Morale matters: Keeping the right skilled staff

Morale matters: Keeping the right skilled staff

Maintaining a happy workforce is more critical now than ever before

If the IT industry isn’t already in a skills crisis, it is headed to one shortly. Excom Education shut its doors, bringing in overseas talent has become more difficult thanks to 457 visa changes over the years, and reports from recruitment organisations such as Hays, Candle ICT and Manpower all point in the same direction – if you have good staff right now, you want to be keeping them.

So maintaining a happy workforce is more critical now than ever before, and it is something many industry leaders seem to understand. In the annual BRW Best Places to Work list, the IT industry fared just as well this year as it had previously, with a disproportionate number of IT organisations represented in the list. On top of that, vendor, NetApp, replaced Google at pole position, although the latter maintained a very respectable 4th.

Distribution Central landed in 22nd on that same list, sharing a sector-leading position with Hewitt Best of the Best award winner, Express Data, in a leadership position for HR practices amongst distributors.

At the reseller and integrator level Express Data parent, Dimension Data, as well as entrepreneurial organisations such as Thomas Duryea have also developed good reputations for running a tight, but happy ship.

They are all very different organisations that share a common thread within the organisation - a high level of morale. But despite some individualities in approach, what is perhaps most surprising is the common threads running through each HR policy.

“What’s important is people feel they are valued by their senior managers,” Right Management talent management managing principal, Jamie Sims, said.

Right Management is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manpower, a recruitment firm that just this month released a report claiming that employers are paring back growth plans for the year’s end, and hiring expectations are dropping for the first time this year – reinforcing the need to hang on to existing staff.

Sims said there are few surprises when it comes to finding a winning HR formula, but nevertheless it is something that can, and does go wrong.

Workers want a sense of value synchronisation – they want to know that their personal values are reflected in the values of the organisation. They want career opportunities, a work/ life balance and an adequate level of two-way communication from senior management to the workers.

“What managers often forget is that it’s not just about pushing information down, it’s about making sure you have the mechanisms within the organisation for employees to provide you with feedback,” Sims said.

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