There are signs of green shoots in the landscape and talk of the Western Australian economy picking up. Since the end of the mining boom there has been a sharp drop in economic activity across the board, increases in unemployment and a decline in wages. Because many workers have left the state, pressure is off the housing market and there have been significant drops in house prices and rents. WA has dropped from the best performing state to the worst performing state.
The usual thing that happens when businesses bunker down is that they:
- Shed excess staff (often through redundancy where they pay some of their better people to go elsewhere
- Stop looking for ways to innovate and create new products, unless it means a reduction in company spend
- Cease any form of training
However, we are now starting to see more investment in mining and a general lift in the economy. House prices have stabilised and businesses are improving their turnover.
It is time to do some preparation now for what comes next. Already we are starting to hear from businesses who are so flat out that they don’t have time or resources to take on extra staff and induct and train them. If we don’t bite the bullet now and start preparing for the upturn, we face the risk of crashing and burning. Having customers leave because they can’t get service is even worse than having no customers. We need to have the staff and resources in place to service our predicted increased in customers.
Workplace leaders need to be thinking about the skills that will facilitate their staff planning and making better use of their time and resources. Now is the time review the business plan. Now is the time to hone up the skills of the sales team and engage is some efficiency planning using LEAN strategies.
It would also be good to learn from the past and not to put all our eggs in the mining basket. Lets think of service industries, like Tourism and Education and develop a broader range of strings for our bow.