4 ways SMEs can win the talent war acquisition against MNCs

  • smes can win the talent war acquisitionsmes can win the talent war acquisition

Key Takeaways

  • Streamline talent assessment and better identify quality hires by tapping on HR analytics tools.
  • Provide a steep learning curve tailored to meeting the interests and aspirations of the candidate.
  • Capitalise on smaller SME size and flat hierarchy by instilling a family style team culture that has a stronger focus on personal growth, mentorships and open communications.
  • The above can help create vested interest and ownership in your company which can be further reinforced with shares or stock options.

In the era of Apple, Facebook and Google, the war for talent acquisition seems like an impossible one. How can SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) compete with corporate giants' (Multinational Corporations – MNCs) undeniably attractive employment packages and perks?

In the tale of David and Goliath, David's wits - not his size, won him the battle. Similarly, SMEs have advantages when it comes to hiring in the competitive job market, even if it's not immediately recognisable.

Here are 4 ways SMEs can tap on their strengths to get ahead in the talent acquisition curve:

1. Offer jobs/ internships with steep learning curve and diversity in job scope

You may ask: "But just about every company offers internships these days - so how do we compete against the large corporates?"

In the competition with large MNC, you will need to understand what each particular candidate is looking for.

Would you rather be a small fish in a big pong, or a big fish in a small pond? In a MNC, the job scope and role tend to be pretty fixed and sometimes you may be one out of the thousands of employees, creating a minimal impact on the company's growth. Working at a SME, there is the opportunity to not only make a bigger difference, but there is also a higher possibility of getting exposure to different parts of the business.

The opportunity of learning is considered as important as salary by candidates. According to Gallup’s report, not only the millennials but also Gen Xers regard learning opportunity as an extremely important factor to them when applying for a job. This is what startups and SMEs, with its diversity of job roles can offer.

During the interview, give your candidates insights into job scenarios they can expect to be involved in. Drill down into the specifics to elaborate on projects where current employees are triple hatting, such as when a project coordinator was tasked to manage distinct work functions like business development, content development and client coordination as part of a day's work, or how a developer transitioned into a management and strategy role within a short time frame.

2. When it comes to hiring strategies, think out of the box

Personalisation is another strategy that will set you apart from other companies. Tap on social media channels to find out as much about a candidate as possible, so when you reach out to these individuals, you'll be at a better place to tailor your communication to appeal to their interests.

Personalized approach in hiring requires more engagement with candidate through email, social network, phone call… The interaction and consistent communication that meet the concern of candidate will help make them become brand’s followers, fans and applicants.

3. Tap on tech in your search for talent

Tapping on the right tech tools - like big data, HR data analytics or software - can give companies a much-needed advantage when recruiting in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

However, most SMEs and startups don't possess the large financial resources required to procure these services - most of which come with a hefty price tag attached.

But this is set to change. There are affordable HR analytics SME dashboard and tools available that could help better match and simplify the talent assessment phase, enabling employers to better identify quality hires and reduce new hire turnover.

Such tools could compare answers from potential candidates against responses of high performers in the organisation, and a score that indicates similar working styles could indicate that the candidate is likely to be a good fit for the company.

4. Create a work culture that makes employees have a vested interest in your company

When you lack the resources and brand awareness to conduct a mass recruitment drive, you'll need to build on other offerings that will compel potential candidates to join your team. And one way to stand out from the rest is to create a culture that's unique to your organisation and resonates with potential candidates.

After all, big isn't always better - in larger companies, culture is often lost as the work environment becomes increasingly "corporate". For SMEs, its size becomes an advantage, as founders can work to instil a family-style team culture that has a stronger focus on personal growth and mentorship, open communication, remote working and flexible work hours and unique employee benefits - elements which are gaining in popularity among employees these days.

Carousell is an example of unique company culture.

The company has moved beyond providing the usual office perks, to establishing clear communication channels, providing room for growth, guidance from leaders and opportunities for team bonding. For example, the founders make it a point to spend time with the different teams by taking lunch together. And lunch time on Fridays are special; food is catered to the office, and the meal time is spent sharing company announcements, developments and informal interaction.

Ownership is a priority too - with larger companies, employees may have to content with creating minimal impact on the company's growth, as one out of a thousand engineers. But Carousell strives to create a sense of ownership for its staff by keeping team sizes fairly small. Take its engineering team as an example: while the app is currently serving millions of users, the entire team consists of just 23 staff members - giving each individual the opportunity for a varied job scope and steep learning curve.

“For SMEs, its size becomes an advantage, as founders can work to instill a family-style team culture that as a stronger focus on personal growth and mentorship, open communication, remote working and flexible work hours and unique employee benefits - elements which are gaining in popularity among employees these days.”

In the talent war acquisition, creative strategies will help SMEs gain advantages against giant MNCs.