Why retaining great staff will attract more great staff

Building a strong workplace culture doesn’t start with hiring amazing new people that will transform your business. It starts with caring for and developing the people you already have.

Last week, The Physio Co was ranked by BRW at No. 5 on its annual list of Australia’s 50 Best Places to Work. This amazing achievement has taken years of hard work and has helped us learn many lessons along the way. Here’s how we learnt that recruitment starts with retention…

Many people think that as a great place to work, the recruitment team are probably overwhelmed by the volume of applications of people wanting to work there. Sometimes that’s true, but for The Physio Co, we’ve also had some tough times.

In 2012, in the months after we were ranked the 8th Best Place to Work in Australia, there was a dip in our always-high retention rates. Now the dip wasn’t debilitating, but we lost a few physios at a time that is historically very hard to recruit newbies – mid-year.

The result was increasing and unrelenting pressure on our existing team because of all the work we had to do with less people to do it. As the weeks went by, morale was spiralling south and even more people were considering a move away from The Physio Co family. With all this happening, it was almost impossible to recruit new physios.

How did we deal with it? We reorganised our teams, promoted more mentors and team leaders, fired some clients and supported every member of our existing team more than ever. We got back to the basics of caring for the personal and professional lives of every team member. We acknowledged the great work they’d been doing, added extra resources where we could and thought about why we do we what we do. We focused on retention.

Slowly, but very steadily, things started to change. Morale improved, we all started to enjoy our jobs again, retention headed back towards our traditional levels and we started attracting some great new physios to join the family.

Right now, in mid-2013, only 12 months on, we have a bigger team, stronger culture and higher retention than ever before. Our pipeline of new recruits has been strong from January through to June and is looking positive as we head into the more challenging part of the year that hit us hard in 2012.

High retention rate is one sign of a strong workplace culture. When retention is high, confidence in a business is high.

That confidence is palpable to everyone, from team members who are more willing to refer their friends, recruiters who feel excited about finding the next new hire (confident recruiters recruit better) and, of course, the applicants themselves. Who wouldn’t want to join a buzzing culture with high retention and excited team members asking you how you’ll help bring their vision to life?

To build a stronger culture in your team, stop hunting for great new culture-fits and start farming the followers you already have.

Tristan White is a qualified physiotherapist, ironman triathlete, blogger and CEO of The Physio Co – Australia’s fifth Best Place to Work.


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