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Talent Management is often thought to be an area of concern mostly for large corporations. Here’s a look at why managing talent is crucial to small businesses and why Asian SMEs need to get on board.

According to an Economist Corporate Network (ECN) 2015 report, businesses in the fast-growing economies of Asia are constantly dealing with the issue of finding and retaining talent. In fact, compared to China and India, Southeast Asia (SEA) saw the highest churn in workers in 2014 over the previous year.

Why do employees leave?

There are numerous reasons for employee dissatisfaction, but these do not lead directly to a spike in employee turnover. What then could be the real reason behind this? According to the ECN report, businesses are turning to SEA to supplant labour needs because of the increasing costs of doing business in China.

Increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the region have also improved the economy, giving employees, especially dissatisfied ones, the security to seek alternative job roles.

Other reasons why employees leave include bad relationships with co-workers and managers, a lack of opportunity to achieve one’s career goals, or a lack of recognition within a company.

As SMEs are generally smaller in size, and do not have huge resources to put towards constantly hiring and training staff, human capital has to be carefully managed in order to keep operations smooth. Therefore, endeavouring to keep employees happy and engaged will mean SMEs can have loyal, well-trained people to depend upon during good times and bad.

What defines a good talent management strategy for SMEs?
Hiring in line with business objectives
The talent that SMEs hire, train and retain must have the competencies required for the organisation to meet its vision, and also its current needs. If the organisation is currently focusing on research and development as driver for growth, then staff members need to be hired and nurtured in that area. Similarly, if the business is decreasing in its need for a particular function, cease to hire people for it – the money is better used where it’s needed.
Have a good hiring
process in place
Getting it right the first time will save businesses a lot of time, effort and money. SMEs should have a good interview procedure in place, and learn from past hiring mistakes. Keep in mind business objectives, ask the right questions and most importantly, resist hiring someone who may not be the right fit just to get an extra set of hands on board quickly.
Training and
In today’s fast-changing business environment, it is impossible for SMEs and their staff to stay industry-relevant and up-to-date with their skills – technical, personal or multi-disciplinary. Offering training and development options is a great way of retaining talent and keeping it relevant to the organisation’s objectives.
It is essential to have an objective performance management system in place. Ensuring that employees have proper knowledge of set goals and objectives helps the organisation grow in a structured manner that meets its vision and also gives staff a clear view of job scopes and responsibilities. Providing a good environment for staff to work in includes having space for open communication, equal opportunities and incentive-based rewards to help drive improvement within the firm, and a more collaborative working environment that fosters growth.
Succession planning
The best employees not only do their jobs well, but also look for more ways to contribute so as to grow and develop their careers, thinking for the long term. Similarly, SMEs should also be able to recognise and identify promising staff members that can be groomed to fill bigger positions when the availability arises. This has two benefits – one, employees who know they are being trained for bigger things feel more valued, and this increases commitment. Two, firms that lose a senior member of staff are not stricken at the sudden lack of leadership, thus ensuring continuity for the business.

Smaller-sized business can often offer quicker growth, more flexible working environments and space for innovation. These are selling points that will naturally attract talent, so talent management should become a part of every company’s organisational culture in order to ensure that the best possible candidates are hired, nurtured and retained for the good of the business.