Embracing innovative HR practices in rural and regional councils
In the realm of local government recruitment, the importance of strong relationships cannot be overstated. These bonds extend far beyond the council chambers and into the community, ensuring that services are delivered efficiently and effectively. We understand that nurturing these connections is vital, especially when it comes to human resources – the backbone of any successful organisation.
In recent weeks my colleague Cole and I have been doing weekly road trips to connect with HR teams across various local governments throughout Queensland. Our mission? To introduce ourselves, foster rapport, and engage in open and honest discussions about the unique challenges and innovative solutions that rural and remote councils encounter in the realm of talent acquisition.
We have had the pleasure of visiting the teams at Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba, Southern Downs and Western Downs. And all regions have unique and shared challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining staff.
The message resonating from these councils is crystal clear: attracting staff to the regions poses a significant challenge. Not only do these councils contend with fierce competition from the private sector, which offers lucrative salaries, but they also face internal resistance when trying to introduce hybrid or flexible work arrangements for potential candidates. Additionally, a pressing issue looms large—the shortage of housing. This means that even when you manage to identify the ideal candidate, a formidable task alone, there may be no available accommodation for them.
Western Downs is taking the lead in embracing innovative HR practices to tackle these challenges head-on. Lyne Mear, the Chief HR Officer, has shared valuable insights in a separate article, but the main takeaways are their commitment to offering flexibility and remote work options, enhancing the organisations' culture and empowering their teams to establish their own Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This approach fosters a sense of accountability within the teams and ultimately produces a happier and more productive environment. Council is also looking at introducing a condensed 4 day working week.
Another area that councils are keen to support is in training and development. If they can support junior members of the team to advance their skills and take up more senior roles then the need for additional housing subsides.
As we reflect on our interactions with these dedicated HR professionals, we are reminded of the power of collaboration and open dialogue. Building these connections with local government HR teams is not only about creating business opportunities but also about sharing knowledge, experiences, and solutions. By working
together, we can help address the unique challenges faced by regional councils.
We are committed to being a partner with you in this journey. We believe that by connecting with HR teams and other stakeholders in local government, we can collectively drive positive change and build stronger, more liveable communities.
At Peak, our commitment revolves around offering comprehensive support to local councils. Leveraging our extensive 20+ years of experience and a well-established network within the local government sector, we facilitate the timely filling of vacant positions. Furthermore, we are proactively investigating funding options to aid in various aspects such as training and housing. These opportunities are accessible through programs overseen by the LGAQ. Additionally, we engage in dialogues with universities to explore avenues for attracting recent graduates to the region. An added advantage of this approach is the potential to alleviate housing demand, as graduates may opt for shared housing arrangements rather than single-family accommodations for employees and their families.
This week we are meeting with the teams at Gympie, South Burnett and Cherbourg and we are really looking forward to what these conversations may bring to light and how we can work together for the benefit of council and their residents.
In the coming weeks we will continue our efforts to connect with HR teams across the region and support them in their mission to attract and retain the best talent for their communities. Stay tuned for more updates as we work together to strengthen these essential relationships.
Please contact us here at Peak Services Recruitment for a discussion about your council's recruitment challenges and needs.
Our Road Trip Journey
Our journey began with a visit to Craig, Kris, and Shawnee at Lockyer Valley. They afforded us some great insights into the inner workings of their HR team and the challenges they face, and we look forward to supporting them in the future wherever we can.
From Lockyer Valley we travelled on to Toowoomba where we met Kelly, to get a better understanding of the HR landscape in the region and to start building that ever-important rapport.
Next, we had the privilege of meeting Dianne and Dave at Southern Downs. Their enthusiasm for their roles in HR was contagious and their willingness to share their experiences, challenges and wins in the recruitment space was refreshing. It was evident that a sense of community is at the heart of their approach, which was truly inspiring.
Our journey concluded with a visit to Lyne at Western Downs who welcomed us with open arms, sharing her insights into the innovative strategies that council is implementing. She impressed us with her candid conversations about the hurdles they face in attracting top talent to their council and the wider issues facing the HR team. The dedication of Lyne and her team to the betterment of their community was palpable, and their innovative strategies for attracting talent and managing staff were a testament to their unwavering commitment.