Employers neglect staff in downturn

Australian companies are failing to properly manage their staff, with employers pushing staff priorities to the bottom of the list due to the economic downturn, according to international recruitment firm, Robert Half.

“Managers have put so much emphasis on cost-cutting and delivering bottom-line efficiencies, that they’ve taken their eye off the ball and forgotten how to manage their greatest asset: their people,” said David Jones, Managing Director, Robert Half Asia-Pacific.

“While overall there has been a decrease in the number of candidates leaving existing jobs due to low confidence in the economy, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of strong candidates who come to us reporting manager issues as the main driver behind their departure.

“Their managers are panicking; they’re so worried about their own job security that they’re cutting staff pay and benefits without good reason and in some cases, without any justification as to why.”

This new trend puts at risk high levels of job loyalty that industries like accounting and finance have typically enjoyed. A recent employment survey conducted by Robert Half, showed that job loyalty is high in the accounting and finance industries, with 23 percent of staff expecting to stay in the same role with their current employer over the next five years; but many employers are taking this for granted.

“Unless employers put their people priorities back on the business radar, companies are at risk of losing their best talent. It is a well known fact that people don’t leave their company, they leave their line manager, so managers need to smarten up, appreciate the loyalty of their staff and take employees on an open and honest journey in the downturn because the better they can communicate now, the better placed the company will be when the market recovers.

“In times of economic downturn, it is essential that companies take a long-term view as business success is largely dependent on the ability of staff. Australia has faced a serious talent shortage in key areas such as finance and accounting for more than a decade and employers must keep this in mind,” said Jones.