With salary budgets tightening and skills demands changing fast, securing access to talent will remain a tough call for organisations of all sizes, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

time to explore fresh ways to secure access to talent

In Singapore, SMEs are companies that employ fewer than 200 people and has a turnover of less than SGD100 million. SMEs account for 99% of all enterprises in Singapore and employ approximately 65% of the workforce(1). Smaller SMEs often lose out to the larger brand names in the competition for talent, as employees would prefer to build their portfolio with well-known brands as well as have access to more resource and support from their employers.

Talent management for SMEs is fundamental as the majority of them function with very lean teams and have big goals to fulfil, so smart people who are highly adaptable and agile become an asset to the business.

The 2017 Employer Brand Research commissioned by Randstad revealed that 37% of the local workforce prefer to work for large corporations and only 15% favour SMEs. With such niche talent needs and a very small pool of candidates to select from, it is critical for SMEs to have a robust and flexible human capital strategy that works in their favour.

best tips for SMEs to ensure advantage to compete for talents

1. build your employer brand

As an SME, you will need to promote your products and services to gain brand awareness and educate your audiences about what you do. The same goes for your employer brand. Your employees are the best brand ambassadors as they can speak about their journey with you, so encourage them to use their professional and social media networks to share more about what it’s like working for the company and why others should join. It is also critical that the viewpoints that your people share are authentic and objective, as exaggerated or false claims will cause harm to the employer brand which can be difficult to recover.

2. make the most of digital

If you are a startup or a new SME that have just entered into the Singapore market, there’s a high possibility that you are already operating in a technology-driven business, so you would already know the many benefits of digital engagement.

When your hiring activities are done online (e.g. video interview) instead of face-to-face events such as job fairs, you can reach out to twice as many potential candidates. Exciting innovations such as artificial intelligence and gamification can provide a great and interactive way to identify and evaluate suitable candidates. 

3. keep successful candidates close and people you don’t hire closer

For every person who gets a job with your company, there are bound to be a number of others who missed out on the opportunity. Don’t just forget about them and delete them from your database.

It’s important to keep them engaged as they become a pool of future recruits. As hiring managers, you should interact with these talents with the same amount of care as you would give to someone you hire. Take the time to explain why they did not get the role this time and what they could do to be successful in their future endeavour.

4. develop from within

Are you making the most of the people you have? Successful leaders and managers of high-performing SMEs are marked by their ability to anticipate future talent needs and willingness to work with employees to develop long-term development plans that are mutually beneficial to both parties.

The local government is keen to support skills development within SMEs through a range of funding and advice schemes. These programmes offer training and development opportunities to the local workforce across nearly 20 segments to help professionals, managers, executives and technicians update their skills and adapt to changing job demands.

5. collaborate and outsource 

It is very expensive and difficult for SMEs to hire a team of talent who has all of the necessary skills and capabilities. This is why it pays to focus your resources on core competencies and look for experts who can fill in the skills gaps either through outsourcing or contingent workers. This external support can take care of routine activities that are essential but add little value to your business such as bill processing or payroll. Most importantly, collaborating with an external party should enable you to hire key talent and technology on an on-demand basis, rather than having to sustain high fixed costs.

In collaboration with WongPartnership, Randstad Singapore’s Workpocket 2018/2019 provides HR professionals and line managers the latest on human resources legal information and facts ranging from sourcing to retirement; appraisals to promotions. This practical guide provides companies access to a wealth of information to help you make well-informed decisions and navigate complex HR matters quickly and effectively.