22 Jun 2012

Working Smart – How to find, inspire and keep good staff

Yahoo Google and most Silicon Valley firms face a skills shortage not unlike the technical production industry. But with profits per worker as high as $2.2 million per worker (Apple) and averaging $208,000 across the board, the comparison is not financial. Most tech production workers account for as little as a few thousand in net profits, despite some AV workers being charged out at $65 and hour while being paid less than half that.

The big money guys have some unique tactics to attract people. Like a competitor putting a Taco truck outside your place, and giving free Taco’s in exchange for a resume!

Google put new hires through a six week induction, then ask them what job they would like to do. Imagine that?

Online shoe store Zappo actually offer  new recruits $3,000 to quit, reasoning that a bad customer service person could cost a lot more. They say 2 or 3 percent actually take the money and go.

CX didn’t think of Delta Airlines as a good employer, yet the company is run on a value set that encourages connection with staff. CX took four Delta flights in June, and we think Delta are a step ahead of AA or United.

Facebook installed a laundomat, to encourage employee strangers to collaborate while they waited for their clothes to dry. Google encourage staff to try a different job, and if they like it, to stay in that team.

Best Buy – an electronics retailer – encourage head office staff to work wherever they like, the proviso being good results. They say their employee turnover is 45% less, and that a new hire at head office costs them $102,000 in time and recruiting before the staffer is fully productive.

Job sharing and job pace adjustment are both rare in Australia, but common in the smarter US firms. Job pace is where you dial down or up your workload (and pay) to balance life demands. At CX we all typically work a four day week, but this is spread as required. All of us have different start and end times, depending on commute and family.

The Toyota retrenchments in Melbourne this autumn drew fire because the firm chose who would go, based on a ranking system. Unions said factors like workplace injury and days off came into play. But the other time honored redundancy method of calling for volunteers usually results in the smartest and most employable staff leaving.

Finally many of the bigger corporates have teams hired by the project, with almost half of all hired for a set duration. This has upside for easy downturns, and if managed right allows them to cherry pick the star performers. Done wrong it is a disincentive for applicants who need a target and an achievable reward.




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