A company’s life blood is its clients, but a good entrepreneur knows and recognizes that its backbone is its employees. But how can one strengthen their company’s backbone?
Hiring the best talents is essential in the success of any business. When you’re setting up a startup business in Singapore it is important to think of how you can get the best talent available that would help your company grow strong. If you already are running a business in Singapore but are expanding or wish to expand, the same principle applies.
Any good business’ most valuable resource is and should always be its talents or employees. While making sure your business has a good location; is able to reach its intended market and build relationships with its clients and has a good working environment are all integral in making a startup work, a strong workforce is crucial to that.
In a study by Compass on the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking in 2015, Singapore’s lowest ranked factor was Talent, ranking only 20th on the scale. What does this mean for employers looking for talent within Singapore? Does this refer to the quality of talent or the quantity? According to the report, the Talent factor of Singapore’s ranking is based on the inflow of talent and Singapore’s ability to generate talent locally.
Does this mean that the Singaporean workforce is lacking in number or are many of them leaving the country for better opportunities and benefits elsewhere? Is talent attraction really low in Singapore? Yes and no. The study by Compass states, “Singapore enjoys a significant inflow of talent, yet it is still difficult for startups to find experienced software engineers because of the competition of larger companies and a culture that does not value risk-taking.”
In an article by BBC in 2015, it showed that Asian schools have topped the biggest global school rankings that have been published. In the report, Singapore headed the table, followed by Hong Kong. This tells us that education is thriving in Singapore as well as all over the world. The world has also become a smaller place as it has now been made easier to work for international companies. But this only means there is a fight ahead for local business owners to gain a hold on the contingent workforce.
Findings from the Hays Asia Salary Guide in 2015 show a slight rise in the number of employers who expect their use of temporary or contract staff to increase in the year ahead, up from 20 to 21 per cent. This growing culture of hiring contractually, has certainly affected how potential employees view risk within a company. The safety net of contractual employment and the ever-growing certainty that someone will always need a consultant on a project for a product or a service makes it harder to find committed employees.
One way for entrepreneurs to fight this battle is by offering potential employees something that contractual work cannot: good and lasting benefits. The government of Singapore has devised an Employment Act which details the basic terms and working conditions for all types of employees, with some exceptions. Considered as the city-state’s main labor law, it gives entrepreneurs and employees alike with information on where the minimum requirement of benefits begins. Foreign employees with a work pass are also covered under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, which outlines an employer’s responsibilities and obligations for employing foreigners. To help employers comply with employment laws, inspectors also conduct workplace visits to provide information on employment laws. Recently, some amendments were added to help employees better understand how their salary is computed and their employment terms and benefits for contractual, part-time and full-time employees.
To increase talent attraction, employers should be able to offer more than the bare minimum of required benefits. But what can employers do to make their company enticing enough for a potential employee to stay?
An emergent idea among HR and recruitment businesses nowadays is what they are calling, Employer Branding. Building up one’s brand is not just hugely important in customer acquisition but also in attracting the right employees. Employer Branding is basically a tool that helps employers give a unique proposition to current and potential employees. It is not merely putting up a front for your company to make it look like the place to work. It is a careful, planned out strategy and entails the building of a strong employer profile. It defines how you are as an employer. If you come up with a solid plan for your employer branding, your work will speak for itself and talent attraction shouldn’t be too hard for you.
Of course, as a startup that might be easier said than done. If you are a small business just starting out, you may not have a reputation as an employer that would precede you, and thus, allow potential employees to choose you. But you can tell potential employees how you would be as an employer and make sure to follow through. Tarnishing your reputation and earning one as a promise-breaker within the employment scope would be a terrible move for anyone, especially a new company.
Key to employer branding is also employer value proposition (EVP). EVP is simply a unique set of offerings, associations, and values to positively influence target candidates and potential employees. A company needs a unique employer offer. The EVP gives current and future employees a reason to work for an employer, not just a company, and reflects the company’s competitive advantage
In building both your EVP and your employer branding profile, it is important to remember that employees are looking for simple and basic things. An article by Mike Parsons in Singapore Business Review suggests millennials today—who are the current prospective workforce—value achieving a work/life balance. More than a hefty signing bonus or a fun working environment or 24/7 access to the company gym, employees are looking for more basic fulfillments: a friendly working environment, high future earnings, and professional training and development. Promises and follow-through of these fulfillments within the job can certainly boost an employer’s recruitment strategy.
In conclusion, there are many tools entrepreneurs can look up that will help them proposition themselves as a good employer. Use the tools available focusing on Employer Branding and Employer Value Proposition. Your goal is to learn as much as you can about the contingent workforce and talent attraction. Then use that information to offer potential employees what they want. Also, make sure that you read and understand the Singapore Employment act, so you can make room to comply.
After considering all these factors and deciding what to offer potential employees, what’s even more important than solid benefits is following through on your promises. Build a good name as an employer by being the type of employer who promises to work with employees, not above them. Let them know that within your company they can find work/life balance and a good environment to foster career growth. Then solidify that reputation as a good employer by keeping your promises.