SMBs and start-ups remain the innovation engine of Australia’s economy. They don’t have the same budgets as their giant counterparts but SMBs are achieving strong growth and showcasing fantastic innovation skills.
In the past 12 months alone we have seen Australian-made innovations hit the market, creating global headlines. Nitro, Fleet and RedBubble are just a few examples of Australian SMBs’ capacity to innovate and transform ideas into realities.
These success stories were possible because these organisations had exceptional ideas, but more importantly because they had the right skills to bring these ideas to life. In the past 25 years, selling and delivering innovative solutions, I have seen that recruiting the right skilled people is essential in powering organisations programs to deliver innovative services and products to customers.
Recruiting the relevant skills, in a world where new technologies enter the market on a near-daily basis, is of ever increasing importance. The pace of change driven by technological developments and the increased expectations of customers requires organisations to find an effective way of getting the right skills into the business, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
To meet this demand for new skills, SMBs are bringing in new staff with specific expertise on a temporary basis, ensuring the business is equipped for the latest trend. Businesses open to rethinking the traditional recruitment model and adapting to a more independent workforce will have the power to increase agility and better innovate, without compromising their productivity.
How can SMBs set themselves up for success in the skills economy?
Here are three tips for staying ahead:
1. Hire the skills you need using the contingent workforce
SMBs and start-ups are under pressure to keep up with quick innovation lifecycles and need to move from one project to another with speed. Recruiting temporary highly skilled workers enables them to bring very specific skills into their teams that may only be needed for one or two projects. The ability to scale up and down, based on demand, is allowing SMBs to edge ahead of the competition.
Tapping into the contingent workforce pool gives SMBs more flexibility and freedom to try and fail without spending budgets on unaffordable recruitment fees. We are already seeing organisations work in “project mode”, combining various skill sets into temporary teams to solve a specific problem, and then disbanding them.
Being able to hire the right skills quickly, on a temporary basis is made possible because we are in the midst of the most significant workforce shift in the past 100 years, with Australians, in the job market looking for flexibility and diversity in their professional lives. This translates to tangible changes in the way people are working, with the contingent workforce is set to reach 25% of the total Australian workforce by 2020.
While freelancers and contractors were traditionally hired for the second rate tasks, not vital to business success, increasingly I hear from SMBs who need business critical skills but cannot afford to hire on a full-time basis. Freelance employees have become an important part of the SMB workforce and are key in filling these roles, on a temporary basis and driving Australia’s innovation efforts. Recruiting freelancers makes perfect sense in this new work model where skills are the new currency.
2. Adapt your recruitment processes to take advantage of Online Platforms which save time, money and are hassle free
Organisations that want to take full advantage of the skills economy are rethinking how they approach recruitment. New technology has changed the way forward thinking SMBs are recruiting. Business leaders can now access online recruitment solutions that provide direct access to highly skilled professionals. These platforms are helping business leaders get the right skills through the door at short notice, while eliminating the archaic recruitment process and fees. It cuts out the middle man. Platforms are easy to use, and can help SMBs focus on what’s valuable; building teams that have the right skills at the right time to drive the business forward.
Traditionally, finding freelance talent to match the skills you need has meant wasted hours sourcing and vetting candidates that are only needed for a short amount of time. We know SMB leaders can’t afford to commit extensive time and effort to recruitment, and don’t have the budgets to match recruiters’ fees. So as more SMBs utilise highly skilled on-demand workers, the traditional recruitment model just doesn’t make sense.
The way contractors and freelancers operate doesn’t fit the traditional recruitment processes either. A more flexible workforce requires a more flexible recruitment model, and businesses that don’t start looking for new ways to reach potential employees are at risk of missing out on some of Australia’s the top talent.
3. Reduce the employment risks by hiring directly and have someone else be the Employer of Record.
SMB leaders tell me how important it is to get the right person first time. But this can be tough. Having the flexibility, freedom of choice, and the right of return removes risk and saves time for business leaders managing project deadlines. Not having to worry about legal and compliance matters takes all the headaches out of the recruitment process.
Look for those platforms that can offer contract workers for your business that you can hire directly, but that also run the administrative processes like payroll, superannuation, insurance and compliance – so you don’t have to.
As an SMB you have an incredible advantage: your size enables you to adapt more quickly to change. If you start rethinking your recruitment model today, seizing opportunities to hire directly on a short- term basis, you will certainly build smarter and adaptable teams able to outstrip larger organisations.
About the author
Jennifer Maritz is the CEO and Executive Director of Nvoi, a technology platform that facilities the direct engagement between businesses and professionals to engage in on-site work assignment. She brings more than 25 years of experience in business and the IT sector. Prior to Nvoi, Jennifer served as Vice President on the Global Sales team at IBM where she covered more than 16 countries. Her experience also includes the role of Chief Operating Officer for IBM Asia Pacific Global Business Services, and CFO of IBM’s Global Business Outsourcing division. Jennifer is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and she holds an Honours Degree in Accounting Science and a Bachelor of Commerce degree.