Interesting times are ahead of us.
I was listening to the ABC Offsiders programme on the weekend and there was a discussion around the challenges facing the Aged Care sector here in Australia. Almost all the commentary was around wages levels, the lack of skilled workers, the lack of career progression compared to other health services, and of course, what are the politicians going to do about it?
Another discussion on ABC was about how 20% of people had moved jobs since the start of the pandemic; adding to the recent narrative – The Great Resignation.
Clearly this is a concern for any company. Personally, I am convinced that employee retention is one of the most important metrics a company should measure. But what is the answer to the so-called ‘Great Resignation’?
To me it’s simple. If we leave it to the politicians, there will be no long-term solution. They are short term thinkers by nature of the three-year term and election cycle they reside in. As employers, we need to find solutions to these challenges ourselves.
We need to transition from reactive, to proactive.
A multi-faceted approach is required to:
- Increase retention
- Attract workers from competing employers
- Create a new marketplace for workers.
In this blog I want to focus on the ‘new marketplace’, and how you can access this in an optimised way.
What is the new marketplace?
We define the new marketplace as workers, male and female, that have prior skills and experience but are not able to hold down permanent roles due to family commitments.
Often termed the ‘hidden unemployed’, research suggests that in Australia there are 400,000 to 500,000 stay-at-home mums and dads aged between 25 and 44 who want to go back to work but can’t find employment that suits their needs.
This represents a tremendous opportunity for employers.
When considering the upwards pressure on the cost of living, this hidden unemployment group is particularly motivated to re-enter the workforce, and yet as counter intuitive as it sounds, hourly rates are far less important than work schedules that enable them to continue to meet their family commitments.
How can employers take advantage of this?
Employers need to find models to communicate with this group quickly and effectively; upskill and pre-induct them, as well as developing schedules that meet the requirement for service quality, cost effectiveness and worker preference.
In the past such a goal of operational effectiveness – quality and price while embracing worker preference – has been mutually exclusive. Employing 4 people for 10 hours a week was always much more costly than 1 person for 40 hours. Onboarding, compliance, and training costs simply stopped these initiatives at the gate.
This is not the case anymore. Automated recruitment, onboarding, training programs, and payroll processing including direct integration from payrolls for tax reporting have reduced this cost to the point where it is no longer linear.
Enable greater efficiency by tapping into the hidden unemployed
Efficiency comes from employing the 40 hours more creatively, delivering the work when it is required by the appropriately skilled and available workers.
Employers can enjoy a 3-point advantage – addressing the skill gap by tapping into the hidden unemployment, reducing the cost of service by directly matching the delivery services to optimum service delivery time, and improving service outcomes.
How can an employer do this in practice?
What is the demand for service, and when can that service be best performed? How do we then identify the right skilled workers whose preference and availability matches the optimum service delivery; and all the while ensuring award conditions and fatigue are respected?
Well, as I always tell my wife and daughter (much to their dismay), the answer to everything is in the math. Using complex algorithms and optimisation tools these complex decisions can be made concurrently with all constraints considered.
Organisations can now have their cake and eat it too.
With intelligent workforce management tools in place, accessing the hidden workers, providing choice to meet their specific circumstances and having them working when the need is greatest is simple.
Now, more than ever, is the time to move from reactive to proactive and grab the advantage.
If you are looking for a place to start, please get in touch.