Effective Hiring Strategies for SMEs in Singapore: How to Attract and Retain the Best Talent

640-hand-of-business-woman-giving-envelope-to-colleague-in-modern-office-promotion-hr-concept-unemployment-concept-searching-for-job-envelope-with-job-offer-message (1)

As an employer at a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME), you might find it hard going up against Multinational Corporations (MNCs) who are formidable in their evident appeal to employees. From global exposure and opportunities, higher salary packages, brand recognition to job security and resources, the list for why one should work for an MNC seems endless. But often swept under the rug are the downsides that come with working at an enormous organisation, with many hierarchical layers, limited flexibility and slow career progression. Conveniently, these are areas in which smaller organisations can make a difference in offering and highlighting their contrasting perks to attract potential candidates. In this article, we delve into some strategies that capitalise on these areas, and can improve your chances of finding and keeping skilful candidates with the evolving workforce:


  • Competitive Packages and Benefits

A competitive compensation package can not only help in the retention of employees, but the recruitment as well. While what comes to mind is usually an above-market rate pay, which may effectively appeal to many candidates, there are other non-traditional benefits that more and more workers are beginning to prioritise today. 

Some common desires that SME employers should consider tapping into when mapping out their compensation strategies include performance bonuses, healthcare coverage, additional leaves and transportation allowances. In these areas, SMEs can make up for what their limited cash flow cannot give by offering non-monetary benefits that add to their employees’ wellbeing. These incentives are a compelling way to draw candidates in with a dynamic and holistic compensation philosophy, especially during a time when work-life balance is greatly emphasised.

  • Showcase a Good Corporate Brand

Putting forward a strong employer brand built on positive values, cultures and plenty of opportunities is crucial for attracting talent. Whether it is through an established and consistent online presence or simply word of mouth, upholding and practising the principles you preach presents as a good indicator if a company is a place where candidates can comfortably learn, grow and develop. Bring attention to the privileges your SME provides, from a friendly and welcoming work environment to personal guidance and mentorship, which can be highly effective at encouraging potential candidates to apply for the job. 

During this time, state your job descriptions and requirements clearly. Detail what is to be expected of the role so that there are limited surprises that can throw off your candidates and slow down your recruitment progress. For streamlined and efficient hiring, do your best to reply to applications promptly to sustain your image as a responsive and professional organisation. This also prevents candidates from moving on due to untimely responses that can be interpreted as a lack of interest.

  • Career Growth Opportunities

Many ambitious candidates seek for growth in their positions, so providing roles that are oriented for promising career paths and advancements will be hard to resist. Mention potential developments that can further their roles inside and outside of the organisation, and chart out any training, workshops and programmes your business is willing to supply in order to upgrade them professionally. Knowing that they are viable for climbing the ladder can convince them of a future at your workplace, where they can stay and work for the long haul.


  • Be Invested in Developing Their Career

Taking a personal interest in maximising the potential of your employees fosters a sense of camaraderie that leads to mutual trust, gratitude and satisfaction. As it shows that you are committed to ensuring not only the success of your business, but also the wellbeing of your workers, this could translate into increased employee loyalty and thus, a lower turnover rate. Employers can start by drafting up a career development plan where an employee’s professional goals take centre stage, consequently filling it up with the employee’s self-assessment of their skills, gaps and values. By collaboratively understanding and recognising their aspirations and areas of improvement, both employers and employees can gradually conceptualize the necessary steps to be taken in order to achieve their objectives and milestones for success.

  • Continuously Upgrade Your Talent

Your employees may be working within your organisation, but they still have to remain competitive and relevant to the outside world. As employers, in particular those of an SME, it is your responsibility to ensure that your workers are exposed to new talents from industry events such as conferences, workshops and seminars to upskill and unleash their full potential. Consciously training and upgrading your employees shows that you care about their career progression and development. These are active steps that can help them find meaning in their line of work, especially through gaining insight and connecting with others in professional and industry-specific communities.

This could also prove to be advantageous for your SME, as you are cultivating your workers into multi-faceted experts at the workplace. Furthermore, you can prepare them to take on responsibilities of greater magnitude which offers you the relief of succession planning for the long-term benefit of your company. This also addresses and rectifies any talent gaps that may crop up from innovations and evolving work demands. 

  • Create a Positive Work Culture

Countless studies have shown the distinct correlation between work culture and the retention rate of employees. It is important to remember that while preventing a toxic work culture pervaded with politics, rivalry and fear dissuades workers from leaving your organisation, a positive work culture, on the flip side, promotes workers to stay and gladly contribute to the workplace. This creates a knock-on effect that improves employee health, enhances performance, decreases turnover and increases loyalty.

Promote a positive work culture to implement the best work conditions for your team of employees. One of the most fundamental steps in this approach is to lead by example, with the aim of your employees reciprocating and modelling after your respect, support and appreciation towards them. Make an effort to cultivate a family-style corporate culture that SMEs have the liberty of exercising, as opposed to a larger corporation. Make sure that your employees are comfortable expressing their opinions, are forgiving, and can inspire each other to reach greater heights at the workplace. 

As an employer, make a note to avoid overstepping boundaries and crossing into your workers’ work-life balance. In this regard, it would be beneficial to explore engaging in team-bonding activities outside of work hours, such as going on company retreats, outings, attempting volunteering or simply enjoying after-work meals together. Nurturing meaningful relationships beyond the workplace can in turn strengthen working relationships, increasing productivity and satisfaction.

Want to learn more about acquiring candidates, running a business and all things career and employment? Check out our resources on JobMaster now and you can be on your way to better results with your candidate or job search. Advertise your vacancy or browse listings with us today. Great prospects await you!