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Edition 322 – Cotton On To Cotton On

Last week’s edition of Growth was all about recruitment. This week, I’d like to focus on a point I’ve continued to labour through 2022.

In my opinion, too few small and family businesses are actually doing anything about employee retention, except paying their staff a regular wage. The flag I keep raising with every business I work with is that whilst ever you’re not focussing on means of employee retention, you are at risk of having your staff poached by businesses just like yours.

From a large corporate perspective, a recent article in the Australian Financial Review about the retailer, Cotton On, was a window into not only how to manage employee retention and the return of staff to head office, but what they’ve been doing over the past five years to create an “employer of choice” mindset in their business. Google the article, or if you can’t find it, flick me an email and I’ll send you a copy.

Whilst small and family businesses don’t have the resources to necessarily go to the extent of what larger businesses can do in terms of employee incentives and conditions, I’m surprised at just how little imagination is devoted to employee retention, with the often heard excuse “we’re just too busy right now”.  Some examples that I’ve observed and that are working:

  1. Investing heavily in new skills training, including time away at interstate courses to ramp up knowledge development.
  2. Going beyond the standard four weeks per annum annual leave for key people. Long ago, in my former business life, key members of staff were at five weeks per annum.
  3. Financial bonuses for achieving certain targets – be they revenue focussed or not.
  4. Flexible work arrangements around days per week, not necessarily working from home. Could your team do what they do in five days, in four?
  5. Paying employees their full wage whilst they are out of the business for a week or two each year, engaged in aid work, whether or not it is in their field of expertise.

The fact is, we’re now more than halfway through 2022. Busy businesses will continue to be busy which means most of them will devote little to no attention to employee retention. Ironically, these are the businesses that are heading for a financial cliff, for with reduced staff, they simply won’t be able to do the level of work they’re doing now.

This Week’s Tip

” Recruitment is an ongoing and multi pronged process. The sooner that business owners realise that,
the sooner they’ll have options regarding potential employees,
rather than merely accepting whomever has applied (and sometimes, that is only one person).”