As the CEO and Founder of Formbird, I am acutely aware of how changing times and demographic shifts can profoundly impact organisations. The COVID-19 pandemic and the fast-approaching wave of Baby Boomer retirements have fundamentally disrupted career timelines and workforce dynamics in regional councils across Australia.
Demographic Shifts and High Staff Turnover
In typical times, we’d expect a turnover rate of around 15% in rural councils. However, we are not in regular times. The pandemic and demographic shifts, particularly the trend of older workers, including many Baby Boomers, opting for early retirement, have seen turnover rates surpass 25 per cent in some councils, such as Moyne Shire Council in Victoria. It’s worth noting that when one partner retires, it’s common for the other partner to follow suit, adding to the churn.
This high turnover rate presents significant challenges in maintaining the quality of services, work efficiency, and retention of institutional knowledge. While factors like compensation and work culture play a role, it’s clear that the major driving forces behind this trend are primarily external and reflects broader societal changes.
How do we navigate these challenges and ensure business continuity in the interim? This is where innovative solutions like workforce management solutions come into play. These systems are critical for maintaining corporate knowledge, as they store essential data about a council’s operations, schedules, and maintenance. New employees can quickly access this information, reducing training time and ensuring operational knowledge is retained within the organisation.
Moreover, these systems can reinforce existing policies and procedures, which is vital for a council to ensure service delivery to ratepayers. By providing a consistent and reliable source of operational guidelines, workforce management solutions can ensure that service delivery quality and consistency remain unaffected even with a high turnover rate.
At Formbird, leveraging technology is critical to creating a more consistent and efficient work environment. By automating tasks and providing reliable data, workforce management solutions management systems can help new employees adapt quickly, ensuring council services run smoothly despite staff changes.
Beyond Technology: Enhancing Employee Satisfaction and Retention
However, technology alone is not the answer. Improving communication channels with employees, encouraging regular feedback, and offering flexible working hours and telecommuting options can also significantly increase employee satisfaction and retention.
As we navigate these tumultuous times, we must view these challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement. By implementing strategic changes and harnessing the power of technology, regional councils can ensure effective operations, continuity of services, and sustainable development.
Change can be challenging but can also catalyse innovation and progress. We can turn these challenges into opportunities, creating a more resilient and effective public service.