White paper on best practice in recruitment and retention for SMEs launched

A new white paper on how SMEs can stand out from their larger competitors in the current climate is published this week by WM People and everywoman.

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How can SMEs stand out from the crowd and what role does flexibility and understand the needs of your workforce play in this?

A roundtable of SMEs held earlier this year by WM People and everywoman sought to understand the challenges facing smaller employers in the current economic climate. It was a chance to share challenges and successes and to promote women-owned businesses.  The free white paper based on the roundtable is published today.

Recent Government figures show SMEs employ 61% of the total number of people employed by private sector companies. Many start-ups benefit from agile working in the early days, but find it hard to keep ahead of the game as they scale because it is difficult to compete with the bigger companies with larger HR budgets.

The white paper sums up the discussion, which covered everything from recruitment and retention and flexible working to health and wellbeing. It was very clear from the discussion that, when it comes to competing for talent, how SMEs compete best depends very much on their sector, size and diversity issues as well as other factors. While some focused on work life balance and flexibility, others emphasised autonomy, purpose and upskilling.

A key takeaway is that it is important for SMEs to be very aware of how they stand out from larger competitors in their sector and what they can offer that those companies can’t. Greater awareness needs to be accompanied by a clear vision for the company. That will make it easier to know what the priorities should be in situations where resources are limited and the company can’t do everything.

Clarity is also a factor in how SMEs treat their employees, with expectations being transparent and guardrails being set where appropriate, for instance, when it comes to hybrid working. In return employers agreed that it is vital to keep in touch with your workforce through regular surveys, particularly as the company grows.

And in today’s multigenerational workforce, employers said a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Benefits packages need to be tailored to the different needs of different members of staff and this needs to be reviewed regularly.

The employers who took part in the roundtable came from a wide variety of sectors, including travel, IT, telecommunications, PR and law.

*To order a free copy of the white paper, click here. WM People offers recruitment and HR advice services for SMEs and everywoman’s Big Solutions for Smaller Budgets programme, launched last year, helps small businesses compete with larger organisations by offering off the shelf products, including leadership training and workshops in a box for International Women’s Day which covers everything from ‘Master the Art of Self Promotion’ to ‘Master the Art of Public Speaking’. The sessions are designed to equip anyone in an organisation to run a brilliant session, in-person or online – no experience is required. The 22nd annual everywoman Entrepreneur Awards, the UK’s leading recognition programme for women in business, opens for nominations in March 2024 and encouraged women in business to register interest.

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