Keep your business growing: The three Rs of keeping the best talent

- October 13, 2022 5 MIN READ

Attracting and keeping great staff is a challenge for many business in the current skills shortage climate. Ben Lipschitz, CEO and cofounder of FoodByUs, explains the three Rs of finding the best talent for your team.

With ABS data revealing that almost one-third of Australian businesses are having difficulty finding staff, everyone’s greatest pain point right now is recruitment. In tech startups especially, there are many more jobs than skilled applicants.

If you can’t hire, you can’t grow. Add in natural attrition, and there’s a real prospect that in a retail market that’s moving forward, your organisation can be stuck in reverse.

Getting your organisation moving in the right direction calls for a three-part strategy – recruitment, retention and referral. 

Recruit well, reap the benefits

Our recruitment channels, like most, include online job adverts and recruiters to attract talent. But that’s not the actual starting point. Even before you have begun to recruit, know that those who are potentially looking for roles are researching your organisation – and potentially you as a founder – before an interview even begins.

We openly recognise that if a candidate is applying for a role with us, they’re likely to be applying for a few other positions at the same time. We openly ask what other roles they’re applying for – not to be nosy, but to genuinely understand what their interests are and how they are weighing up opportunities.

Man and woman in job interview shaking hands

Transparency is important on all sides, in order to make sure the candidate has all the facts they need to make the best decision for their situation. It’s a mistake for any hiring manager to assume that you don’t need to be open to their interviewing of you, as much as you’re interviewing them.

We also don’t shy away from a robust interview process. One example is that FoodByUs gives practical exams to all of our candidates that demonstrate their problem-solving abilities. For example, web developers do a practical programming exam, while marketing candidates may be asked to create content (such as an Instagram post) and explain the thinking to our team.

This offers us an invaluable insight into their abilities but also presents an opportunity for the candidates to showcase their skillset when applied to an exact role. It’s definitely more engaging and illuminating than only asking standard “tell us about a time when you …” questions. We’ve also received some great feedback from candidates about how impressed they are by this process as it not only gives them an opportunity to showcase their skills, but also shows our commitment to finding the very best talent to join our team. We’re often told that by the time an offer is made, it’s like they’re already part of the team.

We also work with the candidate to define their career progression opportunities very clearly, so they leave the interview understanding exactly what a career with FoodByUs looks like. Giving young people a kick-start to their careers is something I’m passionate about and has long been ingrained in our culture.

We took this to the next level in 2021 when we introduced a program to provide our junior phone-based sales reps with a clear path for progression, and equipping them with the skills to be a successful field-based sales rep. It’s targeted at graduates or individuals looking for an opportunity in sales, but without much or any sales experience. So far we’ve hired eight people through this program, which also allows us to train good habits from day one.

Supportive boss with hand on employee's shoulder

Retain rather than replace

It costs a lot more to replace an employee than to keep one, so it’s an absolute no-brainer to make a significant investment in upskilling and career progression for existing staff.

A 2015 report by LinkedIn, Why and How People Change Jobs, surveyed 10,500 job changers globally. It found that career development – or lack thereof – was easily the most important factor in their decision to leave one company (45 per cent) and join another (59 per cent).

Many organisations, consumed in the day-to-day challenges of building a business, don’t prioritise staff development. Staff who can’t see their career moving forward will look elsewhere for better opportunities or more money. The result is a revolving door policy, with all the associated costs and disruption of having to go back out into the market to start the cycle over again.

Managers should always have the general market in mind where staff may have a better opportunity elsewhere, and then the business must work to understand what those opportunities are and how they may improve on them. Whether it is salary, training, a shift in responsibilities or a promotion, being ahead of your employees on this one will see top performers constantly challenged and satisfied.

Like any form of relationship management, employee retention needs careful consideration and regular maintenance. For us, it begins with creating a career map in the job interview, and then we follow through with opportunities to lead and grow that help our people extract the best from themselves.

Happy employees celebrating

Utilise the power of referrals

Whilst traditional channels still hold a lot of merit, they’re not the only way to find and attract talent.

Word-of-mouth referrals have long been a powerful tool for attracting customers, but it also works in locating potential new hires. Loop your team into communications about your recruitment goals. When your team is engaged and incentivised, they’re more likely to tell their friends and associates about upcoming opportunities. FoodByUs has a formal scheme in place that rewards employees for referrals, and this year we have hired several people from our referrals program.

Also, ensure your online presence is up to scratch across company channels such as LinkedIn, your website, socials and review sites like Glassdoor. I was initially surprised in several interviews with prospective candidates when they spoke about my personal or company profile on LinkedIn, hearing me speak on a podcast, or quoting back to me something I wrote in an article like this.

With the most desirable candidates able to pick and choose between great roles, you need to maximise every opportunity to create a good impression to stand out from the crowd.

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