Finding and Retaining Employees

Businesses in Western Australia are competing with one another to attract the right employees to their organisation. There is further intense competition from the big WA mining companies luring people away from other businesses with extremely attractive packages. Combined with the WA borders being closed due to the threat of Covid 19, the employee pool of individuals to draw from feels smaller than ever for some organisations. This makes finding the person and retaining them, more important than ever.

Hiring the correct employees

Before we launch into how to retain an employee, the most crucial step is to ensure that you have hired the right one in the first place. Here are some tips to help you match theright candidate to the role on offer, for more information on this please also see, ‘4 Secrets to Hiring the Right People by Forbes.

  1. Make sure the job is the right fit for the candidate, communication is key here, ensure that you understand what opportunities the employee is looking for and make sure they understand exactly what offer you are making. This will include, the type of job, the tasks, and possibly even the opportunity for career development (always make sure these opportunities shared with a prospective employee are realistic to avoid future disappointment).
  2. Spend time considering the best questions to ask in the interview, this is integral to get the best understanding of each of the candidates. To be able to determine the best questions you need to understand what you are looking for in a successful candidate. Have a very clear understanding of what the ideal candidate would look like and prioritize those characteristics so you will be able to choose more easily between candidates.
  3. Consider the cultural fit and personality of the candidate, will they fit in with the current employees.
  4. Provide competitive pay if possible. Offering an adequate renumeration will help to entice the right type of employees and likely will increase the number of candidates interviewing for a position.
  5. Use reference checks for each candidate. Make sure you use more than one and from their most current role.
  6. Consider previous candidates, that have applied to your business before.Just because they were not the right fit for the previous role does not mean they are not right for this one.
  7. Use word of mouth recommendations from existing employees (offer a finder’s fee if that suggested candidate is hired).

Once hired, turn your attention to how to keep that employee aligned to your business. Retention has always been a topic for businesses to consider, and in this market,it is of even greater importance.

Strategies for employee retention

  1. Creating the right culture

There are many ways an employer can improve the culture of their business, some of which include:

  1. increasing the amount of flexibility for their employees through the number of hours that are worked and the location that they work from, such as a combination as the ability to work from the office as well as to work from home;
  2. incorporating comfort, wow factor and extra facilities in the workspace (stocking up the kitchen with snacks and goodies);
  3. by engaging in team building and other activities as a group;
  4. organising social events;
  5. creating areas to de-stress and regroup, have collaboration areas to encourage teamwork or include a room to be able to breastfeed with privacy and comfort;
  6. by the provision of gym equipment, access to gym memberships or access to other types of exercise classes;
  7. paying for access to sporting events or to the local racetrack for a few laps; and
  8. by including more junior staff in decision making meetings, it can be really positive to get feedback from all parts of the team not just the leadership team. The junior team feels heard and the senior team could get a vastly different point of view.


  1. Establishing a strong onboarding process

Having a strong onboarding process can help get a new employee off to a good start. Giving a new employee adequate information about the company and the culture and providing information from the beginning about how to get the most out of their experience with the company.

  1. Measure performance

Employees want to know how they are doing. Imagine trying to teach a university degree without requiring any evaluation or exams. How would students be motivated to learn. This is the same theory for employees. Create an environment where feedback is given often, and staff are evaluated. This will give employees an opportunity to strive towards a goal and allow for positive feedback where employee is making positive progress. Measuring performance will be very dependent on the type of business you are operating. Some ways to measure performance can be found in the article, ‘How to Effectively Measure Performance of Your Team’.

  1. Improve communication

Clear, authentic two-way communication is so important. Employees need to feel comfortable to come to their direct reports with questions, ideas and any worries or concerns that they might have at any time. The pandemic has really taught us the importance of communication. Ensure as an employer that you communicate with each team member often and that you get an understanding of how satisfied they are and what level of workload they have. The time taken to communicate effectively will allow you to get to know your team better and will give you the ability to know what you can do to keep employees satisfied and motivated. More information of ways to improve communication can be found in this article, ‘How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success’.

  1. Differentiate your company from your competitors, have a mission, be a winner

Building a strong mission and being able to differentiate your company from competitors can in fact also help build loyalty with your employees and give them a united goal or mission to work towards as a team. Encouraging an employee to believe in the company can be a powerful tool to build job satisfaction through pride of what the team is accomplishing. People want to make sure they are making a difference. Give them an understanding of what the company is doing for the greater good and how that is making a difference. Show your team that the company is winning at delivering their goals so that the employees can feel like they are part of a successful, thriving business.

  1. Establish mentorship programs

Mentorship programs can be wonderful to allow a new employee to get a sense of the company’s culture as well as offer a particular person to support the new employee and create a safe place for them to ask questions and get guidance where necessary. It can also benefit those experienced employees acting as a mentor as it can serve to give that employee a fresh insight into the company. This can encourage workplace friendships which can serve to create a more enjoyable environment for everyone.

  1. Complimentary wellness Programs

Providing wellness programs such as those to help employees keep fit, not just physically but mentally is good business. By teaching employees’ strategies to deal with stress this is sending the message that you prioritize the wellbeing of your team this can be an important part of building the right culture in your organisation.

  1. Progression and career advancement

It is important to understand what the professional goals are for your employees. Where possible it is important to have a structure in place that shows an employee the steps, they must take to reach their goals. This needs to be achievable and realistic from both the employer’s and employees’points of view.

Although the goal for companies is to retain employees it is sometimes best for all parties for some employees to move onto other opportunities. In these cases, although the company has been unsuccessful in retaining that employee, by creating a positive culture and the right sort of environment that employee that chooses to change their employment will be more likely to leave in a positive manner which means that they will be likely to talk positively about the previous employment and might even return to the company if the right opportunity presented itself down the track.