Recruitment challenges faced SME’s
What are SMEs?
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are businesses
that employ up to 250 people. No one is precisely sure how many
of them there are because there are lots of companies that have limited
liability status but are not trading and there are lots of businesses
that are sole proprietorships that have escaped the official net of
the tax man, the VAT man and the registrar of companies. We will see
figures that range as high as 4.3 million and as low as 3.7 million,
the best estimate being around 4.0 million.
Although the most usual definition of an SME is a company employing
up to 250 employees, nearly all (over 99%) employ less than 50 people.
In fact, three quarters of them don’t have any employees – they are
sole operators. So, the emphasis really is on small rather than medium
in the SME label.
The engine of economic recovery
The significance of these small businesses is often overlooked. They
are the ants in the ant hill rather than the more glamorous animals
of the forest. And yet they make up a half of all the jobs in the UK
and account for half of our GDP. Because they are small and tightly
managed, decisions can be taken quickly and they are flexible in responding
to changes in the temperature of the market. In the UK as in the rest
of the world, SMEs are recognised as the most responsive engine of economic
Who are they?
There are over 1,500 different classifications of SMEs. These are referred
to as Standard Industrial Classifications by the Government and they
are used to describe the nature of a company’s business. As might be
expected, SMEs do not compete where large capital investment is required
for process industries. Therefore, they do not exist in car assembly,
steel making, cement manufacture and the like. They are found in profusion
in the service industries from vehicle servicing, hairdressing, retailing
to the professions. There are manufacturers, of course, and they operate
across most industries from complex electronics to traditional businesses
such as metal bashing and wood turning.
The SME shopping basket
Every SME purchases goods and services in the pursuance of its business.
They all have some basic needs such as telephones, stationery and they
consume energy. Nearly all have office furniture and operate vehicles.
They rent property and they buy legal and financial services. Depending
on their industrial classification, they also will buy materials of
one form or another. In total this adds up to over £1 billion of products
and services per annum.
Safety in numbers
The most surprising thing about this huge shopping basket is that it
is often ignored by marketers who have their sites on the larger corporations
that appear to make easier picking. Whilst it is true that large buyers
are easier to line up in the sight of a marketing rifle, they are not
necessarily the most profitable. Slimma enjoyed being a main supplier
to Marks & Spencer until M&S changed its buying policy and it
lost the business. It not only lost the business; it went out of business.
In contrast, RS Components has always seen the potential in SMEs and
through its next day postal delivery service, it supplies a myriad of
bits and pieces to businesses at premium prices and good margins.
A simple decision making unit
There are no complicated purchasing teams in SMEs. Very often it is
just the boss who is tea person, book keeper, principal sales person
and buyer. With all these duties, it is not feasible to agonise too
deeply about the choice of a supplier. Decisions are made quickly and
based on simple criteria such as the supplier is easy to buy from, it
is good value, it is supported by the right kind of service etc. Once
a purchase has been made, a relationship is established and very often
a buying pattern is set up that will last for a long time.
The B2B SME panel
B2B wants to get to the hearts and minds (and purchasing patterns) of
SME owners and has recently launched an online panel comprised of key
decision makers within the SME sector. B2B has undertaken a rigorous
panel recruitment programme to ensure a diverse and high calibre sample
of thousands of SME decision makers throughout the UK, people who are
notoriously hard to get hold of yet who buy hundreds of different services.
In India, the Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) sector plays a pivotal
role in the overall industrial economy of the country. It is estimated
that in terms of value, the sector accounts for about 39% of the manufacturing
output and around 33% of the total export of the country. Further, in
recent years the MSE sector has consistently registered higher growth
rate compared to the overall industrial sector. The major advantage
of the sector is its employment potential at low capital cost. As per
available statistics, this sector employs an estimated 31 million persons
spread over 12.8 million enterprises and the labour intensity in the
MSE sector is estimated to be almost 4 times higher than the large enterprises.
In South Africa the term SMME, for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises,
is used. Elsewhere in Africa, MSME is used, for Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprises. Size thresholds vary from country to country. The lack
of a universal size definition makes business studies and market research
Recruitment is the process where the HR identifying the gaps to be filled,
attracting the suitable person's cv's through different media ( like
adds. in paper, approaching consultants, employee references, campus
placements( when the requirement is huge), even u can verify active
working employees in ur company through promotions/transfers) &
etc., upto receiving the cv's. selection starts from scrutining the
received cv's, conducting the tests & finally ends with the HR round
of interview for taking a desicion whether selected or not.
The recruitment and selection is the major function of the human resource
department and recruitment process is the first step towards creating
the competitive strength and the strategic advantage for the organisations.
Recruitment process involves a systematic procedure from sourcing the
candidates to arranging and conducting the interviews and requires many
resources and time. A general recruitment process is as follows:
Identifying the vacancy:
The recruitment process begins with the human resource department receiving
requisitions for recruitment from any department of the company. These
-Posts to be filled
-Number of persons
-Duties to be performed
-Preparing the job description and person specification.
-Locating and developing the sources of required number and type of
employees (Advertising etc).
-Short-listing and identifying the prospective employee with required
-Arranging the interviews with the selected candidates.
-Conducting the interview and decision making
-Prepare job description and person specification
-Advertising the vacancy
-Managing the response
-Conducting interview and decision making
The recruitment process is immediately followed by the selection process
i.e. the final interviews and the decision making, conveying the decision
and the appointment formalities.
CHALLENGES FACED BY SME’S FOR RECRUITING NEW ENTRANTS
Challenge One - Find, recruit & retain high quality sales people
Organisations of all sizes and in all market sectors have a major challenge
in finding and developing quality sales people. The impact of employing
average or poor sales personnel can seriously hurt SMEs, as these companies
rely on a smaller number of sales staff. They simply do not have the
resources, systems and processes that exist within large corporations
to effectively manage, develop or re-deploy underperforming sales people.
Having high quality, reliable and consistent sales people can make our
sales function and a lack of them will break it. Organisations are able
to invest in Health Checks, which reviews how the sales function is
performing in terms of people, processes and customers. This health
check also highlights the areas within the sales function which need
to be developed, which is a good starting point for SMEs looking to
build or enhance their sales function.
Challenge Two - Develop high quality, profitable, long-term customers
The issue of quality sales people is the main cause of challenge two
- Developing high quality, profitable, long-term customers. The definition
of a high quality customer is one where:
• To have a win-win, mutually beneficial relationship
• The relationship exists at the highest possible level with the key
• They take a number of products or services from you
• They see you as a key supplier or integral to their success
• They believe in your people, brand and product, they will not use
• They will actively promote your people, brand and product (word of
mouth advertising & referrals)
Gaining high quality customers is the focus of any successful business
over the longer term. Look at any industry or sector where individual
key players have shown steady, sustainable, controlled growth and where
they have outperformed their competitors. You will notice a number of
similarities around the quality of the sales people, perception of the
brand, and standard of the product or service. You will also note that
in the majority of these organisations, a number of reports and statements
focus on' The Customer'.
What makes these organisations so special is that they have simply developed
an effective sales, supply, customer management and retention system.
This system runs like a well-oiled, high-performance engine, where all
the cogs turn and interlink in a highly engineered way. In business,
this is like having a successful, proven 'How to' users-guide for all
the key aspects of sales and client fulfillment.
Whether we like it or not, every business has a system that covers all
of these critical sales and client management areas. What is evident
is that these systems don't necessarily interlink effectively. In fact,
some of these systems seem to work against each other and slow down
progress, creating roadblocks for sales and client management to cross.
Interestingly enough, high quality sales people also have a system
they use at an individual level to sell effectively. This system guides
them like a missile to the target and covers all areas of attitude,
skill and execution of their tasks.
If an organisation wishes to overcome the two key challenges of high
quality sales people and high quality customers, they need to develop
an effective system that covers sales and client management. An effective
selling system has a huge number of benefits to any business - too many
to list, however they can be summarised into the following:
• Increase profitability per customer and per sales person
• Reduce cost of sale
• Reduce lead times
• Increase win ratio
• Improve internal communication and access to information
• Increase control and focus
• Improve forecasting and business planning
• Improve customer relationships and retention
• Reduce churn of quality people
We do not need to find, recruit and retain high quality sales people,
especially as they are expensive. Even small organisations can develop
quality sales people themselves and realise the key benefits this brings
by simply introducing a successful selling system. This means that the
organisation is reliant on an effective, proven and sustainable system
and not on individual sales people to perform. If the system works,
then the sales people can use the system to work for them. The system
will show the organisation very clearly who is performing well and who
needs to be developed, and it can even show exactly where and how.
To clarify the key point, however, we are not saying that you can or
should employ low quality sales people and tell them what to do, and
how to do it. What we are saying is that the quality of focus has changed,
from finding high quality sales people who can work individually and
do the numbers for you, to developing a high quality, repeatable sales
This is not a new concept; every successful franchise is built on this
If a business wants to realise these benefits, then it is undeniable
that they need to have an effective sales team. It is also undeniable
that they need to develop high quality customers. If your organisation
needs to realise these benefits and you would like the opportunity to
work with a specialist, then contact Enact Services. They have developed
the 'Complete Selling System'. This has been designed specifically to
address the challenges faced by your sales team(s). This system has
been proven to positively impact on the sales results of SME and corporate
CHALLENGE IN THE TALENT WAR
The global phenomenon in talent shortage has led to a ‘talent war’ amongst
organisations large and small, across all industry sectors throughout
the world. This talent war is all about attracting, retaining, developing
and engaging a quality workforce that plays a critical role in impacting
the organisations bottom-line and growth. With such a struggle for the
best talents, it is no wonder that the SMEs often lose out to the MNCs
which typically invest millions of dollars in their recruitment and
retention strategies. Given that SMEs may not have such ‘muscle’ to
fight the talent war, nonetheless it is becoming clear to business leaders
/ entrepreneurs that an effective HR strategy is critical for its long-term
survival. The following are some of the typical challenges faced by
- Not maintaining an active database of potential hires – adverts are
placed each time there is a vacancy without harnessing past database
-Not implementing comprehensive hiring channels such as referral, graduate,
recruitment internal transfers etc.
-Lack of detailed job analysis which leads to ineffective recruitment
(i.e. often it is not known what are the key criteria for hiring the
personnel and key success factors on the job)
-Weak or no employer branding – candidates do not have a good knowledge
of the overall
organization OR do not have a good experience during their recruitment
-Not able to offer higher than average starting salaries and having
-Lack of a comprehensive orientation programme or induction training
-Lack of clear career path development for individual staff
-Lack of communication of corporate goals/vision
-Lack of job-rotation : often SMEs lose talents as they are not able
to provide new
learning opportunities within the organization by redesigning jobs etc.
-Minimum investment in training & development.
We have heard: finding and retaining top talent be it for large corporations,
SMEs, associations and consultancies is fast becoming a major challenge.
In many cases, the challenge has become a factor in the loss of competitive
strengths, and consequent decline of market share.
Some underlying reasons are well known: demographics (the "baby
boomers" are beginning to retire and not being replaced by equivalent
numbers of new entrants into the workforce); declining unemployment;
sustained high demand for candidates with similar profiles in many sectors,
such as IT and Telecom; shifts in employee attitudes to loyalty and
their work/life balance.
But another, less obvious factor is at play: employers' response (or
non response) and in particular the adaptation of their recruitment
and retention strategies to a rapidly changing labour force landscape.
In fact, pragmatically, this is perhaps the most important issue. Employers
can't change demographics, but they can change the way they recruit.
Until recently, most employers were in the enviable position of being
able to pick and choose among a plethora of spontaneous candidacies
to fill most, if not all their open positions. In those cases where
“Mr. or Mrs. Right” was not at hand, word of mouth, and an advertisement
would more often than not elicit a more than adequate number of qualified
applicants. The biggest challenge was making the right choice! But today,
employers are facing new realities. And, as in any rapidly changing
environment, those who are the quickest off the mark in adapting their
attitudes and strategies will reap the benefits of stronger, more stable,
and more efficient human resources. The more senior and/or technical
the positions, the more vital this becomes.
New challenges and the need for specialised assistance
With many or even most employers fishing for the same profiles in the
same pond, yesterday’s recruitment strategies are fast becoming inefficient
and un (or even counter) productive. The bottom line is that most employers
are rapidly (re) discovering the value and economic sense of retaining,
and building long term relationships with Executive Search firms.
The simple logic is that the quest for talent needs to be both broader,
and deeper than ever before. Chances are the ideal candidates are not
scanning the “want ads” or online recruitment websites nor talking to
friends about changing jobs. They could come from a different industry
(which has already faced the challenge an employer is up against today),
and thus bring fresh thinking and new vision. They may bring talent
that will enable an employer to embark in new, lucrative business ventures.
And they need to be in a position to contribute to an employer’s strategic
plan. Leading Executive Search firms will build a highly personalised
strategy for each individual recruitment taking these complex factors
Most leading headhunters accept the title with a smile….they generally
prefer to be known as Executive Search consultants. Perhaps to more
clearly identify themselves as employer business builders (via human
resources), as opposed to simple recruiters. Recruitment agencies tend
to use large databases of names, rely on electronic/web technologies,
and place cold-calls to potential candidates whom they might never have
While not eschewing these methodologies, executive recruiters use their
specialised and often personal networks of contacts to attract individuals
to opportunities and search for candidates for the most senior positions.
In Brussels, as an example, the typical minimum annual salary for a
position that an Executive Search firm is retained to fill is €100,000.
Consultants specialise within given industries, and typically have long-lasting
relationships with their clients. These relationships are key, because
the recruiter knows the nuances of the internal culture within the client’s
organisation, and is best prepared to offer candidates that would make
a good fit.
In addition, executive recruitment firms often offer guarantees for
the candidates who are hired. That is, if the individual resigns, for
example, within six months of the date of hire, the firm will mount
a new search to find another candidate.
Taking care of the details
Companies that decide to search for a senior candidate using a specialised
recruitment firm find that they save time and resources. Following an
exploratory meeting to learn more about the position and after participating
in a thorough briefing session, the search consultant returns a written
description of the employer, the competitive situation, the recruitment
context, and the position to the client for approval. The description
is a key step, and the client must share as much information as possible
in order to enable the recruiter to identify the best possible candidates.
Of course discretion is paramount – privacy of the client, as well as
privacy of the candidates.
Building on his experience as Managing Director and Marketing Manager
for L’Orιal, Howard Honick has been a senior consultant with Alexander
Hughes, one of the leading recruitment firms in Europe, since 2000.
“We believe every mission, every client, every candidate is unique”,
says Honick. Our consultants spend whatever time is necessary to understand
every aspect of the mission; we pay particular attention to soft skills,
and matching client/candidate culture”. Confidentiality is of course
crucial. And we only present candidates to our clients who we know could
be an ideal match in terms of experience and personality, and therefore
make a long-term fit.”
It’s all about who you know
Executive recruiters know their client’s industries and have many contacts
because they have worked in the sectors themselves. Anne De Greef, a
senior consultant at Alexander Hughes previously worked for many years
in executive positions in business development, operations, strategic
planning and M&A for DHL, UPS and as COO for Fleetlogistics/Wheels.
Combined with her additional management experience in the chemical and
leasing industries, she is well-placed to identify potential candidates
for clients in these businesses, because she knows – and has worked
with – many individuals in those sectors. “This detailed knowledge of
and ability to recruit high-level executives is what makes clients rely
on our services. Clients realise that top-level recruitment is not an
overnight process,” said De Greef.
Strategic recruitment impacts the bottom-line
Recruits for top-level appointments will eventually have a role in shaping
the future of a company. They will be a part of the team making strategic
decisions about the organisation’s direction and developing and enacting
its business plan. Thus, candidates must have extensive experience and
the business sense to succeed in making the right decisions. “There’s
a lot on the line when filling positions for our clients,” said Honick.
“The positions we help fill are vital to the client company’s success,
otherwise the company probably wouldn’t invest in our services.”
Costs for recruitment services usually are linked to the salary level
of the position being filled. Firms typically charge a placement fee
when the candidate they identified and recruited accepts a job. The
fee can be set as a straight percentage of the salary, or negotiated
as a retainer. For some companies with ongoing hiring needs, the retainer
model is usually the most advantageous.
Widening the gene pool
Once recruitment profiles have been defined, there are several steps
to finding the right candidates. One of the most important is to take
a cross-sector approach. Companies must not depend only on the talent
that is already employed within their sectors; to the contrary, employers
must extend their search for candidates to include industries that they
may never before have mined. “Our experience shows that more and more
companies are taking this cross-sector approach. This is particularly
true in the financial sector, where we are seeing an increasing demand
for mathematicians and actuaries to manage hedge funds and private equities,”
For big and small
Surveys of European executives indicate that three factors are hampering
corporate expansion: increasing bureaucratic and administrative complexity
(regulation, compliance issues); uncertainty, as it relates to top line
growth; and the difficulty of finding the best people to grow the company.
These issues hold true for small, mid-size and large organisations.
Executive recruiters specialise in filling senior leadership positions,
no matter what the size of the organisation. Perhaps for SME’s, it is
even more critical to find not just “the right person” but “the best
person”, since each new recruit will have a proportionally greater impact
on the existing team as a whole.
“In smaller companies, the quality of internal human interaction tends
to have a more immediate effect on overall results,” said Honick, “Also,
responsibilities in an SME can cover more than one functional area.
A Finance Director will probably have admin duties, and also might oversee
HR. So we would need to find a person who can positively impact all
Recruiting ‘in-house’ is typically the first reaction of most HR directors.
But for small and mid-sized companies searching to fill management positions,
looking within is often not feasible. Most likely, for young and/or
small businesses the required talent does not yet exist in-house. So
for middle and senior-level hires who will have a significant impact
on the top and bottom line, it’s becoming more and more common for organisations
of all sizes to rely on a executive search firm to find the best talent
Overseas recruitment and challenges: The rules of engagement
Overseas recruitment has gone mainstream. Once viewed as the last resort
of vaguely treacherous corporate wage cutters, hiring foreign workers
is the newest trend for small and medium businesses struggling to deal
with an unprecedented skills shortage.
But the popularity of overseas recruiting – and a few well publicized
instances of abuse by rogue employers – has caught the Government’s
attention. In April 2007 federal Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews
declared his intention to “clean up the system” by introducing tighter
policing and hefty new financial penalties for employers who breach
All this means that overseas recruitment now presents greater risks
and rewards for Australian businesses than ever before. For an increasing
number of SME owners, coping with the skills shortage means this is
a gamble they must take if they are to find the staff their businesses
need to survive.
So much work, so few workers
Each month, economic data confirms what SMEs are experiencing on the
ground: the skills shortage is getting worse. With unemployment already
at a 32-year low of 4.4%, in May 2007 the number of new jobs ads surged
10.3% to 251,996, a massive 40.8% rise on a year earlier.
While shortages are being felt across the board, the cupboard is particularly
bare for employers in the resources, information technology, professional
services and hospitality sectors.
Andrew Stormon, the manager of Queensland SME Mt Isa Fleet Maintenance
Services, tells a common story. “We advertised for 18 months trying
to find people for mechanic positions; we just found we got very few
responses, and those we did get didn’t have the right skills and weren’t
suitable for the job.”
In a booming economy, not enough staff means lost work and lost profits.
“We lost in the vicinity of $500,000 because we continually had to knock
back work. We lost one of our clients worth $250,000 because we just
didn’t have the people we needed to service their fleet for them,” Stormon
It is this combination of commercial opportunity and labour shortage
that is driving business to recruit from overseas in increasing numbers.
Immigration Department figures show 97,430 skilled migrants came to
Australia in 2005-06, up from 77,880 in 2004-05. This number is set
to increase to 102,500 in 2007-08.
By far the biggest increase in numbers has been in the s457 temporary
skilled migration category, under which employers sponsor foreign workers
with in-demand skills to work in Australia for between three months
and four years. There are reported to be 105,000 foreign workers currently
in Australia on s457 visas, a number that could increase significantly
Navigate the migration minefield
Bringing a worker into Australia is not just a matter of filling out
a few forms and sending a cheque for the processing fee. Although there
is a lot of information available – the Federal Government and industry
associations are good sources – the migration process is complex and
requires knowledge of both Australian immigration rules and those of
the country from which a worker is migrating.
Added to that is the difficulty of finding eligible candidates for the
position in the country of origin, an especially difficult and time-consuming
task in countries where English is not the first language.
Given the complications involved, it is no surprise recruitment and
migration service providers have proliferated in recent years, encouraged
by low barriers to entry and the big dollars desperate employers are
prepared to pay for good staff.
It generally costs about $4000 to $6000 to have an agency find an employee
and bring them into Australia, although prices vary depending on where
an employee comes from and how they are employed in Australia.
Jo Burston, the managing director of migration services firm Job Capital,
says the time-consuming nature of the process and the heavy penalties
associated with breaches of migration legislation means agencies offer
good value for money for many businesses.
“The Department of Immigration has very strict guidelines and the penalties
can be substantial, so it’s a process that allows very little room for
error. Since most SMEs don’t have specialised immigration staff, hiring
an agency allows them to get on with their core business,” Burston says.
“Most SMEs would hire an accountant to give them tax advice, they wouldn’t
just have their admin person do it, and this is really no different.”
Even businesses that can afford to devote staff to recruitment tend
hire professionals to help them navigate the process. Mike Smith, operations
manager at IT services and integration firm Anatas, says he supplements
his in-house resources by outsourcing difficult aspects of offshore
“We would just burn weeks and weeks of staff time doing it all ourselves.
Even with staff working on the process it can be time-consuming just
providing the information and vetting candidates. There is no way to
short-cut the process, you just end up causing problems for yourself
if you do,” Smith says.
Traps for young players and what to do about them
Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of businesses who hire
foreign workers are not motivated by the prospect of lower wages. Imported
workers cannot be employed to perform cheap unskilled labour and must
be paid above a legislated minimum standard annual salary of $41,850
($57,300 for IT staff).
These rules are not flexible. The desire to avoid any further horror
stories of foreign workers being paid a pittance or charged outrageous
migration fees has caused the Government to allocate more than $80 million
in this year’s budget to increasing the monitoring and investigation
capacity of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and to increase
penalties for breaching migration laws. From August 17, employers can
be personally fined up $13,200 or, in extreme cases, jailed for up to
two years for employing a worker without the appropriate visa or referring
a worker without an appropriate visa to another employer; while businesses
can be fined up to $66,000 for each offending worker they employee.
More severe penalties are applicable if workers are being exploited
through slavery, forced labour or sexual servitude.
The complexity and bureaucracy that governs the skilled migration process
means planning ahead is also important. Finding an employee and bringing
them to Australia generally takes three to six months, migration service
providers say, with even longer lead times workers with very specialised
skills are sought.
A more obvious problem employers of foreign staff have to deal with
is culture shock. Even for people who come with all the good will in
the world, the shock of finding yourself in unfamiliar territory far
away from family and friends can be too much to handle.
Australian Recruiting director David Young, who recruits Asian and UK
workers for Australia’s mining and healthcare industries, says it is
rare for foreign workers to cut short their time in Australia because
of culture shock, but it does happen from time to time.
“It can be for all kinds of reasons: sometimes it’s the climate, the
food, often people who come here don’t realise quite how big Australia
is and get a bit of a shock if they find themselves in a remote location.
On the other hand, I was talking to a company the other day who brought
in workers from Sweden: they were very skilled but it didn’t work out
because there was a big difference between the sense of humour of Swedes
and Australians,” Young says.
Small things like meeting new arrivals at the airport, help with accommodation
and transport, opening a bank account and taking out medical insurance
can help minimise homesickness. “We brought someone in the other day
who was a great musician and we connected him up with a local band;
things like that can make a huge difference,” Young says.
Once these hurdles are overcome, it seems there can be real upside to
taking staff from other countries into your workforce. Mt Isa Fleet
Maintenance manager Andrew Stormon says after dealing with some “out-of-date”
attitudes on the workshop floor towards the four skilled tradesmen he
brought in from the Philippines, the new arrivals have now become an
important part of the business.
“These blokes have turned up and keen as hell, punctual, their English
is excellent and they really get in and work. And their skills are fantastic:
I haven’t come across tradesmen as good as some of these blokes for
many years,” Stormon says.
Another advantage of bringing in workers from overseas can be loyalty.
Anatas’s Mike Smith says in sectors such as IT, where highly skilled
employees tend to be highly mobile, this is be a big plus.
“We have found workers we bring tend to stick with us. Often they will
be looking to become permanent residents in a couple of year or perhaps
it’s just because we have developed with them, but we’ve found they
stick with us for a bit longer than Australian staff,” Smith says.
As long as Australia continues to enjoy the fruits of the China-led
resources boom, economic necessity will continue to drive Australian
businesses to hire skilled staff from overseas.
The key to making overseas recruitment a good experience is to take
advantage of the information available and obtain professional advice
and assistance where necessary. By going into the process with eyes
open, a business of any size can successfully navigate the migration
SUGGESTIONS THAT CAN BE IMPLIMENTED
Outsourcing non-core activities is increasingly becoming popular even
for SMEs. Instead of incurring huge fixed costs in manpower to manage
recruitment/ retention issues with sophisticated IT software, SMEs can
reap the following benefits by outsourcing such functions to the experts
in the field:
-Technology (a simple HR IT software can cost from to $50,000 to $300,000)
-Experienced HR staff to manage recruitment/retention issues
-Administrative time (even with the HR software, lots of time goes in
updating, maintaining a database etc)
Focus on strategic functions
-By outsourcing these functions, the HR can focus on vendor management
and on making sure that results are achieved. Access to world-class
-Service providers typically invest millions in the most updated systems
and technology as this is their core business. Hence by outsourcing
such functions, SMEs can leverage on the service providers’ world-class
Create employer branding
-The service providers function as an extended arm of the SME. Hence
by running the entire hiring process (right up to orientation) effectively,
a positive brand image is created for the SME.
Measurement of hiring effectiveness
-The HR can extract useful indices such as ‘quality of hire’, ‘cost
per hire’, ‘days to fill job’, ‘candidate experience’ etc. from the
service providers. This will enable the HR to focus more on strategic
issues rather than administrative tasks of the hiring process.
Quality of Hire
-This is of critical importance to any organization - whether is there
a good fit between the job and person. By outsourcing the hiring to
experts, it has been proven that the quality of hire will improve. This
means that the new hire performing better on the job and eventually
affecting the organisation’s overall operational effectiveness and profitability
in a positive way.
Having mentioned outsourcing as one of the strategies in managing talents,
the responsibility on employer branding still remains with the organization.
Companies need to brand themselves as choiced employers just like how
they brand their products and services.
There are some distinct advantages of being an SME which need to be
communicated to job seekers and existing staff. Being small can be an
asset in many instances. Having a staff strength of less than 300 makes
an organization a lot more nimble, fast and flexible compared to larger
MNCs which often wait for global initiatives before implementing changes
in their HR policies and practices.
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME TIPS FOR SMES:
-Employer branding – focus on key strengths such as “innovative”, “fast-growing”
-Provide flexible and innovative benefits/rewards that cater to individual
-Measure the current hiring effectiveness – indices such as ‘cost per
hire’, ‘days to fill a job’, ‘effectiveness of hiring channels’, ‘candidate
experience’ are critical so that SMEs can track where there are bottlenecks
and where the hiring process can be improved.
-Plan career path for individuals
-More growth opportunities, regionalization – which is attractive to
the younger workforce.
-Shift from being family-oriented to more performance-based
-Communicating the corporate goals, vision, direction (for a more engaged
-HR can afford to give personalized attention to individual’s needs
in terms of benefits, rewards, career goals, training & development
-Invest in meaningful training & development that leads to job expansion
Once the SME has established themselves as a choice employer with attractive
and innovative HR policies, retention strategies and career advancement
opportunities, it is only a matter of time that happy employees spread
the word. There is nothing more powerful for an organization than happy
staff who become their ‘ambassadors’ wherever they go! This inevitably
does wonders for enhanced employer branding and attracting better talents
over the years.