Simplifying Business Complexities – Can we not?
Yes, we can! A perspective from Singapore for its SMEs.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are at the heart of Singapore's economy. They make up 99% of our enterprises, employ two-thirds of our workforce, and account for about half of Singapore’s GDP (Singapore Gov, 2017) .

The Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING) Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry defines SMEs as those with S$15 million (US$9.8 million) or less in fixed asset investment and, for non-manufacturing enterprises, 200 or fewer employees. In 2010 some 99% of all enterprises in Singapore were SMEs employing 6 out of every 10 workers and contributing almost half of the national GDP (SPRING Singapore, 2009).

Let me illustrate with the following example: Employing Human Resource (HR) Outsourcing Services solutions for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs are stretched on human and financial resources, and do not have good HR processes and systems which are key to attract and retain talents and to ensure that their employment standards are compliant with labour regulations, as otherwise, the businesses could be shut down. Manpower costs and staff benefits if not properly and timely managed can impact the operation of the business, resulting in poor productivity and inefficiency, leaving the business owners less time to focus on the critical business imperatives. Thus, providing outsourcing services solutions at affordable costs will invariably help the SMEs sustain and stay competitive in a VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) business environment.

The provision of such services intends to help SMEs attain greater efficiency in the HR/ business operations in general, thus allowing the business owners and decision makers to focus on growing their markets and focusing on critical business functions like cash flow management, product innovations and business development.

SPRING Singapore’s HR Outsourcing Services schemes for SMEs intend to mobilise expertise and capabilities of services vendors to provide practical solutions at optimal costs, part of which comes from subsidies made available for eligible SMEs together with the following benefits:

1. The HR outsourcing solutions aim to help SMEs create greater efficiency within the HR functions so that companies can reduce time and resources spent on HR administration, and consequently, focus on strategic HR activities.

2. SMEs can tap on a valuable pool of experienced and seasoned practitioners for professional HR guidance and advice as well as practical solutions. 

3. The outsourcing services providers will work with each SME to implement, maintain and improve relevant and appropriate HR capabilities.

In essence, SMEs need to have a future-ready disposition and mindset to embrace change that is enabled by technology and digitisation, allowing cost-effective solutions to disrupt traditional and administrative functions performed by low-skilled operatives and prone to mistakes or rework. Business owners have to exercise great leadership and recognise people capabilities as the key drivers for growth, innovation and sustainability for any enterprise. Putting a business-first mindset when investing in HR capabilities will help them better understand what HR outsourcing solutions can do to contribute to business growth in the longer term.

Scope of HR Outsourcing Services Solutions

The HR Outsourcing Services solutions can be pre-scoped into 3 fixed packages for ease of selection and understanding by each SME.  This will allow the individual SME, depending on its size, capability, available resources, stage of maturity and readiness to grow, to consider its needs and scope of services after a thorough gaps analysis with the consultants.

Package 1: Outsourcing of basic HR operations
Package 1 includes conducting Needs Analysis and managing of day-to-day HR operations such as Recruitment, Training and Development, Performance Evaluation, Employee Relations, Employment Practices, HR administrative support and payroll processing.

Package 2: HR Advisory on Employment Act and regulations and employee communication.

Package 3: Shared HR Information System
Package 3 includes the setting up of a HR Information System such as data migration, software setup and technical support. A shared platform can be provided for SMEs subscription that can perform the following functions: Payroll and Claims processing, Leave and Time sheet Management and HR Reports on employee details, leave details, permit expiry details, salary summary.

Benefits of HR Outsourcing Services Solutions

1. SMEs tapping on to the HR outsourcing solutions will be eligible for close to 70% subsidy of service fees.

2. Achieve higher efficiency in your HR & related administrative tasks by reducing time and resources.

3.Have more time & attention to focus on your core business activities.

4. Access to services & expertise from pool of experienced HR professionals as services providers/advisers.

HR Outsourcing Solutions represent a cost-effective simplification of sustaining the business, thus, allowing every SME to progress and grow.


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Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those by the contributors alone and do not represent the views of any other organisation, the forum moderator or that of Aei4eiA.

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David Ang Chee Chim 

Director, Corporate Services, Human Capital (Singapore)


David Ang is a leading authority in the human capital space in Singapore. He brings with him more than 30 years of work experience in various senior positions in a statutory board (SPRING Singapore), small, large GLCs and MNCs in the manufacturing, services, private education and professional services sectors.

​He was the Secretary-General/Treasurer of the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA) in 2004-06 and Chairperson of the WFPMA 11th World HR Congress Singapore.        He regularly participates in governmental committees in manpower and competency development and employment practices at national level. He served also in voluntary and professional organisations promoting the HR Profession and leading practices, he spoke on various trends, challenges, issues and challenges at conferences/forums/seminars, and shared his perspectives and insights with the media. 

He co-authored a book, SOS - Succeed or Sink on business sustainability  strategies and practices.

He holds a Masters in Production Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany and  a Masters of Science in Asia-pacific HRM from the National University of Singapore.