Investing in staff viewed as key to SME success

posted by 4 years ago in News

Small and medium sized business owners have rated investing in staff above choosing suppliers and spending on technology according to a new study.

The research by American Express found that SMEs believe staff investment is the key to the growth of their company. 23 per cent of those asked ranked recruitment as second only to setting up their business in terms of importance. 20 per cent said their biggest decision was choosing suppliers and 19 per cent claimed it was investing in technology.

The study was conducted in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). It reveals that one in five SME business owners questioned would invest in increasing their staff numbers if their revenue doubled. Many of those asked recognised that staff recruitment was not without pitfalls. More than a third (35 per cent) of small businesses report a shortage of necessary expertise among applicants as the main hurdle in hiring. A further 27% per cent claimed to be worried about how they will fund the hiring of new employees.

Read our tips for successful staff recruitment…

Don’t get hung up on experience

Whilst there’s no doubt that experience counts for an awful lot and can be reassuring when taking on a new-recruit you should also give workers the chance to prove themselves. If a candidate has the specialist skill you require then don’t rule them out just because they’re a recent graduate or haven’t worked in your particular sector before. Remember many skills are transferrable.

Consider flexible working

Family commitments and childcare costs have meant that some professionals have ruled themselves out of full time employment. However, if you’re prepared to take a flexible approach you can capitalise on the skills they can offer either by encouraging a job share or reduced hours.

Confidence doesn’t always equal competence

Unless you’re looking for an employee who will regularly pitch, present or network for your business the absence of an abundance of confidence and charisma is unlikely to affect their ability to utilise the skills you need to grow. Don’t be dazzled at interview and then regret not pursuing crucial abilities needed for the role.

Prioritise skills

Any small business owner would tell you that every member of staff is incredibly valuable however, if you create a job advert which is more of a wish-list, you will put people off applying. It’s less intimidating to prioritise the essential skills you are looking for and add a column for desirable competencies.

Invest in your staff

Before you invest in recruitment consider whether any of your existing staff have the potential to learn the specific skills you require and set about replacing their current position. Not only will they gain the skills you need but you will be appreciated as a progressive employer.