Recruitment and HR Blog

Staff retention - What makes an employee want to leave

Matt Heighway - Tuesday, July 03, 2018

A major issue that has become prominent in human resource departments is staff retention. Research shows that retention is still a top Human Resource priority.

Staff retention seems to have a slightly different meaning to different people but it all comes down to one point – keeping staff.

What can employers do to keep their staff??? Off course it will depend on the size of the organisation and its budget as to what an employer can provide to help retain its employees. Below are some ideas to assist in staff retention for your organisation:

-Health Insurance

-Gym memberships

-Events and activities

-Flexible hours/negotiation of hours

-Work from home opportunities

-Employee Assistance Programs

-Formal Career Planning

-Paid Training and Development Opportunities

-Paid holidays and accommodation

-Company Car / Fuel card

-Company mobile phone


-Product Discounts

-Extra Superannuation contributions

-Staff discounts on company products



-Rostered days off

-Study leave

-Conventions and social clubs – Overseas or domestic gatherings

-Gifts – some as simple as a bunch of flowers

-Christmas Functions

-Access to counselling/support services

While all of these incentives help in retaining staff there are some much larger issues that are not being addressed such as management styles, lack of workplace communication and feedback, company culture, excessive workloads, salary, insufficient training, no room for growth and many more.

Company culture is one of the largest factors why people leave their jobs no matter what industry they are in or how big or small the company is. Company culture starts at the managers and supervisors and works its way down.

If Managers and supervisors have negative, rude or unapproachable manners than it effects all other employees and results is a negative company culture that people don’t like to work and be involved in and will leave as a result of that.

Insufficient training provided to managers in the areas of people management and leadership is a crucial issue. Managers who are responsible for leading teams can greatly impact on the culture of that team, and effectively the company as whole. Overall staff members will not perform to their full potential if they are not being well led with appropriate training and direction. This will ultimately see the organisation not making as much as they potentially could be and the possibility of further issues such as breakdowns in communication and deterioration of overall staff morale.

History shows that having good staff retention is important to the company's staff morale, it benefits financially and helps to make a happy, healthy and co-operate working environment. Good retention gives employees a sense of ownership and a sense of being wanted. Employers want to be an employer of choice, retaining staff is a great way towards achieving that.

Staff retention is the best way to benefit financially from employees you've recruited, hired and trained. In addition good staff retention helps to establish better communication between managers and staff, provides initiatives and maintains staff morale, develops a productive working environment and encourages professional growth.

It is suggested that retention offers the highest return on investment (ROI) of any HR initiative. Notwithstanding this, many businesses have historically adopted a reactive approach to addressing turnover – it has simply been accepted as the cost of doing business.


The Footprint Group can help you design employee incentive schemes and also help identify workplace culture issues. Contact The Footprint Group on 4324 3922 or

Introducing Biz Bulldog - Central Coast Business Ambassador

Matt Heighway - Monday, July 02, 2018

Biz Bulldog

Central Coast Business Ambassador



Name: Business (Biz) Bulldog

Job: Small Business Owner, Central Coast Business Ambassador, Business Critic

Business Interests: Value, efficiency, quality service

Hobbies: Dressing well, visiting local coffee shops and eateries, hiking

After many years running successful businesses on the Central Coast NSW, Biz Bulldog has taken on the newly created role of Central Coast Business Ambassador. This role will see Biz Bulldog search for products, services and processes that add value and help grow Central Coast Businesses.

As a business owner, Biz Bulldog encountered the same issues and problems that we all do as business owners from poor service from suppliers, products that just don’t do what they promise, issues with staff and problems with cashflow. He is one of us. Always an advocate for growth in technology and “doing thing betters and faster”, Biz Bulldog is passionate about business and after many years finding solutions to everyday business problems will now seek out value for business on the Central Coast.

Now retired, Biz Bulldog will be busy travelling the Central Coast, talking to business owners and strenuously testing their products and services to find the very best options and opportunities that will give Central Coast the advantage. Biz has identified The Footprint Group's new pay as you go recruitment as just one of those opportunities. When asked to comment Biz Bulldog replied "As ambassador for Central Coast Business I have bee searching for value, I have found it, Pay as you go recruitment". 

Keep an eye out for Biz Bulldog as he works his way around the Central Coast.

For more information on Biz Bulldog please email his Agent at or visit his own page here

Managing stress in your workplace

Matt Heighway - Monday, June 25, 2018










Is there stress in your workplace??

A major issue that has become prominent within organisations around Australia and the world is workplace stress.

Stress affects everyone at some stage of their lives and everyone reacts differently to it.

People can experience stress when they are unable to cope with the pressures or demands upon them. Stress isn’t a disease but if stress is excessive and goes on for a long period of time, it can lead to mental and physical ill health.

Keeping workplace stress under control will help both employers and employees. It will improve employee’s satisfaction and well being along with the organisations retention, absenteeism, presenteeism, productivity and the overall bottom line for any organisation “Profit”.

Now you ask how can your organisation actually accomplish this??? It’s easy, a few little incentives and programs can make all the difference:

  • Create Happy Hour once a week
  • Mental wellness forums, or activities that promote healthy practices such as home and life balance, physical exercise, diet, and stress reduction practices, self & social awareness classes/
  • Promote stress reduction policies in staff recruitment, induction and training processes
  • Put reminders containing tips for stress management in staff bulletins and or on noticeboards
  • Provide Employee Assistance Programs
  • Develop a Wellbeing Program to suit your organisational needs
  • Ensure staff and supervisors receive the skills, training and resources they need to work purposefully, confidently and are appreciated
  • Provide opportunities for social interaction among workers to help build a sense of community in the workplace.

In this day and age, organisations need to develop a workplace culture that recognises that job satisfaction factors such as flexibility, autonomy, security, recognition, ownership, participation and involvement are essential to reduce stress and prevent turnover. These things may seem to be obvious but are you actually promoting them to your employees? Do they know that their job is secure; do they get recognition for jobs well done, are they able to be involved it certain company assignments? All these little things can make a person feel wanted and can take a lot of anxiety, stress and worry from them.

Some employee’s thrive off a little stress in their day to day life. They see it compelling, exciting and thrive from it where majority of society cannot handle the effects that stress has on them and surrounding peers.

Employers in such organisations should have no doubt that health, safety, security and morale are inextricably linked to employee satisfaction, productivity and customer satisfaction. By being aware of workplace stress means there is nothing stopping you to reduce it as quickly as possible.

At The Footprint Group we are advocates for health and wellbeing in the workplace, Our Consultants can assist you in making sure that your business provides the perfect environment for job satisfaction and happy employees.

Does your Business conduct Performance Management?

Matt Heighway - Monday, June 04, 2018










An effective performance management system starts with the organisation's mission, vision, values and strategic goals. These are then converted into operational plans and workforce plans which then can be managed.

As an organisation it is important to share the aims and objectives, provide information about performance results, seek comments and feedback from staff, get ideas and suggestions – and make people feel a part of their organisation. Performance management systems can be an effective means for such communication.

Monitoring performance is important for many reasons:

  • It allows you to respond quickly to changes
  • Unacceptable performance can be identified at any time
  • Collects information about the performance of individuals and teams
  • Keeps people and teams in touch with what you have agreed will be achieved
  • Provides opportunity to negotiate changes to unrealistic or problematic performance standards or objectives if circumstances warrant it.
  • How should you monitor performance?
  • Through day to day observation as employees carry out their work
  • Conduct regular performance appraisals
  • Informal individual or team meetings
  • Key Performance Indicators

There are many effective ways to monitor and verify performance, evidence of monitoring, coaching and training can come in all forms such as;

  • Samples of written work
  • Information on how specific situations are handled
  • New skills and knowledge obtained/applied on the job
  • Training courses/seminars attended
  • Specific KPIs
  • Verifiable comments from peers or subordinates
  • Feedback from internal and external clients
  • Collecting Data
  • Dollar value of sales by the employee
  • Number of complaints about the employee
  • Number of client commendations
  • Days absent
  • Number of creative ideas generated and implemented

When gathering evidence it is advised not to just get it on actual performance – get it on context as well e.g. something affecting a job role beyond anyone’s control and gather it throughout the year, as an ongoing process.

Monitoring well means consistently measuring performance and providing ongoing feedback to employees and work groups on their progress toward reaching their goals.

The Footprint Group’s HR Consultants can offer your business a variety of options in regards to Employee Performance Management from coaching you and your Managers through to conducting the entire Performance Management Process. Contact us here for more information

Breaking News - National Minimum Wage increase confirmed

Matt Heighway - Friday, June 01, 2018

Annual Wage Review Delivered – Increases for all Award Based Employees.


If your staff are covered by an of the Modern Awards, and paid at Award rates, the 1st of July marks pay increase time in accordance with the Annual Wage review conducted by Fair Work Australia and handed down 1 June 2018.


From 1 July, the following key changes occur:

1)ALL Modern Award rates of pay will increase by 3.5%;

2)The National Minimum Wage increases to $719.20 per week or $18.93 per hour.


An example:

If you employ an adult Receptionist under Level 2, Year 2, of the Clerks Private Sector Award, the current minimum pay rate for that person is $824.10 per week (or $21.69 per hour or $42 853.20 per annum).


Increasing by 3.5%, the new weekly minimum for this employee will become $852.95 (rounded to the nearest $0.05).


What you need to do:

-Review all current staff pay rates. If any employees are being paid at the Award Rate, review and increase in accordance with this 3.5% effective from the first full pay period after 1 July 2018. The Fair Work website will have all changes in Awards updated at that time also ;

-Review all existing Juniors and Trainees against this ruling. Award Free Juniors may also require further adjustments in accordance with the % calculations relevant to their age, which will now fall in line with those detailed in the Miscellaneous Award 2010;


If you are unsure of your obligations or would like some guidance and assistance with this or any other HR and employee relations matter, contact Kristy-Lee and the expert HR team at The Footprint Group, we are here to support local business.

Ph: 02 4324 3922

Finding Employees that will represent your Brand

Matt Heighway - Monday, May 07, 2018

Footprint Recruitment Central Coast









As business owners, leaders and managers we often spend a great deal of time and effort into our ‘brand’. This includes our business brand, our personal brand and often in a wider capacity the brand of our industry and local business community.

We put countless hours and huge amounts of money into building our brand, ensuring the image is right, the consistency is there and the marketability of the brand is as strong as it can be. We know our brand, and many of those leaders who really have a strong understanding of, and synergy with their brand, represent their brand in everything they do.

They act in a way which reflects the brand, talk in language which speaks of the brand, dress in a way which reflects the brand and communicate in ways which suits the brand and its consumers.

So the brand is good, and we know how to represent it – but then there are the staff. How can you make sure that the people you engage in your business represent the brand as well as you do?

The people you engage in your organisation, whether as employee, supplier or contractor naturally become associated with your brand, and one thing I believe we can’t underestimate is the value of association and the impact this has on our brand.

You can work as hard as you like perfecting your reflection of your brand, but if the associations you keep in your business do not appear consistent with the brand you are trying to portray, you are undermining and possibly damaging the quality, consistency and overall impact of your brand by those who view your business.

At the heart of this for me is the people within your business. The staff, contractors and service partners you align yourself with who, by nature of their roles, act as an ambassador to your business and ultimately are responsible for projecting your brand to your consumers and the wider community.

Whether employed by you directly or indirectly via an agreement, engagement or supplier relationship, you need to be certain that they represent your brand to the extent you expect and the level you demand.

To do this here are some tips to help get things aligned:

-Understand for yourself the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours which define your brand. By understanding this you can then ensure all future relationships align with these core values, and as such reflect your brand.

-Assess new employees with these values in mind, to ensure they reflect the brand from the inside out, so to speak

-Think about your brand when you engage a contractor or supplier, and ask yourself this question “if my top customers knew this person / business was associated with me and my business, how would they feel?”

-Trust your gut and follow your instincts

Associating yourself and your business with the right partners can be a valuable addition and compliment to your brand, and conversely the reverse can apply.

Never underestimate the value of association and the impact that those representing your business, whether directly employed or not, can have on your brand image and reputation in the market place.

Top 5 Questions to NOT ask a potential employee

Matt Heighway - Wednesday, May 02, 2018


Given that the interview is still the primary selection tool used by employers, when you step back and think about it, you are making some fairly substantial decisions about the future of your business and your team based on a meeting which typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.

That being the case, it’s imperative that you maximise the interview time by remembering the fundamental goal of an interview. The interview is your one chance to get to get to know the applicant, and assess whether they are going to fit in to your team and culture, and whether they can complete the job you are hiring for. The best way to do this is to ask relevant questions which are likely to elicit responses which give you a realistic and honest impression of the applicant, and ultimately give you the most detailed possible understanding for their suitability for your culture and the position you are recruiting for.

In my opinion, many employers spend way too much interview time on questions which hold little if any value to the goal at hand – finding out about the applicant and their suitability.

Here is my list of the top 5 time waster questions that you should leave out of your next interview:

1)Tell me a bit about yourself – an interview is not a date, and this question usually ends in one of three ways. The first is a well-rehearsed and often not very accurate ‘elevator pitch’ designed to dazzle you with their brilliance. The second is a complete life story background which whilst interesting, usually tells you very little about their suitability for the role. The third is a shocked response by a nervous applicant which typically ends up with them talking for the sake of talking, unsure what information to give away or not, and again you are left with very little of any true reflection about the person, their fit for your business or their ability to do the job at hand

2)Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years – the answer is who knows and who cares! You don’t know where your business will be in 5-10 years so why would you expect an applicant to have a clearer picture of their career. And the reality is they probably won’t be with you then, and that’s ok.

3)What are your weaknesses? If you think anyone is truly honest in answering this question you are mistaken. They will usually come up with some trait which they can ‘sell’ to you as a weakness, which of course you will see as a strength. Some of the most commonly used are ‘I am a perfectionist, I like to do things right all the time’, ‘I find it hard to say no if someone needs my help’, ‘I really like to be challenged’

4)Can you use MYOB? (or insert name of any system). It’s a waste of time because they will say yes and try and figure it out later. Almost any closed ended question like this hold very little value to helping you achieve the goal of the interview

5)Why do you want to work for us? Whilst the answer will almost certainly give you a little confidence boost and that feel good feeling about your business, this again is loaded towards a fake and dishonest answer. There may be some authentic answers in the mix with this type of question, but ultimately this prompts the applicant to compliment the business and try and ‘sell’ their love for a company they probably at this stage know very little about.

My advice – ditch the time wasting questions and focus on asking questions which are more relevant, better thought through and designed to elicit honest, authentic and realistic answers to topics which are relevant to team fit and job relevant skills and experience.

The right fit - How to recruit staff in a candidate short market

Matt Heighway - Tuesday, April 03, 2018










When your business is short staffed, there can be nothing more frustrating than a candidate short market.

You and your team are already under the pump, and as an owner or manager you constantly find yourself being pulled into working ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ your business. This only impacts on your ability to focus on growth, client acquisition and product & service development.

But despite the temptation, it’s important to remember that desperate times shouldn’t mean you take desperate measures.

When you simply don’t have the resources to make ends meet, and fulfil the workload you have coming through the door, it can seem like a good option to appoint new employees who don’t fit in with your usual criteria and are a mis-match with your culture and values. But this in fact can do more harm than good and here is why:

1)A new team member who does not encompass your values and work in a way which reflects your business quality standards, ethics and systems will never be long term, so ultimately you spend time, money and effort training, developing, coaching and guiding for them only to leave before you have recouped your costs

2)Appointing a new team member who does not fit in with your existing team, who are committed to your vision and goals, will potentially upset them and have the reverse impact for you. To unsettle your existing team may result in less productive staff, or worse still those staff leaving the organisation because of the new person

3)In a candidate short market your judgement can be blurred by desperation. You need extra hands on deck ASAP, and the candidates in these markets know this. So they become more demanding with their expectations around terms, conditions and salaries. Ultimately you agree because you need someone, but long term it creates a situation with is no longer sustainable because the business workflow ends up structured around them and their demands, rather than the potential for a strong structure for growth.

Clearly there needs to be a solution to help get you and your business through this time, so here are a few things I recommend to help relieve the load!

1)Communicate openly with your existing team and support them – create an environment which keeps them engaged, motivated and focused. This way they will be as productive as possible for you. Share with them your efforts to locate a like minded team member, and even ask for their help with this, you never know who is around in their extended social circles.

2)Think outside the square. Clearly your usual ideal candidate is not out there right now, so how else could this work get done? Can the work be re structured in the office to create a different skills gap, can you promote or retrain an existing team member, can you systemise or streamline anything to help make processes easier and faster?

3)Think about outsourcing. This won’t be an option for all roles and all businesses, and certainly may not be long term. But in the short term could a contractor or outsourced supplier help you to get through this busy period?

4)What’s not urgent and taking up your time? Can it be put on the shelf for a short time? This can often be hard for business leaders who spend time and energy structuring things to enable them to spend time on their business and its overall strategy and development. But sometimes, especially in small business, the ability to switch between working in and on the business can be priceless for getting through these tough workflow periods

5)Get an outsider’s perspective. Ever felt like you can’t see the forest for the trees? It can happen so easily when you are snowed under, overwhelmed and unable to see a real solution. Getting an outside consultant, mentor or trusted advisor in to have a ‘birds eye’ look at your business might reveal some light bulb suggestions for easing the load, which had been in front of your face the whole time but just hadn’t crossed your mind. 

Above all else it’s important to remain positive and focused. Be clear about your vision and direction and the sort of people you want in your business to help you achieve these goals. If you remain clear on that, it will help ensure that even in the times you feel like you’re drowning in work, you make the right decisions about who you engage in your business and why.


Recruiting your first employee

Matt Heighway - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Footprint Recruitment Central Coast - finding staff









Sometimes just knowing where to start when hiring your first staff member can be the most daunting thing. For many of us, hiring the first staff member into our business is a huge step – not only because it means exciting things like growth and opportunity, but it often also means we need to let go of some control, trust someone else with our ‘baby’ and let this person in to our business world.

So to help those who find themselves in this position, here are the basic things to focus on when making your first hire:

1)Know what you are looking for:

Before you even start the hiring process, sit down and take a good look at your business. Write out all of the tasks that need doing in the business, and try and put them together into some logical positions and structures.

Now take the tasks you want or need to continue doing, and put these into your role, and have a look at what is left. From the tasks that are left, take a look at the tasks which are most important to the business being able to function – and which tasks do you most desperately need help with – you now have a focus for your new position, so write yourself a Position Description for the role (there are lots of templates available either online or from a HR service provider)


2)Know your target market:

After figuring out what sort of role you want to fill, and the type of candidate you want to fill it, start to think about where your ‘ideal applicant’ is looking for work.

There is no point advertising for someone in the local paper, if you know your ideal applicant probably doesn’t read the paper. Think about where your applicant looks for work, the sort of mediums they use, the location they will be in and the other people they are likely to come into contact with.

3)Write the right ad

Writing an ad that attracts the right sort of candidates, and lets readers know what are the essential components for the role will save you time by ensuring your applicant pool is generally better suited to what you are looking for. To get the best people for your role you will need to sell the role, and the company to the reader, and make it clear what you are seeking in regards to their skills, experience and qualifications.

4)Use Your Networks:Advertising is one way to find potential new employees, but don’t forget to think outside the box and use your networks, referral groups, industry associations and any other groups you have access to letting them know you are looking for someone.

5)Conduct Structured Interviews:

By conducting interviews where there are a number of questions which are set and asked standard to all applicants you will have a common set of responses by which to assess and compare them by after the interviews. You should also allow time for free talk, discussion and questions within each interview to help you understand those non tangible factors such as team fit and personality style.

After each interview reflect objectively on each one and make notes – it saves confusing multiple applicants after all the interviews are done.

6)Use Other Screening Tools:

Interviews are great and very important, but there are other tools available to help you make your decision – don’t forget about reference checking, skills testing, checking qualifications, psychometric assessments, aptitude tests, and the full range of other recruitment tools available to assist you.

Being the sole decision maker in a recruitment process can sometimes be difficult as you spend time thinking over your decision trying to make the right choice. By sharing the decision making process with other people you can cut the time spent doubting yourself and potentially losing great candidates. Seek assistance from advisors, mentors, or other key people who help you in your business.

7)If you are not sure – seek help:

Don’t be afraid to get help from a Recruiter, or HR Consultant if you think you need, or would like, some help. Find a Consultant who is happy for you to engage their services for the parts of the process you need help with or just don’t have the time.

8)Recruitment is Only Step 1:

Whilst recruiting the right person is really important, don’t forget that this is only the beginning of the process. Making sure the person has the right training, induction and ongoing management will give them the best chance for success in the role.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully these tips will help you make that first hire a successful one for you and your business.


The Boss of HR Documents - Position Descriptions

Matt Heighway - Thursday, March 22, 2018


Footprint Recruitment and HR - Product Descriptions









As a business owner of manager you may think you have a million more important things to do than write a Position Description for every role in your company.

Particularly in small business, where there is a need for flexibility within the scope and responsibility and daily duties of each individual, to meet the fluctuating needs and demands of a fluid business structure, these ‘structured’ documents can often seem limiting and unnecessary.

However, accurate and detailed Position Descriptions can be one of the most important documents to have in your business, and here is why:

1)They improve efficiency - They allow you to structure the business according to what needs doing and how it should be done, in the most efficient and effective way. Without clear Position Descriptions which are prepared prior to hiring and reviewed regularly, many businesses find themselves working around the people they have, and what they can or are willing to do, not what the business needs.

2)They create structure – as we all know, where there are no rules people instinctively will make up their own. Position descriptions which are clear, appropriately detailed and cover the nature, scope and duties of the role, as well as the expectations around employee behaviour and performance standards create a working ‘rule book’ for your employees.

3)They provide clarity - for you as a business owner or manager having position descriptions for each role allows you to understand where any gaps lie in your business, and also where you may be needing to allocate skills, experience and expertise as you grow

4)They provide a guideline for both staff and managers when it comes to performance expectations and managing poor performance. By having clear definitions within a position description around the expectations of what roles are to be performed, and how this is to be done, you have a tool to use against which to measure performance and manage appropriately

5)They create certainty for the employee, so that they feel confident and comfortable with what they are required to do, and how this is to be done. Many employees thrive off this sort of reassurance around the employers expectations of them, so having these in place is a simple way to provide that structure and certainty for your staff.

6)They provide the basis for a successful recruitment campaign. By having an up to date and accurate position description in place prior to commencing the recruitment campaign, you are much much more likely to appoint an appropriate candidates, because you have clarity around what you need in the role, and what skills, experience and expertise are required to fulfil these requirements.

7)They provide the framework for your regular and structured performance review process. The position description is the key tool through which you can easily assess your employees performance, and implement appropriate career development pathways, and training and development opportunities based on this.

Don't underestimate the importance of this HR document, contact Footprint HR Central Coast to learn how we can help


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