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Finders keepers: attract the best team and keep them keen

The unemployment rate is down to 4% and for some industries like hospitality and horticulture, the labour shortage is crippling. For others, like the construction sector, COVID-19 has drawn a double-edged sword: endless work but a lack of skilled labour. Whether you’re looking to expand and hire, recruit to replace, or keep your hotshots in-house, here are our top tips for getting and keeping a skilled workforce. 

Ensure there’s room to move

Bored or stagnating employees will soon be using their downtime to scan job sites. Offering career progression or the chance to upskill ensures they feel valued. It also shows you’re loyal to your staff by promoting from within. Make those opportunities clear to new as well as existing staff so they know there’s always the chance to train for sideways slides or higher-ranking positions. Map out a career path for your staff so they are not just in a job, but a long-term career.

Personal life matters

It’s unavoidable: what’s going on at home affects job performance. Mental health days or offering the opportunity to work out personal issues creates a feeling of being supported, which builds loyalty and a feeling of stability. You could also take the time to make a note of birthdays, acknowledge milestones outside the office, and recognise hard work.

Regular catch-ups

Whether it’s a formal monthly meeting or a chat over Friday pizza, regular check-ins are key. They’re not only important for making your team feel genuinely heard but may also offer insight into streamlining systems or ensuring your staff has the tools they need to do their job well. Everyone’s ideas are worthy of your time and generate the feeling of inclusivity.

Flexibility is key

COVID-19 has proven that working from home can improve productivity. Starting or finishing earlier or later simply to avoid rush hour traffic has also been shown to improve mental health. You may consider a four-day workweek. A trial here in New Zealand found productivity increased 20%, staff satisfaction improved, and stress levels decreased. Encouraging work-life balance is a valuable leadership tool that pays genuine dividends in the office.

Switch up your advertisement

Rather than listing technical requirements or preferred qualifications, try switching to qualities and personal attributes that would gel with your existing employees. It shows you’re making an effort to create the best work environment. Some of the most successful ads show a clear career path and progression possibilities.

Be open to potential

They may not be the full package right now, but recognising the future stars is essential. Talk to local schools and universities to secure their best graduates for those entry-level roles. Also, employees who’ve been with the company for years may find fresh enthusiasm and thrive in a mentor or training role. Attracting and retaining the right employees is all about giving opportunities. And let’s face it, that’s a win-win scenario. Employees appreciate when management invests effort in making them better and are more likely to return the love with initiative, pride, and hard work.


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