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Edition 253 – Where is Everyone?

Trying to find staff at the moment? So are plenty of others. It’s almost like there’s a chorus of “where is everyone?” amongst business owners and managers right now. It seems as if the issue doesn’t discriminate between industries or geographies. Everyone is singing the same tune.

In my opinion, there are a number of headline issues that are reasons why the problem has arisen including:

  1. The current level of Job Seeker payment.
  2. The impact of the level of Job Keeper under Version 1 – particularly for Part Time employees.
  3. Christmas – it’s always hard to recruit at this time of year.
  4. The impact of closed international borders, restricting the inbound arrival of a potential labour pool.
  5. The hard borders that have been imposed by some states, restricting the flow of available labour around Australia.

All of those issues are in the here and now. But really, they’re no different to a football team that struggles through the finals as a result of injury, player suspension and the fatigue of a long season.  They’re operational issues, not strategic ones. The headlines aren’t telling the full story.

In my opinion, there are four significant issues contributing to a labour shortage in family business right now:

  1. The Absence of Forward Thinking – essentially, the inability or unwillingness of family business owners and managers to model, up to two years out, what staff they’ll need in their business of tomorrow.
  2. An Advanced Skills Gap – contributed to (significantly in my opinion) by the poor internal development of people – and not just their technical skills.
  3. The lack of or, in some cases, the non existence of a robust Performance Management process – which is very pronounced particularly in the first six months of employment.
  4. An underinvestment in Formalised Processes & Procedures – which invariably leads to people doing things their own way in your business, creating nothing short of mayhem in most of them.

As the shutter comes down on a year like no other in our lifetime, and the dawn light of 2021 peers over the horizon, the Christmas break presents all owners and managers with the ability to stop, reflect and think about the new year ahead.

After 30 plus years of working with family business, I can confidently state that the best plans, backed by the best money and with the best of intentions, all count for nothing unless you have the best people working in your business.

You can’t expect to pick the grapes and count on a bumper harvest unless a lot of planning, and a bit of luck, go your way over a number of years. The same applies with your people.

When you crack open a Hunter Valley Shiraz or a Mornington Peninsula Pinot Gris this Christmas/New Year break, take a moment to think about your people and what you can do to help them be the best they possibly can, for themselves and for your family business, in 2021. 

Invest the time and resources in your people in 2021 to maximise the potential that truly exists in your family business. Without them, what do you have?