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How to Survive in a Boom: Building Your Employee Value Proposition

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How to Survive in a Boom: Building Your Employee Value Proposition

The building and construction industry is currently seeing rapid growth and increased demand while also dealing with a severe skills shortage, exacerbated by the closing of international borders due to the pandemic.

With so many trade businesses operating throughout Australia, the question all trade business owners need to ask themselves is why employees choose to work for them. Trade business owners are competing for not just customers and for work, but also for employees.  How do business owners ensure they are the employer of choice?

At Business Benchmark Group we call this an Employee Value Proposition. It’s the value that you deliver to your team.

Understanding your Employee Value Proposition

In order to engage and retain employees, business owners need to look at their business from an employee lens and ask why would someone want to work here? You should be able to clearly articulate why you and your business are employers of choice so that you attract A grade team.  

Here are our top tips on how to build your Employee Value Proposition.

Skills shortage Australia

The Tangible Factor

Let’s start with the obvious.  Tangible items are the more easily identifiable and obvious value propositions your business offers to its employees.

These items include salary, commissions, bonuses, overtime payments and other items which can be assigned a tangible number representing its value. Tangible items are some of the first things that employees  look at when  choosing a future employer.

When deciding how much to pay employees, it’s important to be paying at least the market rate for the role. It’s a business owner’s job to understand what the market is paying for a role.   

Research what is the going rate if you do not know.  Then go above what’s required by paying a little more to secure and retain high-achieving A-grade employees. 

The first step a business owner needs to take is to assess all the roles in their business, ascertain the market rate and then consider a strategic decision to consider raising the pay of the key team members in the business if that’s required. 

This protects the owner from being blindsided by team leaving because they have been offered more money with another business because they were underpaying their employees.  Boom times with a skills shortage is not the time to be shy with this strategy.

Employees are more likely to stay in a business where they can see their career progress and grow in a direction where they see themselves contributing, and being valued.

There is, of course, other strategies that need to be considered when increasing the HR expenses which we discussed in our previous articles

HBR

Doing a market valuation on the pay rates for roles is just the first step and it should be noted that 9/10 employees are willing to earn less if their work is more meaningful. When it comes to finding and retaining employees it should be noted that it’s not all about the money.

Intangible items are more important and these items such as healthy work culturegood work-life balance, empathy for employees, recognition, and the workplace environment.  So why do people want to work with you? What is the culture of your business?  Culture simply put is a set of standards that everyone adheres to.

Culture

Good employees will look for a cultural fit with the team and business owner. They look for teams who show respect to one another and towards clients, how they are able to share and learn from each other’s experience, if they show empathy for family-first attitudes and respect the responsibilities and decisions of their co-workers.

All this points towards a healthy work environment where the voice of each employee is heard and each of them are respected.

One of things employees value most is a healthy work-life balance.

Things to consider are working reasonable hours in line with their agreement, and not having to work long hours in the evening or during the weekend; ensuring the team are not driven too hard and therefore they become exhausted which can lead to mistakes at work or poor quality of life outside of work.

Scheduling the last jobs of the day to be closer to their home so that they are with their families at the end of the day is very valuable to employees.  They also appreciate having flexible work hours when required, and any overtime work will be paid or repaid in-kind with time off.

Another point that employees consider is how well looked after they are when carrying out their tasks.  As business owners, we have a duty of care to ensure that our team members are provided with the right equipment to remain safe whilst on site.  Is this a part of your culture?

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