How can SMEs keep up with innovative technology and changing employment laws?

SME owners need to adopt new techniques, continuing to invest time and energy into traditional ways of hiring.

Looking back at the last couple of decades, the recruitment industry has undergone some significant change. From the promotion of diversity, name blind applications and getting to grips with millennial talent, the sector has come a long way, and that is having a positive impact on the state of the workplace and productivity rates across the country.

But old habits die hard, and some small business owners still adhere to standard hiring processes, relying on outdated recruitment methods when looking for new candidates. Although each company has its unique policies, processes and protocols for hiring, sifting through piles of CVs, narrowing down candidates via face-to-face interviews and local paper advertising are no longer the most efficient methods to use.

Technology is evolving by the day, bringing new innovations to the market at a rapid pace – yet SME owners have been slow to adopt new techniques, continuing to invest time and energy into traditional ways of hiring.

Finding the right talent

By 2020, half of the workplace is predicted to be represented by millennials, a generation that has been the frontrunner of the communication revolution, loves speed and is highly dependent on smartphones. What they expect the recruitment process to be today is very different to what it was ten years ago. To be able to attract digital natives and stay competitive, SMEs will need to adapt strategies to eliminate the risk of losing the best talent to competitors.

Although there is no magic recipe to recruitment success, employing a multi-channel communication approach will not only enable businesses to engage with hopeful jobseekers in a variety of ways, but also save them time and money. New technology has made it easier to identify new talent and specific skill sets – making use of digital methods such as social media tools and job matching technology, will help SMEs meet recruitment objectives in a modern and dynamic way.

Staying on top of employment laws

The expense of a bad hire is costly. Companies need to make sure that they get it right from the beginning to prevent any labour issues and lawsuits from arising.

Recruitment is a central task for any business owner. So why are so many UK SMEs still failing to prioritise in line with modern changes, taking huge risks when hiring and managing their staff? An explanation may be that some small businesses sadly don’t have HR functions or dedicated employment expertise required, so the time burden of finding new talent and the risk of non-compliance with employment regulations are both major pain points.

Also, 77 per cent of SME owners are directly responsible for the entire hiring process, which ultimately takes the business owner away from other core responsibilities of running a company.
Also, it can often take between two and five days for SME owners to hire and ‘onboard’ a new candidate, which limits operational resources and takes business owners away from other integral responsibilities.

As a case in point, recent official data from the Pensions Regulator reveals the number of employers being fined up to £10,000 a day for not complying with new regulations on workplace pensions has shot up by 300 per cent in three months. Considering the fact that only 37 per cent of SME owners think of themselves as having a clear understanding of all matters to do with employee rights and employer regulations, this comes as no surprise. This clearly demonstrates how SMEs are struggling to keep up with ongoing regulatory change.

Being time efficient

Recruitment is changing and innovations in technology have had a significant impact on how, when and where the hiring process is carried out. For SMEs to be able to produce better hiring outcomes quicker and more effectively, they need to make use of new tools and platforms. Instead of spending time and money on outdated recruitment methods, technology can help identify the strongest candidates and lay the foundations for more for informed, quantitative decisionmaking when it comes to choosing talent.

SMEs need to streamline their recruitment processes by adjusting and accommodating to new requirements and the accompanying legislation. They need to reduce the administrative and HR burden of recruitment, and partner with the right technology and tools to find more time and cost-efficient ways of hiring new talent.

James Peck is UK managing director of Jobandtalent.

Further reading on employment law

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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