Will you be able to retain your staff in 2018?


Have you done all you can to retain your team in 2018?

Firstly, Happy New Year!  I hope 2018 proves to be highly successful for you and your business.

Most metals enjoyed a strong finish to 2017, with Gold above US$1300 per ounce, Copper sitting at US$7253 per tonne and even Nickel sitting back at US$12,700 per tonne – after spending most of the year languishing around US$10,000 per tonne or lower. Whilst we all know how volatile commodity prices can be, there is no denying the long upward trend in the fortunes of the industry that started early in 2017. 

What does this mean to you and your business?

For starters, the improved commodity prices will mean additional cash flow and profitability for the sector. Additionally, companies are eyeing off expansions, the re-opening of mothballed operations, and even the development of new mines. It all sounds pretty exciting, particularly if you add in factors like the Lithium sector, which is just starting to gather momentum here in Australia.

From an employee perspective, there are going to be a whole lot more career opportunities opening up. So, while there are still unemployed mining staff, you can realistically expect some of your people to be tempted by a relative bonanza of job opportunities. We are seeing it already, with companies reporting much higher staff turnover than at any time since 2013.

So what does this mean for you?

If you are working within a business that didn’t cost-cut and minimise their retention strategies in the downturn, then you are in a fortunate position. However, if your business was like most, then you may realistically expect to suffer some unplanned staff turnover pain in the next 12 months.   

Retention strategies are generally long-term policies, and work best when used that way. It takes time for employees to fully appreciate the benefits on offer. So while your company may have reduced some of these benefits in order to survive, there are things you can do now to mitigate the chances of losing your key team members:

  • Reward and recognise - Employees want to not only know they are being paid what they are worth, but that their efforts are appreciated and recognised. So you need to keep an eye on the market and make sure the salaries your company is paying are on the button. Aside from that, frequently recognising and rewarding good work is one of the easiest and most powerful staff retention strategies. Taking time to say ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ makes people feel valued. It’s especially true when accompanied by appropriate monetary rewards such as a salary increase or a bonus or non-monetary incentives, like the opportunity to lead a new project.

  • Offer opportunities for growth and advancement – One of the biggest drivers for people in the workplace is the opportunity for career progression. If an employee doesn’t see any chance to advance their career, they’re likely to go looking elsewhere. Offering new projects and challenges to high performers is the key to keeping them. You should organise meetings to discuss their goals and what skills they’d like to develop to see if you can offer them appropriate avenues.

Hopefully your team is fully engaged for this year and beyond. If, however, you find yourself seeking a replacement (or even someone for a newly-created role) then please feel free to contact the team at MPi.

Tony Turton
Mining People International