Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are most crucial to India’s growth story. Employing about 106 million people – 40% of India’s workforce, 6% contribution to manufacturing GDP, and 6000+ products, the SME sector accounts for 40% of India’s total exports and 45% of the manufacturing output. No wonder SMEs will be India’s growth engine in the near future.
One important factor that is going to drive the hyper-growth trajectory of SMEs is Talent. The right people with niche skills who can innovate, scale, and drive business continuity. However, finding talent is one of the biggest challenges small and medium businesses (SMBs) face – lack of time to spend on finding talent, high cost of human resource management, and talent wars with the corporate sector lead to SME entrepreneurs losing out on top talent.
So, what can SMEs do to attract, hire, and retain the right talent? Here are 12 ways SMEs can build their talent pool and unlock that growth potential:
Reaching out to the Talent Pool:
1. Make your story compelling – Create a brand name for you as an employer. Tell people why they should work for you and focus on third party reviews like Glassdoor to back it up.
2. Be visible and be where the talent is – Establish an online presence where candidates can know more about you. Push out vacancies on job portals and social media. LinkedIn is increasingly becoming a great place to find talent online for professionals across levels.
3. Gain early access to talent – Successful companies begin to engage with talent long before they are seeking employment. Visit campuses, offer internships, or invite local students to take part in workshops.
4. Leverage talent communities – Partner with accelerators, engage with industry associations, attend industry conferences and generate positive word-of-mouth to reach the right talent.
5. Initiate referral programs – Talent attracts talent. Have your associates and employees tap into their network to recommend talent and get rewarded in case the recommendation is converted into a hire.
6. Understand your hiring needs – Identify the key roles and map skills and target competencies most relevant to your business goals. Be absolutely clear on the professional and personal qualities, qualifications, and expectations needed to fulfil the job.
7. Screen and assess to weed out the undesirables –This way it’s easier to evaluate a profile and determine the fit. Create pre-hire assessments such as scenario-based and problem-based assessments to further shortlist. Spend quality time interviewing the final shortlist to identify a great hire.
8. Invest in Human Resource Management (HRM) – Build the right hiring practices to improve candidate experience – easy application process, responsiveness, on-boarding etc. Get technology solutions that can reduce efforts and costs involved in hiring while making things simpler for the candidate.
9. Crowdsource talent – Tap into the gig economy to find people with specialized skills for temporary projects and avoid the costs of a full-time hire.
Retention is key:
10. Build your employee value proposition – Create a culture that fosters talent development. Offer perks and benefits such as flexible work timing, remote working, digital systems, conveyance support etc.
11. Support development opportunities – A great way to ensure you’re on the path to hyper-growth is to constantly promote ‘intrapreneurship’ – a culture where your people are continuously looking to get to the next level.
12. Create your own talent pool – Invest in internal coaching/training programs to constantly up-skill your workforce.
Finally, to find and attract the right talent you have to make them an offer they can’t refuse. And it’s not just money. Today’s workforce is more interested in personal growth and the impact they can potentially create via their jobs. Understand their aspirations and make an offer that seeks to meet the same.