How can Singapore’s SMEs Attract and Retain Talents?

It is no surprise that Singapore’s SMEs are having a tough time to find and retain talents.

The Labour Market second quarter report by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed that the number of job vacancies continued to rise in the past years, culminating to 56,700 as of June 2018.

The recent 2018 budget announcement has also made hiring talents more challenging for SMEs. Since July 1st,companies are required to post job openings to Singaporeans for a minimum of 14 days first before they can open up the positions to foreigners.

With these new regulations in the recruitment space, the question that is one everyone’s mind is: what can Singapore’s SMEs do to attract and retain young talent?

Building your Brand

The 2018 Global Report, conducted by Randstad, revealed that:

  • 64% of candidates consider work-life balance as an important criteria that they consider before making the decision to join a company;
  • 41% pointed to the work atmosphere as an important criteria.

It is a supply and demand story. There are lesse candidates than there are job openings. Employer branding can be a first step to address this issue. Indeed, it does not only help companies attract and retain talent, it can also be used to help companies bring down their cost per hire.

One way Singapore’s SMEs can stand out from their competitors to attract and retain young talent is by focusing on building their employer branding strategies.

Here are a couple of tips to get you started!

1. Social Media

It is true that SMEs do not usually have a big marketing team that can focus on all the social media channels. However, that does not mean that you have no chance of standing out against your competitors to attract potential talent. Facebook and Instagram, for instance, are great tools for small marketing teams and can produce a significant impact on your brand.

Hashmeta’s Social Media Landscape study revealed that there are 35% of Singaporeans between the age of 25-34 on Facebook, and 87% from the age of 18-24 on Instagram. Start with sharing the awesome work culture your company has, and highlight the key elements that make it a great workplace! This enables you to create an interest among talents to join your company.

2. Employee Reviews

Some SMEs create accounts on job portals such as Glassdoor but have not made any initiative in building up their reviews. It is a clear “turn off” for a candidate when he or she searches on a company and discovers:

“We don’t have enough reviews for Company ABC”

Start by encouraging your employees to share their thoughts and experience on working for your company. This increases the confidence that a candidate has when considering the open position.

However, do keep in mind that these reviews should beauthentic. Over exaggerated or fake reviews will impact your branding and takeyou a long time to recover from.

Improve Candidate Experience

Candidate experience is a major key in today’s recruitment space. In a recent poll done by the recruitment consultancy Robert Half Singapore, 47% of candidates emphasized their frustration with either needing to wait for responses on their application or information pertaining to a company’s hiring process.

The poll also revealed that 47% of candidates will not recommend the company after a poor candidate experience, and 49% were prepared “to withdraw their applications if they had not received a timely response about the status of their application”.

A negative candidate experience might not only result in companies losing potential talents. There is also a possibility of unhappy candidates creating a bad reputation for your company’s products and/or services.

Here is an example of how Virgin Media lost $5.4 Million annually because of poor candidate experience.

And here are some ways of how you can tackle the problem and improve your candidate experience:

1. Create a better application process

58% of candidates in Singapore tend to search for jobs via their mobile phones. Since candidates are applying for jobs via various job portals, it is important for companies to optimise their application process.

For instance, a company posting their job advert on Indeed, should consider enabling the “Submit with Indeed Resume” instead of redirecting candidates to external pages to re-fill in their information.

2. Use tools for your Hiring Process

Hiring processes can be time consuming and challenging for companies. There might be quite a number of applicants for a particular job opening and it might not be feasible for hiring managers to manually respond to and screen candidates.

Companies can benefit from adopting AI tools into their recruitment processes to save time and improve their candidate’s experience. Here is a list of some tools which can make your life as a hiring manager easier:

1. engages in effective conversation with candidates using Natural Language Processing and then shares shortlisted candidate profiles, along with assessment scores and interview transcripts.

2. Mya

My Recruiting Assistant (MYA) is a chatbot which assists recruiters on communicating with candidates. Mya can communicate with candidates through email, skype or text. Mya helps recruiters with the initial screening process as well.

3. Olivia

Similar to Mya,Oliva is another chatbot recruiting assistant. It communicates with candidateswho shows an interest in an open position. The only difference between Mya andOlivia is that a candidate need not apply for a position to get Olivia to startcommunicating to them.

Training & Development

Though attracting talent is crucial, retaining them can be more challenging. SMEs tend to forget that constant upgrading of their employees’ skills can help encouraging them to stay with the company longer.

There are plenty of courses in Singapore which employers can take advantage of to upgrade the skills of their employees.

You may want to check on CET centres which offer a comprehensive array of WSQ courses based on your business’ nature.

There are also funding assistance available to Singapore’s companies such as The Enhanced Training Support which provides funding support to companies when they send their employees for training or skill upgrading courses.

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