory so they know where they’re going and how to get there. Most of all, they need to be able to balance their work and personal life, which has become an increasingly difficult challenge since the rise of hybrid work during the pandemic.


What can employers do to prevent turnover?


There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for fixing the skills crisis, especially when there are global factors at play. However, to attract quality employees, businesses could simply ask what it would take for them to join your organisation. 


Once they’re onboard, it’s more difficult to gauge exactly how they feel about their job and what they want most out of it. To overcome this, businesses can tap into people-centric platforms, like talent management platforms, that can integrate into their existing enterprise resource management (ERP). This ensures your company has a single source of truth that all managers can refer back to that quantifies metrics like overall wellbeing, career trajectory, and current and prospective skills they can work towards.


Creating a culture where wellbeing is at the forefront isn’t just a perk of the job. Managers should take the opportunity to cultivate a culture that supports workers in all facets of life, not just work. Focusing on wellbeing and culture is a win-win for employers and employees alike. Prioritising employees’ needs over just profits will result in less staff turnover and lead to skilled workers coming to you for job opportunities rather than the other way around. In the end, these businesses will also see a positive impact on enhanced productivity.


Knowing whether employee feedback is genuine


Talent management platforms measure performance on an ongoing basis and automate many of the processes required. This doesn’t remove managers’ jobs, rather it gives them the time back to focus on face-to-face interactions with employees, making them feel even more valued.


These platforms, run and managed through the ERP system, facilitate regular check-ins with employees. For example, by using pulse surveys to gauge all factors managers need to consider about their employees. When it comes to skills, these platforms can be used to track an individual employee’s current skills as well as what skills they’re interested in, helping to create a career progression path while also alleviating the need to find new skilled workers from a dwindling talent pool. 


There’s no guarantee that employees will be 100 per cent honest with their feedback, which is why employers can anonymise their pulse surveys, making staff feel more comfortable expressing how they truly feel about their jobs. These surveys can also generate insights into your company’s workflows and how processes are carried out, informing you whether these processes need to be changed to give staff more flexibility.


The skills shortage crisis won’t be over any time soon, which is why businesses must invest in platforms like talent management combined with ERP to better grasp what skills current employees have and what they need to do to learn the skills their employer needs. When highly skilled employees are available in the talent pool, the first thing they’ll look for is an employer with a great company culture that values its staff and allows them flexibility in their out-of-office life and their professional life wherever they choose to work from.

By Andy Brockhoff, President APAC at Unit4

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