People looking at a report on a laptop.

With a major skills shortage sweeping the country, talent retention has never been more important for Australia’s councils.

Local councils have become fertile hunting grounds for state, federal, and private employers looking to plug their talent gaps. Nine out of every ten councils are facing job and skills shortages, an increase of 30 per cent from just four years ago.

A lack of people inevitably has impacted on councils’ ability to deliver for the community, with two thirds of councils reporting that local projects are either impacted or delayed. As a result, hanging onto talent has become a burning platform for Australia’s local councils.

Focus on retention

AskYourTeam’s data offers insights for solving local government talent retention issues. The company has taken a deep dive into its local government clients’ onboarding and exit surveys to understand the gap between people’s expectations on arrival, versus their feelings after leaving.

It highlights two main areas of focus for retention; psychological safety – feeling safe to tell the truth even when it is unpopular – and manager’s support of their people. Waiting until people leave to find out how they feel about the organisation as a place to work is simply too late in the game to make a difference.

The organisation is likely to repeat the same mistakes with the next crop of new hires. Instead, AskYourTeam recommends asking regularly, and diving deep where issues are flagged. But getting this information can be challenging, particularly if people aren’t confident to speak up.

Psychological safety in anonymity

Psychological safety is a critical concept in the workplace, for workers and teams, and the people leading them. Giving people permission to be candid – without repercussions – even when delivering bad news, transforms culture, and delivers gold nuggets of insight.

AskYourTeam’s anonymised surveys and reporting can help to close the gap between employee expectations and experience, helping councils hang onto good people. Survey questions are based on factors proven by independent research to drive productivity and wellbeing. Smart reporting and ‘slice and dice’ analytics help identify exactly where the issues are to pinpoint where action needs to be focused.

Anonymity ‘bakes in’ psychological safety and gives people the freedom and ability to share their views; particularly important when it comes to sensitive issues such as bullying, harassment, or intimidating behaviour. While this might seem like a big ask, driving positive change in your council is easier than you think with a partner like AskYourTeam by your side.

Over the past ten years it has forged partnerships with 70 per cent of councils in New Zealand, understanding the challenges and supporting leaders at every step of the journey to transform their organisations.

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by AskYourTeam. For more information, go to askyourteam.com.

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