Nine things employers can do to attract and retain great talent

06 Jul 2018 Employee Experience

Chief People Officer, Jodie King shares how our employer brand and employee experience is continually evolving.

I am thrilled Air New Zealand has been named New Zealand’s most attractive employer in the annual Randstad Employer Brand Awards for a record fifth year. The award has a tangible impact on our ability to compete for great talent both here in New Zealand and globally. Because I’m often asked what it is that makes Air New Zealand attractive to candidates, I thought I would share what’s worked for us to date. Of course, like most other organisations we’re on a journey, and our employer brand and employee experience is continually evolving.

1.   Focus on the employee experience

It’s more than a buzzword – it’s here to stay. At Air New Zealand, we believe the best customer experiences start with the best employee experiences. This has meant focusing on the core principles of simplicity, transparency and personalisation. It also means acknowledging one size does not fit all.

Continually working to improve the employee experience is also a big lever in future-proofing and protecting the world-class culture which is the foundation of our business.

2.   Get clear on your employer brand

Building a great culture starts with attracting and recruiting diverse talent, and then developing that talent throughout their career.

Your employer brand proposition is exceptionally important when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. People have always been at the heart of Air New Zealand’s success, so our future success is naturally dependent on us being able to attract, retain and develop the best talent in the market.

3.   Make employee engagement a business priority

At Air New Zealand we believe superior commercial results, an enhanced customer experience and an engaged culture are all linked. That means it should be ‘and’ – not ‘or’, when it comes to prioritising the three. It’s like a three-legged stool – the balance has to be split equally between all three legs for the magic to happen.

4.   Invest in your people

Developing our people and building internal talent pipelines is core to our performance, and our talent development approach and programmes reflect the varying needs of our diverse workforce. We have invested heavily in lifting leadership capability through both inhouse and external development programmes. As a result, our people are actively engaged and motivated to provide an excellent service for our customers.

5.   Drive collaboration

High Performance Engagement (HPE) has been a fantastic success story for Air New Zealand, setting the tone for collaboration at all levels of the organisation. Employees have direct and substantive involvement in problem solving, initiating improvements and the decision-making process, which has led to an increase in collaboration scores in our regular employee engagement survey. HPE has also driven stronger relationships with our union partners.

6.   Build a high performance culture

Having a strong performance management culture in place is critical to ensuring you get the very best out of employees, and they get the very best out of your organisation – it’s a two-way street. However, it’s not only about what is being achieved, there should also be a focus on how outcomes are reached – including being a team player, stepping up to challenges, operating with a customer focus and being accountable and responsible.

7.   Actively promote diversity and inclusion

Diverse and inclusive organisations are better for business. It’s a no-brainer. But it’s not enough to set up employee networks and leave it at that. Really successful organisations lead from the top when it comes to diversity and inclusion. This includes building cultural fluency in leaders, and placing a diversity lens across all aspects of our business to ensure we’re accurately reflecting our wider community.

8.   Connect employees to your company purpose

Employees have a strong desire to connect with company strategy and purpose and understand how their own role plays a part in helping our business to be successful. 

The ever-eloquent Simon Sinek sums it up well: “Directions are instructions given to explain how. Direction is a vision offered to explain why. Leaders serve as a compass. They point a direction – they lead. Those who believe in that direction will join the cause to build that world (company) we imagine.”

9.   Look to the future

Change really is the only constant, so it’s important we don’t rest on our laurels when it comes to attracting and retaining great talent. The reality is, while Air New Zealand is clearly a Kiwi company, we are going to be competing more and more with global organisations for talent as the way people choose to work continues to change. It’s already happening – as technology evolves at an increasingly rapid rate, geographical location is becoming less of a barrier, with freelancers working for multiple employers all around the world for better job security and plenty of variety. Adaptability and agility are absolutely key to attracting – and keeping – great talent into the future.

Learn more about career opportunities at Air New Zealand.

This post was original published on Linkedin.

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