SME businesses can be exciting places to work, with a fantastic company culture available if professionals fully immerse themselves in the brand. However, SME organisations can, unfortunately, find themselves in the shadow of their larger competitors, and sometimes lose their top talent if they decide to make the move to a bigger company. So, how can SMEs increase their attraction and retention rates when competing with their larger counterparts?
Understand why professionals move to larger organisations
At Michael Page, our specialist recruitment consultants have professional relationships with professionals from various business functions and industries. From our regular discussions with people who work within each sector, we have identified the common reasons that people choose to leave SME organisations. Five key reasons professionals choose to move to a larger organisation include:
- Lack of a desirable benefits scheme.
- Disengaged with the organisation.
- Lack of training and development.
- No flexible or dynamic working.
- Few opportunities to progress.
It is crucial to understand these reasons as an SME as making changes in these areas might be necessary to better attract and retain top talent in your organisation. Doing this must come from the top down, and your senior leadership must buy into your development efforts. This is crucial if you want to make positive business changes.
Boost retention rates
In order to identify why individuals are leaving your business specifically, and make changes to avoid further loss of talent, exit interviews will be important. When done effectively, this process can help you to identify why people are leaving your business. You can measure this information to track progress going forward. In addition to this, performance development programmes will ensure regular meetings are taking place between managers and employees, giving the opportunity to discuss their development and how the business can support people and help them to develop and progress.
Flexible working is a hot topic that keeps coming up and it is key to review your policy within your organisation. This is not only a benefit for employees with children, but this can also cover caring responsibilities, health and wellbeing commitments, as well as responsibilities outside of the workplace. Offering this in your organisation ensures that a high performance and high trust culture, is in place.
Benefits and the overall package being offered to employees has become more important to professionals. Therefore, looking at the wider package on offer can ensure that you are offering a package that suits your whole business and the needs of your teams at any current time. This can include pension, annual leave with the option to buy and sell, private healthcare, death in service, critical illness, and general flexible benefits. Introducing an employee engagement survey will give you a unique insight into what you do well and what you need to work on in terms of offerings. This is a starting point to begin to measure the culture in your business and the areas to focus on to improve staff retention.
Improve your EVP
Your employee value proposition (EVP) is a great way to showcase why professionals should want to join your team during interviews, and to your current employ, what you can offer them as an organisation. A key starting point in developing and improving your EVP is to properly identify what it is that you want it to say and do for you. What is your culture? Why do employees enjoy working for you? What can you offer in terms of benefits, flexibility, training and development? All of these questions are important to answer and outline in your EVP before you share it to the wider business and potential employees.
Implement cost-effective solutions to attract top talent
The recruitment process is key for SMEs, even though you will identify whether an employee is right for your business, they will also decide if you are right for them. A robust process is key in recruitment and should include a CV talk through, and competency-based questions in line with the job spec and company values. Including an office or site tour, will give your candidate an insight into what it might be like working for you. We are also seeing an increase in businesses adding personality testing to their recruitment process, which is then followed by a discussion around the results during the second interview stage. A cost-effective way to add solutions to your process is to gather feedback from employees that have been through your process before, and to make improvements accordingly.
Prepare for long-term success
Once an employee joins the business, it is key to ensure they are inducted into the business effectively, ensuring that they are given the skills and knowledge they need in order to fulfil their role and perform to the best of their ability. Ensure new employees have regular one-to-one meetings during their probation period and beyond, so that they understand what they are doing well, and the key areas in which they need to improve and develop.
If you would like to discuss how we can help support your hiring processes and source talented professionals for your team, get in touch with your local Michael Page office today or submit a job spec here. Alternatively, create a MyPage account to make the most of our Job Match tool to explore the opportunities best suited to your skill set.
Michael Page Human Resources