Avoid having your skilled employees poached by a competitor business.
You’ve managed to recruit enough skilled employees to ensure your projects are able to continue (or at least to avoid delays), you’ve completed the onsite training and you are looking forward to continuance – then one or more of them gets picked up by a competitor.
Employee poaching for skills is more common at present, due to border restrictions. Most employers think it’s all about the money for the employees (and sometimes it may be in the initial instance – every employee wants to be paid more), but there are other things that cause employees to turn down new job opportunities, and they may not even be benefit related.
Make sure your wages are at industry rates
As far as skilled workers go, Immigration NZ ruled that wages outside of the industry pay band are not allowed, so the first thing to consider is where your pay is on that scale and make sure that you are paying industry standards.
Once you are confident that your wages are in the band, you could consider bonus related schemes to take the employee(s) to the top end of that band when your projects or project sections are completed on time, so that you only pay top rates if the performance is optimum. Do make sure however that you are very clear with your definitions, timelines and standards of completion and that you are able to remove or adjust for obstacles out of their control.
What incentives are there outside of wages?
Employers commonly underestimate the power of team building in building loyalty – especially when it comes to migrants in the NZ work force.
People really prefer to stay with something they are familiar with – skilled migrants in particular prefer to stay with the same team during their stay in New Zealand – they form a whanau here and bond strongly if the situation allows for this.
Smart employers foster the ‘work family’ idea and create strong employee interrelationships in the workforce.
This can be simple team building exercises, or it can be buddy-processes for onboarding where you buddy each new person with an existing employee.
After work barbeques on a Friday afternoon even once a month are a great idea, dart games, quiz nights, fun Bingo games – any function that does not revolve around alcohol & is only a couple of hours long will contribute more than you realise to employee morale and does not take a lot of effort to arrange.
Taking care of employees
Another aspect of being a good employer and taking care of people can include things like on site flu vaccines, or any form of health check for the team. Providing a basket or box of fruit once in a while for the workplace of shouting a healthy kiwi style lunch or morning tea after project sections have been completed as your thank you will be very much welcome – again, boosting team morale based on achievements & placing positive focus on results.
Regular performance appraisals, both formal and informal are a key aspect of making people feel like they know what is required of them and that they are contributing to a winning outcome. No other thing motivates people more – and it’s surprisingly not connected to pay, once pay requirements & expectations are met.
Being available for employees
As part of the employee feedback and open communication process, employers or managers need to be available for employees. The ‘door open’ policy or having a process for people to approach an appropriate level of management & allowing them to feel heard will often be key to avoiding losing someone from the team.
Employees are not always about money and the more connection points you build for them to you, your mission and to each other outside of the money they take home, the less likely they will be to take the risk of working for someone else.