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Retaining your A-Grade Team in a Skills Shortage

The skills shortage in Australia has made it more important than ever for trade business owners to keep hold of their employees and encourage them to grow within their company.

The lack of skilled tradespeople has made recruitment of new employees to become much more difficult, with many job openings going vacant for extended periods of time, making retention of employees a focus for many business owners.

Employee retention is no easy task . Competitive wages and steady work are usually not enough as many companies are willing to go above that in order to secure talent. With all the opportunities available to them, employees are looking for more than just money and job security when choosing a company to work for.

Read below some of the things trades business owners should focus on when it comes to employee retention.

Understanding what your employees value

Numerous studies have shown that salary and pay are not the only things that matter to employees. Numerous other metrics, such as employee value proposition, benefits, flexible hours, personal development, training opportunities, employee referral schemes, company culture and many other items are part of what an employee looks for in a company.

Many employees have been conditioned to look for the next step in their career, and if the opportunity isn’t available in the current company they’re in, another company will likely take advantage of that.

Providing training, learning and growth opportunities to employees is vital in employee retention. By providing these opportunities, employees are much more likely to stay in a company where they can see their careers advance and continually learn new skills.

In addition to career growth, establishing a strong work-life balance culture is a priority for most employees.

This is achieved by being provided sick days, vacation time and flexibility in their schedules when required. Letting employees attend an appointment during the work week – for example, for their children’s education – allowing them to make up the hours some other time is a great example of this.

Invest in training your team and they will be more likely to want to keep growing with your company

Investing in your team

Investing in your employees is a win-win situation for both the employer and employees. The construction industry is experiencing a lack of available skill and can no longer sustainably rely on trade schools and associations to supply fully qualified workers. Instead, companies are now being expected to invest in their employees by providing training and skill development opportunities.

Training should not be limited to just entry-level roles or just to those on construction sites. Every employee should have opportunities to grow and have an opportunity to mould and choose their career path.

Identify opportunities for employees to develop their skills by providing in-house training programs, establish benchmarks and provide opportunities for them to take on different tasks.

Trade shows are also an important way for employees to keep up to date with the latest advancements and new technologies in the industry. By providing employees opportunities to travel and attend trade shows, it enables them to learn more about the industry and bring that knowledge back to your company.

Employees are much more likely to stay with a company where they can continually learn and develop their skills. This benefits the employer as they will be able to retain highly skilled workers in their company and benefit from the investment.

Promoting from within

As part of their career trajectory, many skilled trade workers look to switch to managerial positions at some point in their career. If employees recognise that they can grow and switch their career trajectory towards something that matches their interest, they are much more likely to be loyal to your company.

Numerous studies have shown that employees greatly appreciate a company that promotes from within and provides opportunities to employees about work that they are interested in.

As mentioned above, one of the best ways to find what your employees want and the opportunities they’d like to have is to simply communicate with them.

Studies have shown that employees feel much more valued in a company when they are able to have discussions with leadership staff about their career goals and interests.

Not every employee is interested in career advancement and many tradespeople are happy in their current positions. It’s important to understand all of your employees’ needs and expectations to ensure they are happy in their role and more likely to stay in your company.

Ensure you have good channels of communication

There are many ways to ensure this type of communication is communicated between employees and the leadership team. One of the best ways to do this is to set up quarterly employee reviews, where employees are able to freely discuss expectations, opportunities, concerns and anything else. One of the best ways to keep employees in a company is to ensure their voice is heard and concerns addressed.

It’s easy to keep employees and workers for granted and to solely focus on the economic benefit they bring to the company. However, employees are people and it’s important to understand their needs and concerns and find ways to retain your team, especially when there is a skill shortage in the industry.

Communication is key to understanding what you can do to improve your employees’ experience within the company. Investing in your team is a win-win situation for both parties and can help your team and company to succeed.

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