SME Talent Acquisition Management

September, 2022

Although finding suitably qualified employees is a problem for businesses of all sizes, it is likely to be more acutely felt by Small to Medium sized businesses who may struggle with:

  • Lack of expertise in talent acquisition as a specialism
  • Lack of tools and software support
  • Perceived limitations for career growth 

Fortunately, there are steps SMEs can take to acquire talent and make your business an attractive place to work:

Yes, international businesses may be able to offer candidates a host of benefits an SME may only dream about, but they have down sides too. Employees in enterprise size businesses are often bogged down in bureaucracy which can stifle creativity and delay decisions. Highlight your SME’s fast paced culture. Show how you recognize and reward high performing employees in ways that might be more difficult for bigger counterparts. Make it clear that standout employees in an SME are likely to progress further and faster with a broader range of skills than colleagues in international businesses. 

 Contrary to popular belief, younger generations joining the workforce crave engagement. What research also shows a low percentage of millennial employees feel engaged at work. According to Gallup, it can be as little as 30%. This leads to reduced productivity and an inclination to job-hop from one company to another. Encourage potential talent to join and stay in your SME by sharing engagement strategies they can expect while working for you. 

It may be that your business: 

  • Shares business success 
  • Encourages employees to do more of what they are good at
  • Supports employees to try new things
  • Puts employees in a position of influence

These kinds of benefits can attract high potential candidates to your SME as they see how they will be provided with the space they need to grow and develop.  

In most instances SMEs must lean on multi-talented employees because they lack the resources or budget to be highly specialized. The benefit for high potential employees is they can be involved in a broader range of projects. Talented employees will jump at this opportunity to widen their skill set. 
Often stringent procedures mean global businesses are slow to review and process requests. It might take weeks or months to get even the simplest actions approved as several members of the organization must review the request. In contrast, in an SME the final approver for a suggestion or request may only be a level or two above the person who suggests it so change can be enacted much faster. This is a plus when it comes to talent acquisition and recruitment. 

One of the advantages of an SME from a talent acquisition perspective an ability to offer a more flexible employee experience than international counterparts.  Usually, the higher the number of employees, the more regulated flexible working practices must be. As a smaller business you may be able to allow: 

  • Employees work remotely with more regularity
  • Customise their working hours according to their needs
  • Encourage employees to develop their own methods for getting work done
  • Encourage employees to source software or tools to assist in finding efficiencies

Although there was a time when expat assignments were the domain of enterprise level organizations, a globalized economy has meant international business is essential to many SMEs too. If your SME has expanded overseas and a new recruit may have the opportunity to work abroad, ensure this is included as part of your talent acquisition communications. The opportunity to work overseas is a huge pull for many millennials. A KPMG study showed 80% of millennials expect to live in 3-6 countries throughout their career so not only is expat life desired, but it is also expected. That isn’t to say expat programmes for SMEs are not without their challenges, but managed correctly the positives definitely outweigh any negatives. 

SMEs have so much to offer perspective new employees. Make sure your business is not selling itself short when it comes to talent acquisition. 

If you are sending employees overseas on assignment, we offer tailored SME international health insurance so they can access private healthcare should they need it.