SMEs Biggest Challenge: Human CapitalPosted on June 9, 2012

At the most recent Arabia 500, an event honoring a collection of the regions fastest growing SMEs, an important question was asked. What is their biggest challenge? Managing directors and CEOs chimed in and the result became clear. It may come as some surprise but the most prominent response was NOT access to financial capital, but rather, the most common challenge was acquiring top talent. Talent that could help take their organizations to the next level. It’s a tricky problem magnified by a few systematic issues. SMEs must be fast and agile, they’re looking to turnover and show growth. Some of them have HR operations and some don’t. They often don’t have training programs, or career development offerings, they just need to hire people that are ready to go. They don’t have the ability to recruit the old fashion and expensive way. This problem is further intensified by the fact that quality job seekers don’t look for jobs at SMEs. Right? Well not so fast, that may not necessarily be true. The notion that good talent wants to work for big companies is a slowly eroding theme. In fact recent studies show an ever-growing rise in interest to work in smaller, more fast paced organizations. The allure of a promising startup, the flexibility of less bureaucracy, and the exposure to more elements within an organization are all making the case for working at SMEs, well, kinda sexy. So how does top talent and SMEs meet? Here are a few hints to help you find the best talent: -Invest in a good website with a properly branded career section. Let traffic know what makes your company standout, and why people should work there. -Don’t be cheap or cut corners. Offer competitive packages & stock options if possible. -Do small things for company morale. Plan trips, special events, bring a pet to work, etc. Create stories to publicize and give a good impression of corporate culture. -Post your job openings in the right places. Use niche sites or communities. -Use PR wisely, companies can often impress. Speak to the media, and keep your company in the public conscious. Have you recruited successfully as an SME owner. What worked for you?

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