How to Successfully Recruit and Retain Staff in 2021

Katie Ash

Mar 25, 2021

Many workers on the lookout for new roles have had a tough time over this past year. Overall unemployment rate rose from 2.3% in 2019 to 3% in 2020, with resident unemployment rates growing from 3.1% to 4.1%, and citizens from 3.3% to 4.2% in the same period. The number of retrenchments for 2020 was 26,110 workers – more than double 2019’s 10,690. [Source: CNA]

Job seekers faced a flooded market, with businesses tightening up budgets, placing hiring freezes for extended periods and delaying recruitment for open roles. The Singapore Government has stepped in to help, with many initiatives aimed at easing the cost of recruitment for companies, and grants to help with the up-skilling or re-skilling of workers needing to make a change in industry.

With many workers looking for re-entry into the job market, how can employers be sensitive to the trials of the past year, ensuring a smooth recruitment process for these workers, while also retaining existing staff?

Take advantage of Singapore Government grants

The Singapore Government has stepped in to support businesses in going digital. SMEs are an essential foundation of the Singapore economy, employing two thirds of the workforce and contributing nearly half of Singapore's GDP.

To encourage the hiring of local staff, the government also extended its ‘Jobs Growth Incentive’ (JGI), with the second phase starting March 2021 until September 2021. During this period, employers will be eligible to receive support rebates of 25% or 50% of a new local hires salary for the first $5,000 of gross monthly wages.

To be eligible for the JGI, there must be an increase in overall local workforce size AND an increase in local workforce size earning ≥$1,400/month, compared to the February 2021 local workforce.

As they rebuild their business models and strategies in a much changed economy, SMEs need to realise the wealth of support made available to them.
Mr Ronak Shah, Chief Executive Officer QBE Insurance Singapore

Phase one payouts for all new local hires for the months of September, October and November 2020 is happening in March 2021. Employers who increased their overall local workforce during this time will receive the Government support payments via GIRO into their business bank accounts.

Download our ebook, Key Grants Available to SMEs, for more insights into the financial assistance available for businesses in Singapore.

Free Ebook - Key Grants Available to SMEs in Singapore. Download a copy.

Embrace new ways of working

During the pandemic, many people have been surprised by how quickly and effectively technologies and digital collaboration tools were adopted. According to McKinsey research, 80% of people questioned report that they enjoy working from home, with 41% saying they are also more productive.

Deloitte predicts that up to 47.8 million people across the ASEAN-6 nations will transition to remote work over the next few years. Of those nations, Singapore (45%) and Malaysia (26%) have the largest potential remote workforce due to their dominant service industries.

Flexibility is now the top consideration of Singapore workers when looking to join a new company. According to our recent Singapore Employee Benefits survey 2020, companies with added flexibility and who encourage a work-life balance are most appealing to Singapore workers.

Offering flexible hours is probably the single biggest opportunity when it comes to offering perks that actually make a difference to employees. It also comes at little to no cost to the company, even potentially saving cost without the need for large office spaces etc.

Flexibility leads to a greater quality of life. Employees don’t feel like they need to sacrifice their career in order to focus on their family or hobbies and vice versa. As a benefit, flexibility provides the best long-term value to employees. According to Vantage Circle, 45% of employees would prefer flexible scheduling over pay increases.

Promote and encourage company values

Company culture is an important aspect of recruitment. Not only will a great culture attract job-seekers to your company, but promoting company values helps to get like-minded individuals through the door. Company values refer to a set of beliefs, principles, and best practices that are widespread across the company and are used by all employees to shape the company’s culture.

Developing company values as a CEO or HR manager and sharing with the business is rarely effective. When Swingvy were developing company core values, a team was put together of employees representing every department and country location. Together they built the core values of the company, ensuring every team and country agreed on and were aligned with each of the values put forward. Bringing employees into the process of developing company values, discussing how they should be interpreted and applied in business situations, and integrating them into daily processes is an effective way to ensure the values will impact the culture of your business.

Swingvy Company Values

Company values should provide continuous alignment to the vision, purpose, and goals of the company. When company values are promoted and instilled within the working style of a business, these shared working values promote collaboration and better understanding and cooperation of team members. This results in a more harmonious work environment that in turn impacts retention rates amongst staff.

Leaders within the business have an important role in projecting the company's core values. Reflecting on how they’re listening to and engaging with employees, living the company values themselves and recognising employee performance can all have great impacts on the rest of the team.

Ensure your onboarding process is robust

This past year has dramatically changed the way businesses attract, recruit, and onboard staff. Virtual recruiting and onboarding has become the norm. As we look to the future, hybrid workplace arrangements will require traditional recruiting processes to be reassessed.

Providing employees with a positive onboarding experience can enhance the productivity of that team member, and improve retention rates in the business by up to 82%. Ineffective onboarding on the other hand can lead to almost 17% of new hires leaving within their 3-month probationary period. A survey by Gullup found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding.

When newcomers are welcomed to the team, ensure their equipment and onboarding plan is prepared before they start. To provide ongoing support as employees get up to speed, encourage ongoing check-ins and 1:1 sessions with their direct manager. As they continue to find their place in their new role there are opportunities to uncover areas where they may need additional support.

Download our onboarding checklist to make sure you tick the boxes and set your new team members up for success.

Swingvy's tips for successful remote onboarding. Download the checklist.

Enable easy communication and collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration form the foundation of successful businesses. With work culture undergoing a radical shift towards remote and flex-work, enabling easy communication across teams is critical. Implementing tools to allow instant messaging and video conferencing between and within teams, can help your company stay connected. Ensuring your teams are equipped with the right tools will also enable effective communication and collaboration.

According to TinyPulse, transparency is the top contributing factor to an employees happiness. With many teams remote, and some implementing flex work between home and the office, ensuring everyone has access to the same information and work documents is an essential step to improving transparency. Get your whole team working from the same page — digitally. ‍

Streamlining workflows by digitising content and making use of cloud-based and mobile-enabled platforms will improve the transparency and the transfer of company information, ensuring work is accessible to team members no matter where they are. Updating user access and security settings, ensuring your people have access to their own records and employment information, and implementing project management tools so everyone is aware of what’s happening on projects are great steps to ensuring productivity is maintained, without added workload.

View our interactive collaboration & communication ecosystem infographic.

Provide career development opportunities

To reduce recruitment costs and ensure your business can carry on as usual, a company must try and hold on to its best employees. Providing opportunities for career development is a great way to grow and retain staff. There are countless benefits to up-skilling including a more engaged and productive workforce.

The SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC), a grant available to Singapore SMEs, encourages employers to invest in enterprise transformation and capabilities of their employees. Up to $10,000 can be claimed to pay for programmes that train and up-skill workers.

Career development can also be addressed internally through performance coaching and recognition. Career development programs often focus on matching employees’ skills to the needs or tasks of the organisation. Instead, pushing employees outside of their comfort zones to be given opportunities to take on more responsibility and grow their skill sets is a far better way to improve employee retention and encourage company loyalty. When the development of individuals is prioritised, they will respond by giving more of their effort to the company.

“When there are new things constantly opening up for you it helps to keep you going.”
Charisse Lee, Business Development Manager Swingvy


Ensure a smooth onboarding process with Swingvy

Swingvy’s full-suite HR software simplifies onboarding by connecting and syncing employee information across all HR modules.

The cloud-based platforms’ HR Hub provides employees with access to their personal data in a secure HR system, as well as access to company information including a shared company calendar, org-chart and employee directory, in one place. The Swingvy payroll system, expense claims and leave management platform are all linked to the HR system, so all HR tasks can be managed on one platform.

Swingvy automatically pro-rates pay based on employee join date, and can sync their data with your employee medical insurance provider from with the HR platform.

To learn more about how Swingvy’s HR software can help you simplify people management, request a demo and gain access to try the platform for yourself.

Request a demo of Swingvy HR platform.

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