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SHR Newsletter

March 2023 Edition


The Candidate Shortage Saga Continues – Tips to Help Recruit in 2023

If you are getting frustrated about not being able to fill vacant positions in your organisations, don’t panic. You are simply demonstrating the everyday emotions of an official member of Australia’s newest Club – the 'We Need Staff Today Club!'

If I started writing about the reasons why organisations are unable to attract suitable applicants for their vacant positions today, then that list would be miles long. And despite that list being miles long you still need staff. So why not put your energy to a forward direction that might just work for your organisation in sourcing optimal talent.

First, accept the fact that the pandemic has allowed Baby Boomers and Gen X to bring forward their retirement plans, and this has impacted talent pools across Australia.

Second, standard perks such as onsite Gym, employee value proposition, free lunches, employee value proposition, staff social club, employee value proposition, etc are not the most important items for the majority of the applicant pool in 2023. Get the point here ?...

Today, it's about the value of the employee’s productive time and how much of this time are they willing to give the organisation each week whilst still have the time they need to participate in other interests.

Hence, the list below takes you through a few non-standard talent attraction paradigms that actually work for organisations who are led by visionaries because just a salary increase, however large that maybe, does not guarantee happy workers.

  • Make ‘FLEXIBILITY’ Your New Best Friend – It’s not just about the hours that people work in the office or at home. It's about the flexibility in hiring people who may not come from your usual applicant pools. Tap into late career workers and offer them ‘post leadership roles’. These employees bring a degree of stability and realism that you will find refreshing. If you need inspiration in this area all you have to do is watch Robert De Niro in The Intern. Promote flexibility as a lifestyle and not just work from home.

  • Go Beyond Pet Friendly - a major obstacle for women returning to the workforce has always been lack of day-care options. You don't need to be a Fortune 500 company who can afford to open a day-care centre. What you can do is find the closest appropriate room that is either unused or underutilised and convert it into a space where employees can leave their children with childminding services provided by an external contractor. One of the biggest underutilised talent pools in Australia is young mothers. Promote baby and child friendly environments.

  • Promote Part-Time Opportunities – Changes in everyday lifestyles during and post Covid-19 times, have brought about a stark realisation that employees sometimes want to do more than just what a single 38-hour job has to offer. And yes, it might read and sound far-fetched but bring back the promotion of multi-role opportunities within the same 38 hours because you still get to keep a stable employee albeit working 2 roles in the same organisation. Promote the variety that spices up the employment life.

  • Promote Non-Traditional Skill Development – More than 80% of state-based TAFE courses are now free so in these times of economic uncertainty of a pay rise, try and provide a reasonable number of education hours. Better still - have the closest TAFE come to the workplace and offer their services directly to your employees.

  • Promote Flexi-Full-Time - For those employees who still want a full-time role with flexibility, offer the opportunity to work 3 X 12 hour days and two hours from home each week. Alternatively offer a 4 day week. Yes, it's possible even under the modern awards because employees can request an individual flexibility arrangement to suit Flexi-Full-Time.

  • Work with the Executive Team - Promote the opportunity for employees to work along with their executive team. This brings the executive team outside of closed offices and gets them to work the day along with their team members. Let front line employees see firsthand what it takes for an executive team member to do their job.

  • Champion Differently Abled Working Environments - Get your HR team to review and redefine relevant roles within the organisations to accommodate differently abled workers. You will be surprised at the number of differently abled qualified candidates available. Connect with local Disability Service employment agencies who can assist you.

  • Mobilise Your Organisation's Social Footprint – Passive candidates are not looking to leave their current roles but are an excellent source of talent that can be cultivated by engaging with them on social media platforms. Use thought provoking posts to engage with future employees. Post about real production or service challenges and ask these passive candidates for their ideas on resolving these challenges. Build your engagement with future employees.

  • Look Beyond Legacy Job Platforms – Seek to engage with available talent where you will find them on social media and not just on legacy job posting platforms. You will be surprised to see the cost differentials in advertising.

  • Number 2 and Number 3 – When you interview applicants, don’t forget the applicants who ranked 2nd and 3rd in the overall interview process. Create engagement pathways with them because you never know when you might want to revisit their suitability for roles within the organisation.

  • The Recruitment Process – Applicants believe that they have already spent enough time in creating a Resume. Now you want them to copy and paste all that information again into your own recruitment system? Then you want them to answer selection criteria which hardly anyone reads? Revisit-Revise-Reintroduce your organisations biggest recruitment obstacle – outdated recruitment processes. Consider Open Hiring for relevant roles.

You need to look beyond the cliched basic check boxes of employing people who will fit your organisations culture and instead look for diverse applicants who will add to your organisations culture.

Recruitment is a mixture of art, science, data and finally and most importantly the human instinct off a gut feel. At Streamline HR, we work with organisations every day to ensure their recruitment process is optimal for 2023.


Death of the Performance Review – What You Should Focus on Instead

Let’s be frank, most of us don’t remember what we had for breakfast 3 days ago. Yet we are expected to try and remember what our team members did over the last 365 days so we can fill their Annual Performance Appraisal??!!

Try calculating the total number of staff in your organisation and multiply that by at least 1 hour. The total hours give you the approximate amount of time spent on actual Annual Performance Meetings. Then multiply those hours by 3 because that’s the average time it takes the employee and their manager to each prepare for the meetings.

So, if you have approx. 100 employees then its 300 hours per year. Now imagine the overall hours spend on performance reviews in large organisations like Walmart and China Railway that have more than 2 million employees – each! In 2023 this is just a sheer waste of valuable productive time and does not fit contemporary business models. Ask any CFO who must explain FTE at the Budget Meetings and one of the pet peeves is unproductive hours allocated to each FTE.

In the last 20 years, I have never come across a single person who said, ‘yay I'm going for my annual performance review’!

Let’s see how we got here – historically there was plenty of bench strength in the workforce, so the focus was on which employee to let go, which to keep and which to reward. This was perfect under traditional performance appraisal approaches where the emphasis was on individual accountability (Perhaps even older than US Army World War 1 training doctrine). However, in 2023 when real talent is in its shortest ever supply, the emphasis is on optimal productivity and organisations need to find new ways to develop people to ensure optimal output from them.

It’s high time organisations found the ability to de-link financial reward from annual performance appraisals. Traditional appraisal approaches provide a very transactional view of performance which is actually very hard to support in the current day business environment of more socially connected workers.

Think about it - it’s difficult to set annual performance goals that would still be meaningful 12 months later in today’s economic climate. What's required are contemporary HR tools that align employee perception and performance reality.

Plenty of large tech organisations like Google, Adobe, Dell, Microsoft and large professional services firms like Deloitte, PwC and Accenture have already moved away from the traditional annual performance appraisals. Some with more success than others. But then these large organisations also have the bench strength in their HR teams to support such large-scale changes.

What then, should small-to-medium and medium-to-large organisations do? Interestingly, the first people to resist changing annual performance reviews are HR professionals because historically it’s been such an integral part of their role that they feel it threatens their existence. So, let’s turn this into an opportunity by concentrating on simple contemporary workforce trends which are not just buzzwords:

  • Hybrid Work – Technological advancements have created a paradigm that working from home is no longer a perk but an expectation. HR professionals now have the opportunity to develop fit for purpose performance appraisal tools that take into consideration the demand for flexibility and corresponding productivity from employees that work from home.

  • Relatable Engagement –Instead of trying to classify different engagement tactics for Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials, HR professionals should first relate to employees as – people. This fundamental step allows HR professionals to level the playing field expectations from these otherwise very diverse groups withing the workforce.

  • Stop Following the Herd - Just because certain organisations are using particular performance review methodology or tools does not mean that you need to adopt the same. CEOs should start by asking for contemporary HR tools there are short/sharp/relevant specifically customised to their organisation. Perfect opportunity for HR professionals to develop, test and roll out performance review tools that are optimal for the overall workforce and the organisation. Remember the pragmatic view that best practice is not buzzwords but what practice works best for the organisation as long as it's safe, legal and optimal.

  • Leadership Behaviour - The culture of the organisation is informed by senior leadership and led by their demonstrated behaviours. Senior leadership needs to be early adopters of optimal performance review tools that support the ability off the workforce to feel cohesively adjudicated on optimal productivity. This provides opportunities for HR professionals to guide senior leadership.

Watch out for the fatal flaw when revising performance review tools. Over dependency on technology solutions has led to many organisations faltering in the quest for adopting bright and shiny Performance review tools. Even Google, one of the biggest tech organisations has had trouble with its GRAD program that was specifically developed for its employee’s performance reviews.

So yes - if you currently work in an organisation that still undertakes annual performance reviews perhaps it’s time to respectfully ask for good management because in today’s world of entitlements, good management is one thing you are definitely entitled to.


About the Author: Avi Kumar, Senior Workplace Relations Advisor

Primed with an MBA(HR/IR) from Griffith University, Avi has forged a career in Workplace Relations across diverse industries including Public/Private Health Services, Aviation, Retail and Hospitality. An experienced practitioner, Avi is adept at suggesting future focused workforce models that rationalise FTE and organisational budgets. With extensive experience in undertaking impartial and independent investigations related to Executive Management Failure, Bullying & Harassment, Sexual Harassment, etc. Avi has a particular interest in ensuring employers meet their obligations so as to avoid costly litigation.


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