Every business today is striving to find the right staff to fill its roles and help it grow. So what makes some workplaces better than others?

It’s a topic that is vital to Brennan IT, because in a hyper-competitive space like IT managed services, the competition for talent is especially intense.

We all know that pay packets are only one part of the equation – and in many cases, not even the most important part. Here at Brennan IT, we believe that a great workplace culture is the key to creating a business that will attract and retain the best of the best.

So our workplace policies revolve around four key ideas or pillars that see us striving to provide our employees with:

  • Challenging work
  • Ongoing training and development
  • Scope to progress
  • A fun workplace

Challenging work

Challenging work is intellectually stimulating, so offering this to potential candidates is important. We don’t hire ‘siloed’ people, we need them to be generalists. Our teams have to be adaptable because they all work across a variety of clients’ environments. And every client is different – different size, different infrastructure, different goals, challenges and strategies. So our team members have to be quick on the uptake, with enough technical smarts to learn new environments and enough business savvy to understand the customer’s bigger objectives and help mature their systems so they can reach them.

It’s not just a challenging workplace for the technical teams. Our support teams are a little more specialised but they’re still required to be multi-skilled, turning their hands to new tasks and new tools as needed. We find this to be a major factor in attracting people to work with us.

Ongoing training and development

We have a certification incentive for technical staff and a skills matrix for non-technical staff. This helps to keep our team members fresh and interested. There are cash incentives for passing technical exams and we pay for all approved staff training.

This provides multiple benefits: it’s appealing to staff and so helps us attract and retain the best people; it’s good for our customers who benefit from motivated, highly skilled team members; and it’s good or our bottom line because we have less turnover and better continuity of employment and customer service.

We have placed a focus on learning & development for a long time and the strategy has become part of our makeup; a recent brand survey that our marketing team undertook showed Brennan IT is considered a great place to learn and grow by our peers.

Scope to progress

We think it’s important to provide room to move in all directions and we’re always open to ‘horizontal’ moves, like switching from a pure technology role to pre-sales or marketing. It’s a good way to keep great team members with us, providing opportunities for staff who might be feeling stale in their current role and wanting a change.

As it works in the best interests of both staff and our recruitment team, it’s a tip we would recommend; especially if staff retention is a problem for you.

When it comes to internal promotions, whether horizontal or vertical, we don’t look at how long someone has been with us. We just want the best person for the job. If we can’t find that person internally, only then will we look outside the business for a new hire.

A fun work environment

We know that people do better work, stay longer and build better relationships when they enjoy their workplace and the company of their colleagues. Our offices in each state have a social club that runs events like harbour cruises, wine region tours, comedy nights etc. Partners are welcome and it’s a great way to help team members get to know and understand each other better. Plus, we work hard so it’s good to get out and celebrate.

We also have monthly culture awards and our ‘Daredevils’ incentive program, which is measured at the end of every financial year. Essentially, any staff member who exceeds their primary KPI target by 120 per cent and no less than 50% of their remaining KPIs gets to enjoy an all-expenses paid international holiday and be recognised as part of the Daredevils Club.

While this incentive may not be for every organisation, it has proven really successful for us and is always a conversation point at interviews with candidates. To stay competitive, make sure you are offering more than just the standard remuneration package.

The right tools

Beyond this, there’s plenty more you can do to lift your workplace from good to great. Being a technology company, for example, we’re always mindful of the tools we provide our workforce. Offering candidates an up to date set of hardware and software tools has proven attractive, especially for our younger audience.

This is true of most companies today; with so much modern technology accessible to people in their personal lives, they expect the same in their workplace. But consider the type of people you want to attract to your organisation and make sure you are offering what they want.

The personal touch

It’s also important for Managers to stay engaged with their staff. Every fortnight, Stephen Sims (our CEO) invites a handful of team members from different departments out to lunch. It’s a fantastic opportunity for him to get to the know the teams – and vice-versa. It also lets staff put forward ideas and suggestions for improvement, and for Stephen to get unmediated feedback in an open forum.

Ultimately, it all comes down to understanding your organisation and the people that make it up, so that you can create an attractive offering to your future colleagues. We have found a blueprint that works for us; whether it’s training, opportunities, progression, a sense of fun or the ability to have their voice heard, we are committed to offering this to our people.

Know what your people want, what drives them and what they value, only then will you win the recruitment race.

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