Why it’s important to be an “Employer of Choice”.
By Danielle England.
At every business event or casual get-together I attend, the issue of staff shortages is never far away. Australian businesses, in every sector, are facing staff shortages. This is just staff to keep our businesses running as normal, we are not even factoring in any planned business growth!
With 1.1m less immigrants expected in Australia because of COVID-19 over the next two years, staff shortages are likely to continue into the foreseeable future.
The WiBRD Board are aware of this limitation to business and are regularly meeting with government agencies, both State and Federal, to talk about staff shortages and staff training in the Limestone Coast Region. Board members are also brining this issue to State and National labour conferences, talking about their own issues within their own businesses, as well as the issues of the region.
At this stage it is important to note that full employment does not equal an unemployment rate of 0%. In Australia an unemployment rate of 4.5 – 5% is full employment (the remaining 4% are people who wish to remain under-employed or cannot work for some reason – illness, re-training, etc). In December 2020 theLimestone Coast unemployment rate was 5.4% Economics lecture completed – what does this mean for us?
Here at Black Island we try to be an ‘Employer of Choice’. What does this mean, and why would we want to be one?
Being an ‘Employer of Choice’ means that staff members choose to work for you over your competitor (or someone else who they might work for). It is about having professional HR strategies. Everything from staff attraction and onboarding; to retention, professional development and day-to-day management. It has also meant the increased use of apprentices or trainees, to train the next generation of staff to do the job ‘how we want it done’. We need to use a mix of strategies to ensure our business continues.
Every staff member at Black Island is different. They have different personality styles (which means different communication styles), want different working conditions, and need something different from me (as their manager). Recently we have been approached by a couple of people wanting to work with us. This is great as staff are finding us, as opposed to us finding them. The pub talk is obviously working in our favour!
Staff come and go, but we want to make sure they leave our farm with an invitation to come back at anytime they are looking for work (even if we do not want them back), and an offer of a reference. Sometimes it is these simple, old fashioned things, along with genuine respect, that makes the difference between being an ‘Employer of Choice’ or not.
Danielle farms with her husband Jonathan at Black Island, Keilira via Kingston.