Features

In the people business

At the centre of every business is its people. Staff Australia has been providing Australia’s major blue-chip logistics and manufacturing companies with a dedicated and high calibre workforce for more than 20 years. MHD finds out more.

In a fast-paced environment like logistics and warehousing, businesses rely on being able to get the right person into any given role at the right time. Meeting fluctuating spikes in demand is challenging and often requires the need to be able to access an agile and flexible workforce.

Working with a recruitment partner who understands these challenges and is able to deliver a committed and superior service to both clients and candidates can be the difference in meeting service level agreements and customer expectations or losing out on business.

Staff Australia is a specialist recruitment agency with offices in Australia and New Zealand. At the core of its business is servicing the logistics and warehousing and manufacturing industries with a quality workforce.

Having worked with the industry for more than 20 years, Staff Australia’s team of experts understand what good recruitment practice looks like in the logistics and warehousing space.

“The founding partners of Staff Australia wanted to change recruitment practices in Australia. They saw there was an opportunity to change the way recruitment agencies interacted with their temporary and fulltime staff and offer a recruitment process that concentrates on understanding the candidates needs as much as their skill set,” Shaun Foley, Director at Staff Australia says.

Having a more holistic approach helps solve issues which may occur down the track, Shaun says. “If you don’t understand a persons’ motivation, desires and full circumstance you are less likely to have a successful client match. An example may be placing a candidate on a site that requires overtime. Many casuals have to be home for childcaring, whilst their partner works an afternoon shift,” he says.

This approach and philosophy are at the core of what Staff Australia offer. With a driving principle of respect for the candidate, Staff Australia is able to offer a far greater outcome for its clients and candidates.

“We have found that if we treat our candidates with the respect that they deserve and skill match them into the critical roles for our clients, we get a far greater outcome for everyone involved,” Shaun says.

Referring to Staff Australia’s high retention and attraction rates, Shaun says that Staff Australia has the motto of “making people our business”. “Everyone at Staff Australia treats the people who work for us with the utmost respect and understanding, we pay them on time, we make sure that we keep our end of the bargain” he says.

This has given Staff Australia the ability to attract the best talent and also to retain a higher level of candidate for a longer period of time, which is absolutely critical for any logistics provider.

“In the temporary labour market, the biggest challenge our clients face is the transient nature of the workforce. If they are not engaged, they will move on very quickly,” Shaun explains.

Retention is the key to success  

Retention of both internal and external temporary casuals has been the most critical success factor over the history of this proudly Australia-owned company.

“Our internal retention rates blow the recruitment industry standards out of the water,” Shaun says.

The benefit to our clients is that when they contact us, they know they will speak to someone who understands their business, its culture and which temp candidate will make the suitable match.

Staff Australia has been working with some of its clients for more than 15 years and according to Shaun this is very rare to see in the market.

If a logistics provider can retain, train and grow a candidate, then there are significant cost savings to be realised verses replacing and adding unnecessary costs to productivity.

Staff Australia partners with Australia’s major blue-chip logistics providers to provide roles from picking and packing staff, to forklift operators, to middle management and executive level supply chain roles.

“We also have worked with Greenfield sites and we have hired everyone from the Area Manager to the cleaner,” Shaun says.

Shaun says there has been a recent spike in demand for temporary labour in the workforce, a trend that was underway even before COVID-19 hit.

“Over the past 12 months we have seen an encouraging spike in requirement, the supply chain is constantly evolving and there is always a need to scale up and utilise a larger workforce,” Shaun says.

Many people working in logistics and supply chain have the ability to adapt and change depending on what sort of role is needed, having this skill is a great benefit to logistics providers whose demands and requirements may change.

Some of this increase in demand has come from the shift to online shopping, with many shops closed as COVID restrictions were rolled out across Australia, many retailers have had to offer an enhanced online service.

“Over the past 24 months we have helped many of our clients meet rising demands in e-commerce. We mobilised quickly during COVID-19 and helped our clients fill critical roles when they had to refocus their operations,” Shaun says.

Reducing the burden

Shaun and the team at Staff Australia pride themselves on being able to remove the burden of the workforce from their clients.

Once a client tells Staff Australia what they need, they go out to market, screen and recruit the staff, bring them in for a thorough recruitment process and make sure they are job ready.

“It’s not the person we are providing. It’s the service behind that person. If 40 people are supposed to start on a Monday, then we want our clients to worry about the product they are moving, or manufacturing and we will worry about the people. It’s on us and we will deal with any issues,” Shaun says.

Speaking about the logistics market in general, Shaun says that it is one of the few industries in Australia where you can work your way up through the ranks.

“You can start in this industry as a semi-skilled worker on the warehouse floor and over a period of time you can train and be recognised as a warehouse general manager,” he says.

Shaun proudly says that he now works with some clients who were candidates 15 years ago. “I know people who sit within very senior roles, in some of the biggest companies in Australia who were picking boxes 20 years ago. It’s fantastic to see.”

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