Grow your company’s HR capability with Budget 2015

My name is Steve Koh, founder and managing director of AG Net (a cloud based HR software provider). Like many SMEs owners in Singapore, one of the key challenges that I faced over the last few years is human resources (or the lack of it).

It has been increasing difficult to source for good talents. Foreign talents are harder to get now due to tightened labour policies and it is hard for SMEs to compete for local talents when the unemployment rate is a record low of 2%. 

Things must change for SMEs to be able to compete for talents in the labour market!  Without talents, local SMEs will not be able to grow much less thrive in the coming years.  

The way forward is for SMEs to formulate HR policies make them appealing to talents. In addition, providing solutions that can help administrate such policies without adding overheads to SMEs.


Fortunately, the government is here to help! I learnt about the following initiatives in a recent seminar conducted by SPRING at Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

1.    Formulate HR polices that are appealing to talents

a.     HR toolkit – There is a HR toolkit that is provided by SPRING Singapore. It contains some sample templates/forms for common HR processes and can form the basis of a basic HR policy for new companies or companies with a small headcount.


For more information, please go to


b.    Employee Handbook and HR consultancy – For companies who have outgrown the HR toolkit. They can tap on ICV (Innovation and Capability Voucher) to engage HR consultants who can advise them of the various aspects of their HR operations.


The Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV) is a simple to apply, 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 ICV, please click on

2.    Using solutions to streamline HR processes – As your business grow, your team size will grow proportionally. Over time, your costs for staying compliant with the various labour laws will increase as the complexity increases when your team size grows.


Where AGHRM or other HR solutions can help is to reduce the cost of such compliances by:

a.     Empowering Employee Self Service – Self service solutions like electronic payslips, leave and claims enables companies to provide instant HR services with reduced costs

b.    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 is an issue

                                          iii.     “Phantom” workers – Staff who gets paid without showing up for work

c.     Compliances and integration with CPF and IRAS such as CPF computation, IR8A, etc.

d.    Interfaces with major banks for monthly GIRO payments to staff

For more information, please go visit our solutions page at

There are 2 types of grants that SPRING is offering to help companies offset the cost of compliance.

1. Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV)

Companies can leverage on the ICV voucher again for HR solutions. There are a total of 8 vouchers (worth $5000 each) that companies tap on.  

Apart from consultancy, 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 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 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.