With 1,300 multinational companies on our doorstep, it can be a real challenge for the Irish SME to attract top talent. Dublin alone hosts the EU HQs of LinkedIn, Google, Facebook and Twitter! Nine out of 10 global software companies have set up in Ireland, and the same can be said for the pharmaceutical companies. We’re not the biggest of countries, but lucky number 12.5% has served us well regarding international business, if you get our drift (cough corporation tax cough).

Choose your weapon – the war for talent is on!

It is no surprise then to hear that in Ireland large organisations employ 31% of the population. This is a liberal dollop of the cream of the Irish talent crop. Irish SMEs simply cannot compete with the fat pay-packets big multinational companies are offering and this is not good news as the war for talent rages on. According to a Sigmar recruitment survey conducted earlier this year, employers are finding that they have to increase salaries for two out of every three employees just to incentivise them to stay.

Is more money the only answer? We don’t think so. Countless surveys have been done on the millennial generation, and what comes back, again and again, is a real desire for a work-life balance that provides a sense of purpose, opportunities for growth and a real feeling of being cared about and respected.

With this in mind, we’ve come up with four sure-fire ways you can make your SME more attractive to Irish talent…

How Irish SMEs are competing against multinationals in the hunt for talent - The Fruit People - dublin 3

4 ways the Irish SME can attract top talent

Recognition and feedback

Being small is a strength. Read that again and remember it. It is important not only to recognise this strength but also to protect it. The big multinational companies that are famous for high employee satisfaction, such as Google, spend a lot of money trying to make their sprawling organisation feel small. This is because it is very easy for an individual to get lost in a large organisation, and the moment your people feel lost is the day they stop caring.

In an SME everyone knows each other’s name, people know about each other’s family life, and they want to know what you’re having for lunch! Being small is a good thing, but only if you take advantage of your smallness. Giving people genuine recognition and feedback for their work is a simple way of doing this. The communication channels are wide open in the SME and ready to be used, so make sure your team know why what they do is important and the significant effects it has on the company as a whole.

Workplace well-being

It is important to show your team that you care about them. If people feel they are unappreciated, then it is no surprise that money is their only motivator. On the other hand, if they feel that they are truly valued at work and that their presence has a real impact, then they will spend less time looking at job boards on their break and more time daydreaming about the solution to this month’s big project!

Now that we are taking money out of the equation, it’s time to be creative with the kind of perks you provide to show your appreciation of your team. We, of course, are going to tell you to “Buy them a weekly box filled with the juiciest, freshest of fruit!”, because it is actually a pretty good idea. We recognised that smart SMEs were looking to invest in staff well-being and came up with a cost-effective and simple solution – fresh fruit with no fuss. Free food still goes a long way (and ours also happens to fight off the common cold – booyah!). But there are many different kinds of perks you can offer your team, such as a pet-friendly workplace, a bike to work scheme, on-site yoga class, a monthly ping-pong tournament, etc. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!


One-to-one mentoring

Listen to the positive things people say about having worked for an SME. The experience they gained is usually at the top of the list. Just like in school, where we know the smaller the class the better the individual’s results, SMEs are in a prime position to provide fantastic mentorship opportunities simply because they are small.

How many people in Facebook do you think get to have a conversation with the CEO on a daily basis? In SMEs, this is not only possible, but it is often very necessary. Therefore, the clever SME can capitalise on this natural occurrence by taking it one step further and designing a one-to-one mentorship program for new members of staff.

Schedule in a couple of hours every week to train up new members of staff and share with them valuable industry insights that they would not have access to in a larger organisation. By doing this, not only do you help them grow, but you enhance your team’s skill-set and invest in the future of your business.

How Irish SMEs are competing against multinationals in the hunt for talent - The Fruit People - dublin 3

Flexible work hours

As companies expand working hours can become rather regimental. After all, why should Tony in accounting have a different work schedule to the hundreds of other employees? However, the SME has the luxury of being a bit more flexible. Remote working is very popular now, not only because it suits many people’s lifestyles better, but also because developments in technology have made it a realistic, viable option.

Offering a flexible working environment can reduce stress, increase workplace morale, build trust and, most important of all, attract talented individuals. The great thing is that when done right, flexible work schedules can boost productivity and innovation. It makes sense that people work better when they’re not fighting against the clock!

Could your SME do with some love? Why not provide a box of fresh fruit in your workplace! Order a free trial today and take the first step to a healthier office!