Not being able to hire people with the required skills is an obvious impediment to the productivity and prosperity of any organisation and, ultimately, to a country’s economy. An equally important concern for employers is how to keep skilled employees and how to use their skills fully.

This report, To have and to hold: Retaining and utilising skilled people by Andy Smith, Eddie Oczkowski and Chris Selby Smith, examines the ways in which Australian employers retain skilled staff at a time of low unemployment and skills shortages. It also considers the ways in which employers enhance their ability to use the skills of their people. The study analysed retention and utilisation at the organisation level. Its focus is on the role of human resource management practices, including training and high-performance work practices, in enabling employers to retain and utilise the skills of their staff.

Key messages…

ß The key driver for both skills retention and utilisation is the presence of a learning orientation in the organisation. People stay in organisations if they feel they are learning and progressing in their careers.

ß Retention or utilisation of skilled people is not necessarily improved through strategies such as increasing wages, adopting family-friendly working policies, and the use of non-monetary rewards. These things help make people feel satisfied, but they are not sufficient to retain skilled people in a tight labour market.

ß What does facilitate retention is the application of high-performance work practices such as a commitment to learning, open-mindedness and shared vision. More widespread adoption of these practices would benefit employers and workers alike.

ß Training as part of an overall learning culture, particularly nationally recognised training, is also important in retaining skilled people and making better use of their skills. This also offers opportunities for registered training organisations to work with employers to improve retention and utilisation strategies for employees.

Tom Karmel
Managing Director, NCVER

To read this rather interesting report, click here

What I wanted to highlight to you in this report is this, developing your people is key (and that actually includes yourself also). Regardless of the size of operation you either own, or are a part of, the message is the same. Whilst this report is worded to address corporate speak and size, make no mistake… the message is just as important to a 2-person operation as it is to a 20,000-strong one.

If you have people working with you, then I encourage you to read this, digest it, and then translate it into your particular situation. If you need a hand with this, let me know…

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