Are you struggling to recruit rockstar employees?

A recent Department of Employment survey revealed 45 per cent of Australian employers struggled to recruit staff. For trade business owners, the issue is real, and it made national headlines.

In one article, a trade business owner claimed he’s even given up on advertising for vacant roles because of the lack of interest. In his experience, tradies are turning their backs on well-paying jobs:

“We’ve had 15 guys over the last two years that haven’t lasted more than a week. I interviewed one guy for an hour. He was there for 10 minutes before he walked off the job,” he said.

Can you relate to this situation?

If you’re struggling to recruit rockstar employees, you’ll need to navigate key hiring challenges to increase loyalty and retention. Importantly, your onboarding process should be systemised to attract the right person.

In onboarding, both the “big things” and “little things” matter.

Warm welcome

Do you greet your new employees warmly on their first day? This is a subtle gesture that can literally make or break whether your new recruit decides to stick it out with your trade business. Research says so.

In a competitive job market, it’s the little things that make a lasting impression. If you genuinely care about the happiness of your employees, they won’t want to work anywhere else.

Are you confident you’re doing the little things well? If not, you may wish to work on this to give new employees the confidence they’ve made the right decision is choosing your trade business.

Perfect your paperwork

Having all the necessary paperwork in order will make your new recruit feel comfortable they’ll be working for a professional business. There are 3 key documents you’ll want to perfect in this process:

1. Contract of employment

Here’s what to include:

  • Start and finish times
  • Lunch breaks
  • Amount of pay and incentives
  • When pay and incentives are paid
  • Sick and annual leave
  • Trial period details
  • Reimbursement policy
  • Uniform policy
  • Behavioural expectations
  • Bullying and harassment policy

2. Letter of engagement

This document details the scope of the agreement. In particular, it establishes a clear understanding between you and the employee and helps set out expectations for this working relationship.

3. Employee information

Update your employee records with all the necessary administration requirements for your new employee.

Tools and resources

Your new employee can’t do their job without the right tools and resources. That means getting this stuff sorted before they arrive on the first day, for example, an iPad (with login), a uniform, and a truck.
Ideally, you’ll show them where to access systems and procedures, their position description, their contract – and so on. You get the drift. Onboarding is about helping your new recruit settle in seamlessly.


This integration process also involves socialisation. You want your new hire to feel part of your work “family” to drive commitment and connectedness. In the onboarding process, this can be done in 3 ways.

    • 1. Aligning the new employee’s first day with your team meeting. This is an opportunity to introduce them to your friendly team.


    • 2. Schedule your new employee’s start date with a regular team activity. It breaks the ice, in a non-confronting environment.


    3. Buddy them up with a fellow employee. This person can provide support if the new employee has any questions or concerns.

When you swap a ‘sink or swim’ mentality with a systemised onboarding approach, you’re more likely to recruit a rockstar employee, who’ll be in tune with your trade business for the long haul.