Asme and SHRI ink pact to improve SMEs' human resource practices

SINGAPORE - A deal inked on Monday will provide more small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with expert advice on how to adopt good human resource (HR) practices in a challenging labour market.

Under the agreement between the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Asme) and the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI), SHRI will give HR advisory and training assistance to SMEs that are members of Asme.

In return, Asme will extend its events and the use of its SME Centres - government-supported facilities that help SMEs - to SHRI members.

Asme president Kurt Wee said at Monday's signing ceremony that the agreement was a timely collaboration that will achieve "greater synergies".

"This partnership will create more knowledge platforms to help companies keep abreast of HR development and extend their networks," he added.

SHRI president Erman Tan said: "(SMEs) face [difficulties] in attracting and retaining workers due to a lack of HR expertise and proper HR practices... the partnership will be a catalyst in our efforts to help SMEs enhance their HR practices."

Initiatives such as introducing flexible working arrangements, re-designing jobs, and practices targeted at employing older workers will be among the services provided.

Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, reiterated that attracting and retaining talent is key to the continued success of SMEs.

He noted that "talent is scarce" and the operating environment for SMEs is not easy, highlighting rental and manpower costs as top concerns.

"To be an employer of choice, SMEs need to position yourselves as organisations with competitive human resource (HR) practices that value, groom and reward talented people," he said at the ceremony.