The top 5 hiring hurdles for SMEs and how to overcome them

Recruitment  •  29 May 2023

Scaling a small to medium-sized business is an exciting and challenging task for any entrepreneur or business owner. But while growing your business is an opportunity to increase revenue, market share, and impact, it also comes with a unique set of challenges. One of the most significant challenges, and one of the most crucial areas to get right, is hiring the best talent.

Hiring new employees can be a daunting challenge for small and medium sized businesses, especially with the added pressure of a sudden spike in hiring needs. While large corporations have the resources to attract top talent and invest in extensive recruitment processes, smaller businesses often struggle with limited budgets, time constraints, and a lack of in-house HR expertise. This can drastically restrict your ability to scale and recruit the people who will drive your business forwards.

Here we will discuss some of the most common HR and recruitment hurdles faced by small to medium sized businesses and provide tips on how to overcome them.

Limited Budgets

Advertising job vacancies on job boards, paying recruitment agencies, and conducting interviews can all add up quickly, and it can be difficult to justify these expenses when there are other pressing financial priorities for the business.

However, there are creative recruitment strategies that don’t require a large budget. Consider leveraging social media to advertise job vacancies, attending job fairs and networking events to find potential candidates, and offering employee referral bonuses to encourage current staff to recommend qualified candidates from their own networks.

Time Constraints

When working with limited resources, business owners are often responsible for managing recruitment themselves, which is time-consuming and takes away from other critical tasks.

A growing number of roles to fill and candidates to screen can make it challenging to stay organised and efficient in your hiring efforts, leading to lengthy recruitment timelines that compromise your project outcomes and make it difficult to find the right candidates quickly.

Leveraging technology can help to streamline your recruitment efforts. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) manage resumes and applications more efficiently, while video interviews help you screen candidates more effectively. It’s important to prioritise recruitment and set aside dedicated time each week to focus on hiring. It may also be helpful to streamline the recruitment process by creating clear job descriptions and setting up pre-screening questionnaires.

Limited HR Expertise

A lack of HR experience and no in-house HR team can make it difficult to navigate complex employment laws and regulations, create effective job descriptions, and conduct fair and unbiased interviews.

As your business scales, your hiring needs will change as new roles emerge, and existing roles evolve to meet new demands. Adapting to these changing needs is crucial if you want your long-term growth strategy to be successful.

Regularly reassessing your business needs and evaluating your current team's skills and expertise will help you develop a plan for how you will hire for new roles and train existing team members to take on new responsibilities. 

Working with expert consultants can help you navigate these changes and provide guidance on effective hiring strategies. It is also helpful to conduct research and stay up to date on employment laws and regulations.

Attracting Top Talent

In the current market, attracting the right candidates is difficult, even more so when you’re competing with larger organisations that offer more attractive compensation and benefits packages and clearer career development opportunities. Limited reach and brand recognition means that standing out in a crowded job market against bigger brands takes expert knowledge and a creative approach to recruiting.

By selling the company culture and values, as well as the opportunities for growth and development, candidates will see the benefits of working with a smaller company. Make sure to highlight any unique benefits or perks that the company offers, such as flexible working hours, remote work options, or a positive work-life balance. Joining an SME also offers the opportunity to be a part of the journey and shape the business as it grows; this is a key differentiator worth highlighting. You should also leverage employee testimonials and encourage staff to share their positive experiences on social media.

Retaining Employees

While attracting top talent is critical for scaling your business, retaining that talent is just as important. High turnover rates can be costly and disruptive, hindering your ability to achieve your growth goals and meet targets. In a competitive job market, employees may be tempted to leave for better opportunities or higher salaries.

A focus on employee engagement and development can help create a positive work environment that encourages employee satisfaction and loyalty. Offering competitive salaries and benefits packages, and prioritising employee well-being can help people feel supported, and regular employee feedback surveys will identify any areas of concern so you can address them proactively.

Employee retention starts with a great onboarding journey. Make sure that your onboarding process helps the employee start on the right note with clear guidance, communication, and encouragement.

To retain talent, consider focusing on employee engagement and development. Create a culture that values employee feedback and invest in training and development opportunities that can help employees grow and develop their skills

Hiring challenges can pose a significant obstacle to scaling a small to medium-sized business. 

However, with the right strategies and approaches, it is possible to overcome these challenges and attract and retain top talent. By prioritising recruitment, getting creative with recruitment strategies, and investing in HR expertise, you will build a talented team that can help you achieve your growth goals and adapt to the changing needs of your business.

RPO On-Demand is a flexible, subscription-based recruitment solution designed to support organisations experiencing spikes in their recruitment. Our bolt-on service increases your recruitment capacity and arms you with all the hiring expertise you need, without increasing headcount or long-term spend. To find out how RPO On-Demand can give you access to the best talent in the market, contact our team today.

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