Ask any employer running an SME what one of the biggest challenges facing their business is today, and many will point to the ongoing skills shortage in Ireland.
Two thirds of Enterprise Ireland’s clients say they are short-staffed this year, and that’s why figuring out how best to attract, recruit and retain key talent is top of their minds for business leaders across our SME base, especially as we continue to adjust to hybrid working in many sectors.
While the pandemic caused huge upheaval and change to how we work, employers must also ensure they meet new standards of diversity, equality and inclusion, such as having a gender-balanced workforce.
Likewise, they need to understand the varying needs of different demographics within the workforce.
80pc of employee turnover can be attributed to poor hiring decisions
Though the world of work has changed irrevocably, there are emerging best-practice approaches to support the leaders of Irish SMEs on how to identify, recruit and keep the talent required to build and scale their business.
Enterprise Ireland has recently published a detailed new guide, in partnership with recruitment technology specialists Occupop: ‘Attracting and retaining talent: How to identify, source and recruit staff for your business’.
The advice in this guide draws on Enterprise Ireland’s deep expertise and knowledge of recruitment and resourcing best practices, as well as offering insights on the latest trends and business theories.
While the guide could be useful for any business, it has been specifically written for leaders of SMEs, taking into account the challenges they face and how they can recruit new staff.
It is practical, with straightforward guidance for leaders of SMEs on every step of the recruitment and retention process, from defining a role to deciding on recognition and rewards systems. It sets out a streamlined, efficient way to recruit, on-board and retain people, with step-by-step instructions for employers and plenty of tips for getting it right.
The first step is creating a recruitment strategy, which is vital to make sure that investment in this area pays off. According to the Harvard Business Review, 80pc of employee turnover can be attributed to poor hiring decisions. A sound recruitment strategy will reflect and map to the overall business strategy.
The guide not only covers how to define a role, how to advertise it to attract candidates (including specifications for different channels) and how to create a candidate shortlist, but it also explains to employers how they can develop their Employee Value Proposition, which is a core pillar of any recruitment strategy.
Another area that can prove challenging for SMEs is managing the candidate assessment process. The new guide offers useful how-to sections around interviews, psychometric testing and more. It also outlines how best to on-board new employees with both short-term and long-term induction plans.
Once you’ve successfully hired new talent, it’s important to remember that this is only the beginning, and our guide also offers tips how to retain your best people. This includes guidance on building and evolving company culture, supporting diversity and inclusion, offering training and mentoring, investing in employee wellness and planning for the future.
While workplaces and work patterns are changing, this guide gives SME owners and HR leaders invaluable tactics, techniques and processes for facilitating and evolving their HR practices.
It is free to download from GlobalAmbition.ie. Enterprise Ireland also offers client companies other resources to help them improve their recruitment and resourcing practices.
These include one-to-one guidance from our people and management specialists, access to external HR consultants, eLearning solutions and Leadership and Management Development Programmes. To find out more, please speak with your Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor.
Mariam Dadabhay is People & Management Specialist at Enterprise Ireland