Investing In Human Capital

Build Stronger Companies By Strengthening Your HR Management Practices

Attracting and developing human capital have always been a critical part of any corporate strategy. With Singapore’s ongoing economic restructuring efforts toward productivity-led growth, the way companies develop their human capital has become even more important for sustainable business growth.

“SMEs need to increase their efforts and investments to create good jobs, build attractive career pathways, and establish training and development roadmaps to attract new talent and retain their best performing staff,” says Mr Darshan Singh, Director of SPRING Singapore’s Human Capital Division.

Photo courtesy of SPRING Singapore

Photo courtesy of SPRING Singapore

Matching And Attracting Talent

One of the key elements of human capital development is identifying the right person for a job and getting them to take up the role. This is especially true for SMEs, which have traditionally found it more challenging to recruit talent in today’s competitive labour market, when compared to larger organisations.

The SME Talent Programme (STP) is an initiative that helps participating SMEs attract local talents from the Institute of Technical Education (ITEs), Polytechnics and Universities through offering internships, study awards and employment opportunities.

SPRING partners appointed Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) to administer the programme. Through STP, strong partnerships are established with the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to catalyse job matches as well as profile and promote attractive career prospects in SMEs to students and graduates. 

The key is to stand out among countless other employment opportunities and for SMEs to distinguish themselves as an employer of choice as they build up a pipeline of talent to support their long-term growth plans.
— Mr Darshan Singh, Director, Human Capital Division, SPRING Singapore

Since its launch in June 2013, close to 400 young talents from the various IHLs have been matched through internships or job placements to local SMEs in industries such as F&B, retail and manufacturing.

Local fitness and wellness company Amore Fitness is one such company which has recruited five students under the STP. Ms Joanne Ng, HR & Corporate Manager at Amore, notes that STP has helped to boost the ability of SMEs, which typically have limited resources to invest in attracting and training employees, to build their talent pool. In turn, young candidates are motivated by the study awards and extensive training opportunities provided by the company.

Developing HR Capabilities

Beyond attracting talent, the ability to retain staff is another integral element of HR management. Companies with strong HR processes in areas such as employee engagement, training and career development are better positioned to strengthen staff loyalty and retain experienced staff who add value to the organisation.

SPRING has various initiatives aimed at helping SMEs in these areas. One example is the HR Capability Toolkit, which provides a framework and guidelines covering eight main areas in which SMEs can strengthen their HR management capabilities by addressing gaps and adopting good practices. In addition to tips and pointers on how to manage specific HR matters, this free self-help toolkit also contains tools and templates that companies can customise to meet their needs.

The HR Capability Toolkit’s Manpower Planning module helped Mr Ang Yuit of web and digital services firm, The Adventus Consultants, to develop a HR handbook to clearly define the company’s culture and provide new staff with a better understanding of the company and its future plans.

An example of a company that has used the HR Capability Toolkit is web and digital services firm The Adventus Consultants, which was seeking ideas to strengthen its corporate culture in the face of an expanding workforce spread across two countries.

The toolkit’s Manpower Planning module helped Managing Director Mr Ang Yuit realise the importance of forward planning, assessing current workforce capabilities and working out future requirements based on business goals. As a result, The Adventus Consultants developed a HR handbook to clearly define the company’s culture and provide new staff with a better understanding of the company and its future plans.

In addition, SMEs can also tap the $5,000 Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) to receive consultancy support by engaging qualified HR consultants to develop their capabilities in areas such as compensation and benefits, performance management and manpower planning.

Faced with a need to attract new talent to support its growing business, local photographic equipment company Cathay Photo began to explore ways to enhance its HR policies. It tapped the ICV to engage a HR consultant to identify opportunities for improvement and managed to gain great insights into industry practices. This was useful in enabling Cathay Photo to use the information to shape new policies which are uniquely suited to the needs and culture of the company.

Standing Out In The Crowd

With competition for talent likely to remain stiff as Singapore’s economy continues to grow, SMEs should strive to improve their human capital capabilities while communicating a strong employer brand to attract fresh talent.

“The key is to stand out among countless other employment opportunities and for SMEs to distinguish themselves as an employer of choice as they build up a pipeline of talent to support their long-term growth plans,” says Mr Singh.

Some strengths that SMEs can tap to attract young talent are their family-like corporate culture and flatter management structures, which often allow the opportunity for new recruits to work closely and learn directly from the senior management team.

Many SMEs are on track to expand into overseas markets and are well positioned to offer graduates overseas career opportunities.

Working in an SME can also provide graduates with the opportunity to be exposed to different job functions and roles so that they can gain a wider spectrum of skillsets and capabilities.

In fact, many SMEs with high growth potential are also on track to expand into overseas markets and are well positioned to offer graduates overseas career opportunities.


Reproduced with permission from SPRINGnews June 2014 Issue. Published by SPRING Singapore.


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