Fight for talented staff looms in 2014

Businesses are getting plenty of advice this week as the working year starts. Business editor Dene Mackenzie looks at some of the advice on offer.

This year, New Zealand is expected to have the ''rock star economy'' of the world with growth set to top the OECD. All sorts of agencies are providing some how-to advice so businesses can take full advantage of any growth.

Randstad New Zealand director Paul Robinson said while steady, sustainable growth might be the main resolution for many businesses this year, achieving a new year's resolution required consistent focus.

Challenging business conditions in a stagnating economy had seen many organisations looking to solidify their market position in the last 12 months, rather than looking forward to the next stage of growth.

''It's clear businesses won't stay in this holding pattern for long, especially with the surging economies of neighbouring countries creating more competition for business. This will see an added fight for customer loyalty, market share, and perhaps the greatest battleground with the fight for talent.''

Ensuring a 2014 workforce was made up of the best and brightest talent who were happy, engaged and motivated to perform, businesses needed to invest in their staff, make them feel valued and proud to work for the business. Businesses also needed to find ways to stand out from the competition, Mr Robinson said.

MYOB chief executive Tim Reed said January was the ideal time to reflect and tackle

new strategies and goals instead of taking a ''business as usual'' approach.

Operators who committed to clarifying their priorities early would likely reap the rewards. It could mean the difference between flourishing and floundering.

''Set some specific and inspiring goals around key areas of your business you wish to develop. Begin by asking yourself what you will stop doing as well as start doing in 2014.''

However, it may not be all plain sailing for employers, judging by the Hudson Report, which monitors employment trends. The report showed hiring expectations dipped slightly in the three months ended December. Hiring intentions were down 2.9% from the September quarter's five-year high.

The drop came despite New Zealand's economic indicators showing organisations were well positioned for 2014 as a result of strengthening business confidence and solid economic expansion, Roman Rogers, executive general manager of Hudson New Zealand, said.

Nearly two-thirds of the more than 1000 employers surveyed said they intended to keep staffing levels steady this quarter.

''Although indicators suggest another year of continued economic growth, employers are cautious and remain hesitant to commit to a new head count, particularly with the eye to the performance of the Australian economy.

''The employment market remains tight, so employers' ability to find the people and skill sets they need to take advantage of the more confident economic conditions will be critical to getting ahead in the next 12 months,'' he said.

The labour marker was still subject to fluctuations in demand, so the challenge for employers in 2014 would be to navigate the change from a pure focus on productivity to pursuing new growth opportunities and making the decision to take on new staff.

Hiring intentions in the South Island remained the strongest across the regions with 49% of employers intending to increase staff numbers, largely driven by Canterbury, Mr Rogers said.


Resolutions for 2014



1) Keep focus on your employer brand. Business leaders will need to look at how to attract the best people while also holding on to their stars.

2) Place workforce considerations at the top of business conversations. Every business leader will be looking at how to manage their existing workforce and maximise resources while positioning for growth. The aim is to ensure the business has the right people and human capital plans in place to achieve your goals.

3) Ensure your organisation is inclusive. Ensuring your business is set to cater to a multidimensional workforce will be key to any ongoing success. Diversity is not limited to the talent you hire, it extends to the ways in which employees want to work.



1) Learn from last year's hits and misses. What changes can you make to ensure mistakes are not repeated and opportunities are not missed.

2) Stay on the business track. A solid business plan will help you make better business decisions about the strategies needed to continue to operate and grow.

3) Do not try to be all things to all people. Wearing multiple hats can be exhausting. Outsource tasks you loathe so you can spend more time growing the business.

4) Grow to love your numbers. Learn about profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash-flow statements and do not shy away from the numbers.

5) Do not be afraid to embrace technology. Cloud-based accounting software, convenient mobile apps, online business management tools - today's business tools - can save time and drive efficiency.


Add a Comment