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Are your apprentices and trainees engaged?

Retention is a key issue for employers who take on apprentices and trainees in Australia. Businesses must work hard to strengthen relationships with recruits to ensure both parties benefit from the arrangement.

Recent statistics from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research showed that cancellations and withdrawals from apprenticeships and traineeships declined 7.1 per cent over the 12 months to September. This is good news for organisations, as it indicates fewer workers are dissatisfied with the placements they’ve started.

Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement for employers who want to increase engagement among their apprentices and trainees in the workplace. New research from Hays Australia has suggested a number of ways in which companies can do just that.

Finding the right apprentice or trainee for your organisation can be challenging. For tips, tools and guidance to help you achieve your recruitment objectives, please visit Apprenticeship Central. The website’s search function enables you to identify the ideal candidates located in your area and contact them directly.

Understanding engagement factors

According to Hays, there are a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect engagement within the workplace. The former covers emotional and cognitive issues, while the latter typically refers to working conditions.

For example, common intrinsic factors include the sense of being valued or having a purpose. Are your apprentices and trainees aware of the importance of their contributions to the company? Do you they feel they are treated fairly in relation to more established colleagues?

Induction and onboarding processes are examples of extrinsic factors, with good introductory training a crucial step in ensuring people are engaged from the outset. Other issues include the availability of the latest technology, work-life flexibility and whether or not the business provides effective performance management and appraisal processes.

“An engaged workforce is typically one in which employees understand and are committed to an organisation’s values and objectives, and are passionately motivated to go above and beyond to help achieve its goals,” said Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand Nick Deligiannis.

“But this doesn’t just happen. Employers need to focus on both intrinsic and extrinsic engagement factors and understand what really matters to people, rather than assuming they know best.”

Hays’ figures showed ‘feeling valued’ was the number one way to engage employees, with 97 per cent of workforce respondents citing it as important. Receiving recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty ranked second on 95 per cent.

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