Labour shortage is rapidly emerging to become a hot button issue in Singapore, as the government increasingly seeks to implement new laws and regulations to stabilise the job market. These regulations and policies on manpower pose great challenges to the human resources (HR) industry. For one, in the first half of 2013 alone, 2,600 Employment Passes (EP) were not renewed as a result of stricter foreign worker policies. In addition, recent initiatives such as the 'Hire Singaporeans First' campaign is likely to slow down the hiring process and reduce time-to-market opportunities as well.
The 'restricted' supply and quotas on foreign labour will inevitably push up labour costs and affect short-term business profitability. Labour intensive businesses are likely to take a big hit with the shortage of workers, coupled with the increasing competition for skilled individuals.
Given the current labour market landscape, there is clearly a need for HR practitioners to be more innovative in their recruitment processes. Take for example Heineken: the Dutch beer company created a marketing campaign wrapped around its internship selection process. A video of the interview process went viral on YouTube and attracted over 800,000 views in just three days. Not only did the video showcase Heineken's culture and approach, it also positioned the company as a choice employer. By delivering such a message, students who identified with these values or wish to be associated with a prominent and established brand like Heineken will indubitably place the company at the top of their potential employer list.
Unfortunately in Singapore, many HR professionals still remain conservative in their approach. While this could be due to a lack of know-how and budget constraints; the major roadblock could potentially lie within the mind-sets stemming from the top management.
Human Resources as a Service
The evolution of HR solutions mean that such tools can now be leveraged to enable organisations to tap into a wider talent pool, as well as further promote the brand as a choice employer. Additionally, they can also enable HR professionals to very quickly analyse and determine the top recruitment sources and the company's top performers. However, it is vital that HR professionals use such knowledge to transform it into intelligence, so they can direct more resources into more effective channels.
HR practitioners can be more proactive and use the software to identify patterns as well - this will allow the organisation to identify trends and make real-time decisions on issues before they become a problem. For example, if employees who join the company through a graduate programme stay on average four times longer than employees recruited from other sources, HR teams should be able to look the reasons behind this and exploit those factors to ensure better staff retention rates.
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