By Danya Williams, Marketing Communications Manager, Frog Recruitment
There has been lot of discussion recently around the skills shortage debate, so Frog Recruitment decided to go the source of matter and find out how skills shortages were developing in New Zealand and the implications this might have for business growth.
Frog Recruitment recently completed a Skills Shortage Survey with business leaders representing over 91,000 employees across New Zealand. Business leaders ranging from CEOs, CFOs, Managing Directors, General Managers and HR Managers were from industries including IT, Education, FMCG, Banking & Finance, Healthcare, Import/Export, Manufacturing, Retail and Professional Services.
One of the first things we wanted to ascertain was exactly what New Zealand business leader’s main business priorities were for the next 1-5 years. Here are the 4 most prominent business strategies that developed from our conversations:
Not surprisingly, growth was the biggest priority above all else for the next 5 years, with 55% of respondents indicating that it is a major part of their business strategy.
New Zealand businesses are focusing on establishing new strategies within their business to promote growth and increase profitability both locally and through expansion overseas. This is in terms of income and clients, whilst achieving a satisfactory return for shareholders.
Ways in which survey participants will try and achieve this growth ranges from:
- Expanding off-shore manufacturing and reducing New Zealand manufacturing
- Identify new innovative business partners (globally)
- Protecting existing business area
- Explore new business opportunities and ways of keeping customers with changing technology
- Selective investments in profitable growth
- Workforce planning to meet expanded business needs
- Raising community awareness of services
- Attract and keep talent within the business to enable future growth
- Diversify offering and acquisition outside of core business
- Opening more stores and the online business
- Retaining market share in existing and growing internal markets
“As a growth business our priorities are setting ourselves up for sustainability on a global basis. In real terms this means utilising the existing resources more economically, and secondly developing our brand penetration in key markets (Australia; USA; UK/Europe and NZ). This needs a long term view of success (investment for the long term) and optimising opportunities for short and long term gain. Some of the priorities are around route to market; varietal mix of products; pricing to remain competitive on global market.”
INNOVATION | PRODUCT & SERVICE DEVELOPMENT
Innovation around new product and service development was the second most common priority of New Zealand business leaders, with 42% of respondents including it in their 5 year business strategy.
“Our main challenge is to make sure that we have the right mix of products and services to provide to our customers. It’s about sensibility and flexibility. Sensibility is about being in line with what industry wants and what we’re able to deliver while, flexibility is about refining our offer to make sure we’re able to adapt our offer as needed, whilst keeping it sensible.”
New Zealand businesses are actively involved in research & development activities around increasing innovation, refining product strategies and introducing new product channels into the New Zealand market. From rolling out and resourcing the National Broadband Network, investment in CRM, eCommerce and digital marketing strategies; New Zealand business are focused on creating Intellectual Property that enables competitive advantage, builds brand awareness, customer loyalty and new revenue streams in order to survive.
Talent Management issues also seems to be a common theme amongst New Zealand business leaders, with 39% of respondents indicating that these will need to be considered in order to achieve their 5 year business strategies.
Industry wide burn out and fatigue over the past 2-3 years have seen some of the toughest ever trading conditions – with subsequent flow on impact on companies & employees. We have seen a steady increase in companies recruiting staff with the resilience to handle change, and problem solving and innovation skills to direct that change to improve services.
“From an HR perspective – continue to discuss with managers what skills, competencies, attitudes we require now and for the future to help deliver our business strategy. Ensure staff understand the business direction, their role in helping support and deliver on it. Staff have KPI’s that are formalised and are Managers meet to discuss these and measure performance on the delivery of those agreed objectives. Managers are supported via an HR business partnering approach to help better manage their people and have practical tools to support them.”
Whether it’s attracting new staff, retaining valuable talent, developing potential talent, succession planning or workforce planning, it’s all about having high quality people in the right places at the right time.
PROCESS IMPROVEMENT / EFFICIENCY
Last but not least, 32% of survey participants advised that they would be looking to improve the systems and processes within their business over the next 5 years.
Obviously the down turn in the market has made people look at ways they can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of systems and processes within their business. The need to do more with less is a common requirement we’re hearing both from our clients and internally within our own business. Business leaders are responding to customer feedback, international trends and competition pressures by enhancing all areas of their business from OH&S, internal systems, productivity, staff potential, excellence in sales, marketing and operations planning… to operate a lean and efficient business structure. Businesses are also investigating ways they can use technology where possible to improve processes and streamline business resources in order to reduce duplication of services.
“We need to move out of a reactive cycle which means the business needs to be thinking and working smarter– need to unify staff thinking. Planning is needed across the board and carried across into all parts of their business. Need to train staff – customer service is a must.”
In response to the down turn in the market, over the next 1-5 years business leaders across New Zealand will be focusing on strategies for growth and increasing profitability, developing innovative new products and services, talent management and improving their internal systems and processes. What are your main business priorities for the next 5 years and how do they compare to the New Zealand business leaders we surveyed?