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How to Attract & Retain the best talent for your SME

Tuesday 28 August 2018 by AP Group HR

The employment sector has changed dramatically over the years with many different forces influencing the supply and demand for talent. Society is highly multifaceted and volatile while factors such as demography, democracy and discernment are shifting the supply and demand of talent:

  • Demography: Although the global population exceeds 7 billion, the availability of skilled workers is actually shrinking, and not just in advanced-ageing countries such as the UK.
  • Democracy: Technology such as social media has made employer reputations very transparent – nothing is concealed or unknown anymore. 
  • Discernment: People are becoming far more selective about their place of employment with factors such as diversity, inclusion and corporate responsibility mattering more than ever. 

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to switch jobs with greater frequency than ever before, with job hopping being particularly common amongst millennials. According to a study by Career Builder, employers expect 45% of their newly hired college graduates to remain with the company for less than two years.  


However, the impact of employee turnover on a business can be very negative indeed, including a loss of experienced employees, an impact on productivity and an impact on profits. Further, employee turnover is expensive as you have to take into account the cost of hiring, onboarding, training, learning and development, as well as the costs involved in maintaining an unfilled role and rehiring for that role. Yet despite the fact that most companies know their long-term advantage resides in their employees, most don’t put enough critical thought into how to increase employee retention. 


Some of the most common reasons why people leave a job include lack of career progression (24%); desire to be closer to home (21%); desire to change fields completely (20.4%); a better salary offer (18.2%) and having learnt all they could from the job (16.3%.) 
In order to attract and retain top talent and grow their ideal teams for the future, it’s vital that SMEs implement effective talent strategies. This can be achieved by: 

  1. Identifying critical roles 
  2. Understanding your target talent 
  3. Assessing the strength of your current employment package 
  4. Sustaining and developing your employer brand 
  5. Meticulously interviewing candidates to ensure they possess the right skills whilst matching the culture and environment of your company

In addition, your SME should focus on: 

  • Growth

Younger generations, in particular, crave growth within the workforce and are more easily able to prioritise elements such as personal growth and career opportunity over income and job security. 

  • Impact 

People want to know that what they’re working on is contributing to something that matters, which is why it’s important to have a clear and purposeful mission. 

  • Care 

Finally, it’s essential to create a workplace that genuinely cares about others’ best interests. This sort of workplace environment will work wonders in cultivating a hardworking, dedicated and empowered workforce. 

With the employment environment evolving and developing on a daily basis, it’s essential for SME businesses to be strategic when it comes to employee retention and remaining competitive. 


AP Personnel equips you with the tools and resources your business needs to create a culture worth working for, saving you money, helping you stay competitive in your industry and making the working environment more enjoyable. Contact AP Personnel today to speak with one of our expert consultants.