My name is Steve Koh, founder and managing director of AG Net (a cloud based HR software provider). Like many SME owners in Singapore, one of the key challenges that I have faced over the last few years is human resources (or the lack of them!)
It has been increasingly difficult to source good talent. It’s harder to bring in foreign candidates now due to tightened labour policies, leaving SMEs to compete for local talent – while the unemployment rate sits at a record low 2%.
Things must change in order for SMEs to be able to compete for talent in the labour market! Without the right people, local SMEs will not be able to grow, much less thrive, in the coming years.
The way forward is for SMEs to formulate Human Resources policies that make them appealing to candidates. In addition, they need to provide solutions that can help administrate such policies without adding overheads to SMEs.
Fortunately, the government is here to help! I learnt about the following initatives in a recent seminar conducted by SPRING at Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
1. Formulate HR polices that are appealing to candidates
HR toolkit – provided by SPRING Singapore. It contains some sample templates/forms for common HR processes and can form the foundation of a basic HR policy for new companies or those with a small headcount.
For more information, please visit the SPRING website.
2. Employee Handbook and HR consultancy
For companies who have outgrown the HR toolkit. They can tap into the ICV (Innovation and Capability Voucher) to engage HR consultants who can advise them of the various aspects of their Human Resources operations.
The Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV) is a simple to apply for, easy-to-use voucher valued at $5,000, to encourage SMEs to take their first step towards capability development. SMEs can use the voucher to upgrade and strengthen their core business operations through consultancy in the areas of innovation, productivity, human resources and financial management.
A common use of this is to develop an employee handbook so that the company has a formal HR policy that can be communicated to all employees.
For more information on the ICV, please visit their website.
3. Use solutions to streamline HR processes
As your business grows, your team size will grow proportionally. Over time, your costs for staying compliant with the various labour laws will increase as the complexity increases with your team.
Where we at AGHRM or other HR solutions can help is to reduce the cost of such compliance measures by:
- Empowering Employee Self Service – Self service solutions like electronic payslips, leave and claims enables companies to provide instant HR services with reduced costs
- Tracking of Staff Time – Typically, companies who are interested in such solutions have any or all the following issues:
i. Hourly rated or overtime payments
ii. Staff lateness
iii. “Phantom” workers – staff who get paid without showing up for work
- Compliance and integration with CPF and IRAS such as CPF computation, IR8A, etc.
- Interfaces with major banks for monthly GIRO payments to staff
For more information, please visit our solutions page.
There are two types of grants that SPRING is offering to help companies offset the cost of compliance.
1. Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV)
Companies can leverage the ICV voucher again for HR solutions. There are a total of 8 vouchers (worth $5000 each) that companies can be eligible for.
Apart from consultancy, the ICV also supports SMEs in the adoption and implementation of simple solutions to improve business efficiency and productivity. SMEs can use the ICV to implement productivity solutions under the supportable cost categories of (i) equipment & hardware, (ii) technical solutions & training, (iii) design & renovation.
This option is beneficial for companies with up to 200 headcount with relatively simple HR requirements.
2. SPRING Singapore’s Capability Development Grant (CDG)
For companies with more complex HR operations or a larger workforce, the Capability Development Grant (CDG) is a financial assistance programme that helps you develop capabilities across 10 development areas, including adopting technology, staff training, raising service standards and overseas expansion.
The CDG pays up to 70 percent of the qualifying project costs. Recently, SPRING Singapore simplified the application process for grants amounting $30,000 or less.
This means you can start enjoying a hassle-free, failsafe, and integrated process for managing your staff attendance, payroll, benefits contribution and tax compliance – even if you have hundreds of staff members and multiple store outlets.
Learn more about Steve and AG Net’s HR solutions