As we launch full on into another year (doesn’t time go quickly?!) I thought I would reflect on what our clients have told us through the last quarter of 2017 when we asked this simple question:

“What people challenges are you going to face in the next 12-18 months?”

From the responses there seems to be some key themes resonating:

  1. Attracting the right Talent that align to values / culture
  2. Agility – coping with change and market volatility
  3. Performance and accountability
  4. Retaining and Development of existing employees

These are not new issues that organisations are facing but the following themes around talent keep coming up in our data from our Employee Life product and our conversations with our clients.

This is not sector specific or location specific

1. Attracting the right Talent that align to values / culture

It seems like the tide is turning and that those ‘in demand’ candidates are more likely to have multiple offers in their inbox.

Business confidence is up, Education / Health /Aged Care / Mining and Resources / Fintech… all areas from our contacts have growth plans and the traditional recruitment methods are attracting candidates in volume but not necessarily the right skills, attitude or cultural fit.


  • Ensure your EVP is strong
  • Ensure your line managers are aligned to HR practices and corporate values
  • Your Position Descriptions are accurate and reflect the real position
  • Your recruitment process is robust but not onerous – time to hire is killer!

2. Agility – coping with change and market volatility

Change is with us and will be with us through 2018!

Technology, Artificial Intelligence, market changes, organisational changes are only going to increase in 2018 but we continually hear that employees are not embracing change or struggle with the rapid pace of change.


  • Assess your people on their Resilience, Emotional Intelligence, Coping style
  • Communicate and communicate as much as you can
  • Set clear expectations and goals through a change agenda
  • Keep them busy – it is amazing the difference it makes when peoples are focused, productive and do not have the capacity to question!

3. Performance and Accountability

This I think is still the number one hot topic – it has been discussed for a number of years now but the majority of organisations are still transitioning or looking to transition their performance framework. Performance has to be a day-to day thing, not a once a year thing!

Performance is directly linked to accountability – get your employees to do what they say they are going to do. There seems to be a significant skills gap at the management / supervisory level of having those hard conversations and setting clear, specific, measurable goals.


  • Check out Employee Life or other goal based performance tools
  • Train your managers to set goals effectively, regularly and make their team accountable
  • Do not accept underperformance for too long
  • Seek individual motivations
  • Ensure each employee knows why and how they are helping the business

4. Retaining and Development of existing employees  

It seems that many organisations have an increased L&D budget in 2018.

Employees are craving development – as the market turns and there are more opportunities it is imperative that you look at your career development or internal mobility / cross project collaboration to retain and develop your key employees.


  • Identify what your employees want
  • Adopt a two-way approach – self-learning is on the up!
  • Like performance conversations, adopt a development program – quarterly, not annually!
  • Invest in your people – after all, an organisation’s people are still the biggest asset and biggest cost.

As you enter another full calendar year, if you haven’t already asked yourself the question of what your people challenges are then please take the time to do so.

If you have then I would love to hear your thoughts on the above 4 key points, if this is reflective of your organisation and any further tips that you have on facing these challenges!

Happy 2018!

Stephen Cushion – General Manager Consulting

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