Recently at The Personnel Group, we brought our leadership team and emerging leaders group together for our quarterly Leaders Meeting.
It was great as always to bring our leaders together for knowledge sharing and relationship building.
One presentation stood out to me as carrying a very significant message.
The leader of one of our most consistently high-performing teams spoke about her team, explaining they had a solid commitment to their clients and team identity, which meant they worked together to overcome barriers and challenges.
Not rocket science, right? A terrific insight came from this leader when she described her team as ‘professionals’, citing their deep experience, connections, and expertise.
Using that word – professional – in this context resonated strongly with me and gave me plenty of food for thought.
It made me think about the professionalism of our team and industry, and the correlation between professional behaviours and better outcomes for the clients we serve.
I believe professionalism comes from experience, quality training, and continued learning.
Consultants who have been around long enough to understand the system and its parameters have training in appropriate models and techniques.
They maintain a currency of knowledge in working with our caseload.
It also comes from the attitudes and behaviours of team members with high work standards.
At The Personnel Group, we are fortunate to have many experienced team members. As I cast my eye over our workforce, it becomes immediately apparent there is a direct correlation between the longevity of team members and the performance of their team.
Teams with more experienced, professional members routinely get better results than those without.
Concurrently new team members coming into experienced, professional teams are more likely to become high performing themselves.
Intrinsically connected to getting great results is customer service.
Clients or employers who receive support from experienced team members will generally have an excellent experience as they become deeply understood by their consultant over time. The consultant can leverage experience and relationships to the client’s advantage.
Routinely our industry receives feedback that the biggest frustration of our customers is repeatedly having to tell their story to yet another new consultant.
So, with such a clear link between industry longevity and performance, it surprises me that there isn’t more being discussed about the catastrophic impact turnover has on the sector’s broader performance.
Pre-COVID estimates indicated that more than a third of the employment services sector turns over every year, which would only have increased in the past two years.
I believe industry leaders need to start talking earnestly about a genuine plan for the sector’s workforce, focused on retention and improved expertise.
Perhaps standardised certification or qualification needs to be considered.
The Personnel Group is working with QUT and several other providers on a research project aimed at exploring industry workforce challenges and opportunities and would encourage other interested providers to contribute to this project.
Most significantly, though, Government must be cognisant that current procurement models and the frequent flux of providers entering and exiting the market have contributed to this problem.
There must be a better way than the current revolving door of providers that creates a confused marketplace, and an uncertain labour force.