Communications can refer to advertising, marketing and PR, but that doesn’t mean it’s just for new clients. The first stakeholder any brand should consider marketing to or shaping the perception of is their staff – their internal team. Team members are a brand’s greatest advocate (or at least, they should be!).
While all industries can benefit from a robust internal communications approach, the staggering numbers reported in the 2023 Skills Australia Report highlight an immediate and apparent need to introduce professional or corporate communications in trade businesses.
The report tells us that a near-record high of 64% of employers are recruiting primarily to replace outgoing staff. Given high turnover rates affect the continuity of projects, cost money to recruit and train, and can negatively affect a company’s reputation, we’ve compiled not only the reasons why trade businesses need to implement solid corporate communications but also how.
The Cost of Turnover for Businesses
High staff turnover comes at a significant cost to businesses across the trade industry. These costs include:
- Financial Drain: The recruitment process financially taxes businesses – from advertising job openings to onboarding and training new employees.
- Reduced Productivity: New hires often take time to reach the same level of productivity as experienced employees. This lag can disrupt project timelines, impacting client satisfaction.
- Lost Knowledge and Expertise: With each departing employee, businesses lose valuable knowledge, skills, and experience that are challenging to replace.
- Reputation Damage: High turnover rates can tarnish a company’s reputation. It may signal organisational instability, potentially deterring potential clients and skilled workers.
Corporate Communication Strategies to Improve Staff Retention
While a host of operational, training, and leadership strategies may need to be developed, one tactic, in particular, can umbrella each of these disciplines and create reasonably quick traction.
Corporate communications for trade businesses help to attract and retain skilled employees, create a happier and more productive workforce, and build a library of assets for future marketing.
How Corporate Communications Can Help Trades
- Feedback Mechanisms: All good communication programs start with benchmarking where things are today and where the business wants them to be. Effective feedback mechanisms, such as regular surveys and suggestion boxes, are a great, low-cost way to elicit feedback, as are 1:1 interviews or small group environments. If you survey staff every three or six months, they must be designed to extract the data required to make changes.
- Intranet Platforms: An intranet is a central hub for sharing essential updates, company news, and resources. It fosters a sense of community among employees, keeping them informed, engaged, and aligned with the organisation’s objectives. The secret to a good intranet is to keep it updated regularly and use photography (not stock) to draw the reader in.
- Email Communication: Timely and personalised communication can bridge the gap between employees and management. Regular updates on company developments, project successes, and employee recognition can instil a sense of belonging and appreciation. Regardless of whether you do it via a newsletter or email copy, the subject line and a clear call to action are pivotal.
- Noticeboards: Physical or digital noticeboards can be creative avenues for celebrating employee achievements, showcasing career growth stories, and communicating important reminders. This transparency can boost morale and demonstrate the company’s investment in its workforce.
There are plenty more tactics, too. Consider how you use events, project or task management systems, posters, and social clubs.
Understanding the costs of turnover and the significance of a company’s reputation for existing and incoming employees in the trade industry is the first step toward making positive change. We can build a stronger, more sustainable trade industry by embracing communication strategies prioritising retention and reputation. It’s never too late to start.
At COPY CRED, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities within your industry and can provide tailored communication solutions to improve staff attraction and retention.
Contact us today to discuss your needs and explore how corporate and internal communications can help your trade business slash recruitment costs and retain good people.
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