Attracting top talent during the great resignation

In the Australian context, survey results reported in Business Insider revealed 15% of Australian workers were actively looking to split from their current employer, and 40% planned to look for a new job within six months.

There’s little wonder business leaders are alarmed. In a team of 300 employees, 120 may leave the organisation within six months, and 45 may already be writing their resignation letters. Few organisations will be able to absorb the costs of hiring so many replacements at once, with cost-per-hire ranging from just under $10,000 for entry-level positions to nearly $35,000 for executives. In addition, businesses are suffering the opportunity costs stemming from unfilled seats – stalled projects, unrealised sales, and lost organisational knowledge.

In response to this challenge, organisations are moving fast to improve their Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) to try to stem the tide and bring down attrition rates.

Here are five ways to attract new talent and convince existing team members to stay.

1. Be prepared to compete for international talent

The great hope for Australian employers is the reopening of international borders. The influx of workers, both skilled and unskilled, will provide relief for businesses in sectors ranging from hospitality to fruit-picking to technology and finance.

However, the restart of the skilled migration program will not be the silver bullet many are relying upon. The Australian Financial Review warned that with only 57,400 economic visa holders entering the country, it may be another one to two years before businesses feel the benefit.

In the meantime, competition will be fierce for skilled workers. Organisations shouldn’t hesitate to temporarily splash more budget on their recruitment marketing, and look to the market to ensure their salaries and other benefits are competitive.

2. Prioritise flexibility and work-life balance

At this point, organisations that are still resisting the remote work revolution are shooting themselves in the foot. PWC found that only 10% of workers globally wanted to return to a traditional office environment, while 74% of Australian respondents want a mix of face-to-face and remote working, known as the hybrid model.

As more organisations embrace remote working, one way to attract talent is to expand your flexible offering beyond the usual work-from-home arrangement. Other ways to attract talent include:

• Work from anywhere arrangements (not insisting that workers are either in the office or at home
• Flexible hours (abandoning the traditional 9 to 5 expectation)
• Compressed hours
• Job sharing
• Time off in lieu
• The option to “purchase” extra paid leave.

3. Offer more opportunities for people who stay

With so many roles falling vacant, employees who stay behind may find themselves moving up the ladder at an accelerated rate.

Organisations that are serious about retention should be open to employees’ requests for pay rises, loyalty bonuses, promotions and role renegotiations. Perhaps they want more autonomy, or more flexibility? Importantly, managers should ensure staff who stay are not landed with extra work from the people who resign.

4. Don’t rely on usual recruitment processes

Your hiring process may have worked well in the past, but these are unusual times. Be adaptable and flexible by experimenting with new recruitment strategies. For example:

• Hire more contract or temporary staff to fill critical vacancies at every level.
• Don’t insist on relevant experience in a talent shortage. Hire workers from other sectors with transferrable skills.
• Consider hiring fully remote workers to significantly expand your talent pool beyond your geographical area.
• Remove any candidate requirements that are restricting your talent pool, such as the need for a university degree. Focus instead on skills assessments.

5. Optimise your hiring processes

In a candidate-driven market, top talent will often be in a position where they have multiple offers on the table. In a case where your salary offering and other benefits are similar to your competitors’, it is often the recruitment process itself that becomes a point of difference. Stand out by offering a seamless candidate experience, with excellent communication and no delays. Don’t make your candidate jump through hoops such as multiple interview stages, and don’t keep them waiting while you mull over a decision.

This includes candidate compliance checking. The experience should be fast, seamless and transparent, with user-friendly technology to make sure candidates are not frustrated to the point where they drop out of your hiring funnel.

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