Leveraging the “SME Advantage”

It’s challenging times for employers, with record-high levels of employee turnover, shortages of skilled staff in a tight labour market, low unemployment, and wages rising to keep pace with surging inflation.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may find it harder to compete with the deep pockets of large corporations, but there are plenty of advantages SMEs have in being able to attract and retain talent by tailoring creative, meaningful remuneration packages for each employee.

Here are some key tips:

  • Look beyond the pay packet – while you want to keep salaries in line with market rates, if possible, there are many other things that are just as, or more important, to people. Can you offer a better work-life balance, career progression, or a vibrant, inclusive workplace culture?
  • Personalise your offerings – everyone is different, so the benefits and support you offer should be valuable to each employee, whether that’s extra training opportunities, more leave, equity via a profit-sharing scheme, or perks like gym memberships.
  • Support and trust your staff – establish a solid basis for each employment relationship and match expectations with action. This builds trust and confidence, which flows into higher motivation and employee retention.
  • Flexibility is key – research shows that flexible work arrangements are now expected by many employees, so explore options with your people. Can people work remotely some of the time or work flexible hours so they can meet family commitments or miss rush hours?
  • Build your mission and culture – small businesses are often run by passionate people, so provide clarity and purpose for employees by articulating your vision and building a dynamic team culture that supports people and celebrates success.

For more detail about the ways SMEs can leverage their advantages to attract and keep talented employees, have a look at this article.


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