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Redefining the employment relationship

It’s long been said that the people in your business are your greatest asset, and it seems that nothing is truer or more reflective of our current employment market.

As employers do we need to change our mindset around our staff? Are our employees actually our VIP customers?

These times are unprecedented. We are seeing a 3.2 percent unemployment rate, and 61 percent of employers looking to increase their permanent staffing numbers. 91 percent of employers are experiencing skill shortages.

There are two things at the forefront of most employers’ minds at present – the shortage of staff and how to retain the ones that they have.

And on our employee’s minds? A “full value” exchange. Recognition of worth, the scope to choose how they work, investment in skill development and purpose.

People want to work for companies that have purpose which aligns with their own personal values – the ‘do some good’ ethos.

Unprecedented times

Unprecedented times required unprecedented thinking. Three years into the pandemic and businesses are really feeling the pressure.

In a candidate-driven market, we have seen a lot of movement between roles. It’s been a great time for employees consider a change in employment.

Fewer applicants mean that there is less competition for roles, the prospect of more money and benefits has had people on the move. The demand is high and supply low, creating the prefect storm of sorts for salaries to really increase.

A recent Strategic Pay seminar I attended indicated that 73% of their surveyed employers have had to increase employee packages in response to staff turnover.

A recent market report shows that an uncompetitive salary as being one of the most motivating factors for job seekers to start searching job sites, and that large percentage of employees expecting a pay increase this year of three percent or more.

But can we simply reply on increasing wages to retain people?

We know that people are driven by more than just money, we can’t simply keep increasing salaries – it’s not a sustainable retention strategy. There has to be more – now is the time to be designing your long term employer value proposition (EVP).

Businesses are trying to grow, meet production orders, keep up with demand, the pressure is huge, people are working increasingly long hours to keep up with demand, people are getting sick, burnout is high. Stress levels are high.

Despite these challenges, business optimism appears to be high despite access to talent being scarce. The opening of the borders are unlikely to help – at least not in the short term.

We are needing creativity when it comes to how we reward staff – coming back to that full value exchange.

It’s a very holistic view and employees are wanting much more than a good salary and flexible working hours now.

Retention payments, on-boarding payments, increases to annual leave, health and wellbeing programmes. Training, development and career progression, and again purpose.

So, it’s about working with what we have. We have seen huge change and transformation over the past two years within our working environment. We are working smarter with less. Re-designing systems and processes, embracing digital transformation, reshaping organisations, positions and responsibilities.

As an HR professional, it’s both challenging and exciting times – never before have we been pushed and challenged so much to think outside the square, blue sky thinking about what the future of the employment relationship could look like.

As I read in one recent report – Diversity beyond gender and culture – it’s diversity of discipline and thinking.

I think there are a few key words which are going to define the next year or so and they are LEARN, DEVELOP and UPSKILL – those are the tools we have to invest in our workforce. They may well be our saving grace, along with a well-designed EVP and retention strategy for your staff.

Related: Talent id: Celebrating 15 years in business

Kellie Hamlett
Kellie Hamlett
Director, Recruitment & HR Specialist, Talent ID Recruitment Ltd. She can be contacted on kellie@talentid.co.nz or 027 227 7736

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