Create a more belonging community culture

Do you want to attract more skilled people to Bundaberg? Do you want these new people to stay living and working in the region? 

When I speak to business owners and leaders this is what they tell me. They are struggling to find skilled people to move to the region and when they do they are challenged to hold on to them. So a few years ago now I started researching the evidence. I looked at the research of Dr Cath Cosgrove and the framework around the attract connect stay. I investigated the research further and applied it to our Attraction & Retention Strategy Welcome to Bundaberg. I looked further into the data on the basic social process people go through when adjusting to change and the change process people go through when they’re starting a new job. I developed a community-based approach addressing workforce shortages in Bundaberg. Here’s what I learnt;

There are three things I believe, and the evidence supports, that may help with attraction and retention of new people to our region. The first thing is to create a more belonging community culture. How do we Foster a sense of belonging in our community?  How do we have a more inclusive, diverse and a more welcoming environment?  How do we embrace diverse backgrounds and cultures and how do we encourage community members to have a sense of community pride?   

Most of my career I spent within the health and education space, and during this time I helped build a community of over 85,000 dentists in an online learning community. One of my roles was to engage highly skilled dentists from all over the world and bring them together to create educational content for the online platform. I was working with dentists in India, Brazil, Romania, Poland, Egypt, Portugal and we were creating innovative educational products together.  It was here where I learnt how to work with highly skilled individuals from different backgrounds, race, religion and where English was often the second or third language. I had to be really creative and innovative on how I brought these people together, then I had to get them to want to work together.  It was super hard work, however, when it worked it was magic and unbelievably successful.The environment was a  safe, non judgemental space where people could have a voice, share their stories, their success and failures.  This gave space for quality, trusting relationships to form so people felt like they belonged. This all takes time, and effort and isn’t easy.  

I believe, and the evidence backs me up on this, that it is everybody’s responsibility to help with attraction and retention of skilled workers to our region. It’s not just the hiring business or local governments responsibility, but it is the whole community’s responsibility to help new residents feel like they belong and particularly those skilled workers who we need to live and stay working in our region. 

I recognise my responsibility to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Bundaberg. My commitment to Welcome to Bundaberg supporting the local economy, creating employment opportunities, engaging with the community, and promoting sustainability, I strive to make a positive and lasting impact. I firmly believe that by working together with residents, businesses, and organisations, we can foster an environment that empowers individuals, creates opportunities, and leads to a more belonging community culture for everyone in Bundaberg.

Gayle Reynolds MBA
Co-Founder Welcome to Bundaberg


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