Building a team that can help you grow your small business According to the Department of Statistics Singapore, SMEs make up 99% of the business community in the Republic – close to 219,000 SMEs contribute $196.8 billion in gross value to the economy yearly. On top of that, SMEs hold an employment rate of 65% of the total local workforce. However, despite being a significant part of the economy, homegrown companies continue to face challenges in recruiting top talent, often losing out to bigger-named multi-national companies. In these modern times, recruitment is a two-way street – while employers are ticking off boxes for candidates who meet the right criteria, jobseekers are doing the same thing to a potential employer as well. This is especially so for younger workers, millennials born between 1980 – 2000, who view their career as a combination of lifestyle choices and ambition, rather than just a means of earning a living. Opportunities for growth and development According to the World Economic Forum, millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Another trait that these individuals share is the pursuit of purpose in their career and sense of ownership for the tasks that they execute daily. That said, these jobseekers place more weight on the organisation’s outlook towards employee growth and development. Rightly so, employees should be committed to the long-term development of their workers – ensuring career progressions, personal fulfillment, and ultimately, the organisation’s success. A basic framework includes providing regular and fixed training sessions to fill knowledge skills gaps; allowing employees to progressively build or develop future-ready skills. At FastJobs, team members are given the opportunity to grow beyond their job scope. An offline marketer gets a shot at digital marketing. A regional partnership lead has the chance to learn profit and loss responsibilities. Such practice helps team members gain exposure and experience beyond what they were tasked. Regular face-time with management also helps to align individuals with the company’s business goals and internal culture. During these sessions, it is also essential for managers to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each employee and build on them. After all, employees value personal growth as much as professional growth. Organisational culture As employees’ workplace expectations grow, organisational culture plays an increasingly important role in securing talents. SMEs should foster a positive and inclusive culture, one that allows for open communication as well as an uplifting environment. Fundamentally, organisations should strive to build a team where everyone is open to contributing and accepting ideas. The small size of SMEs allows them the advantage of a flatter hierarchy and a close-knit culture – ensuring that all voices are heard and opinions are valued. Similarly, a supportive and encouraging environment is vital in providing employees the sense of affirmation that they need, to make them feel appreciated for the contributions that they have made. Such culture ensures that efforts are being recognised and good performances are rewarded. In addition, employers cannot afford to neglect the integration of work-life balance to enhance productivity and focus. Not only does it prevent burnouts, more importantly, employees will not view work as a chore which can cause them to be disengaged and unmotivated. Instead of the conventional and typical nine-to-five office hours, employees can offer flexible working arrangements – flexible working hours, working out of office, knocking off early on Fridays when tasks are complete, and so on. This would give employees opportunities to cater to their personal responsibilities (for example, childcare, aged parents, part-time studies), as well as improve their mental well-being. Recruiting via smartphone apps and social media According to ManpowerGroup Solutions, the top channels used by job seekers in Singapore are social media ads (30%) and smartphone apps (24%). Living in a world ruled predominantly by speed and efficiency, social recruiting plays a huge part in attracting potential talents in this digital age. This is due to the increased reliance on technology and the convenience that comes with blending personal and work lives. Job searching via smartphone apps allows for both candidates and employers to connect anytime, anywhere via chat, calls, or emails. Therefore, companies should look beyond the traditional hiring strategies that are time-consuming and instead, experiment with technologies to maximise recruitment efforts. Finally, as job seekers continually gravitate towards social sites to learn about different companies, a well-built profile on social media has become a necessity in attracting talents. In other words, companies can build their brands through social media to capture attention and pique interest. It could be interesting content that showcases the behind-the-scenes or fun facts about the company, depending on what appeals to the target audience. Creating a strong branding on social media helps to communicate the efforts that the company has put in to ensure a positive and comfortable working environment, which aids in increasing market recognition and building a positive image for the company. At the end of the day, there is no a one-size-fits-all practice — employers would have to work around to see what works the best for the business and for their pool of employees. Being faced with competition from bigger companies, SMEs should take advantage of their size and highlight the benefits of a smaller, learning-intensive and friendlier working environments. “This is a great place and I want to work here” – this is what SMEs need potential employees to take away when interacting with the company. Article by Mark Foo, Director of Product & Technology at FastJobs Source: HRM Asia