How SMB organizations can thrive during the Great Resignation

Among the changes forced by the pandemic, one of the most impactful to SMB organizations is a huge number of people quitting their jobs. Here’s how small and medium businesses can thrive during the Great Resignation.

ARTICLE | 4m read
November 15, 2021

In August 2021, a record-setting 4.3 million Americans resigned from their jobs. This trend of employees quitting over the last six months has occurred even during increased wage growth and other signs of economic strength. There are many theories for the cause of this “Great Resignation,” but it’s clear there has been a paradigm shift in the balance of power between employees and employers. After a global pandemic changed our world, employees are leaving their jobs—or thinking about doing so—in search of more money, more flexibility, and more happiness. How should employers respond?

For small and medium-sized businesses, this greater employee empowerment represents a huge opportunity. By maximizing your advantages in agility and innovation, your growing business can do more than simply survive the Great Resignation—you can thrive by recruiting and retaining top talent in search of fulfilling work. This article will explore three ways SMB organizations can grow during the Great Resignation: embracing hybrid work models, evolving your organizational culture to engage top employees, and adopt technology to securely empower a distributed workforce.

Embrace hybrid work to remain competitive and innovative

One of the biggest lessons social distancing taught us is that work is an activity, not a place. The result has been the rapid rise of hybrid work and flexible work models where employees alternate working inside a shared office and remotely. This approach gives employees more freedom over their work environment, which helps increase employee empowerment and drive innovation. That in mind, it’s little surprise 35 percent of SMB organizations are developing a more strategic approach to support flexible work styles, and 39% intend to do so.

For small and medium-sized businesses, this greater employee empowerment represents a huge opportunity. By maximizing your advantages in agility and innovation, your growing business can do more than simply survive the Great Resignation—you can thrive by recruiting and retaining top talent in search of fulfilling work. This article will explore three ways SMB organizations can grow during the Great Resignation: embracing hybrid work models, evolving your organizational culture to engage top employees, and adopt technology to securely empower a distributed workforce.

For SMB organizations to thrive during this tight labor market, it’s crucial to be strategic about your hybrid work philosophy to remain competitive and innovative. Developing a strong hybrid work strategy means considering factors like:

  1. How to manage equity issues between remote and onsite workers to ensure growth opportunities for everyone
  2. Best practices for managing hybrid workers, including ways to optimize collaboration and drive productivity across locations.
  3. Reconfiguring your shared office space to accommodate and empower both remote and hybrid workers.

Finding the right answers to these questions will take experimentation—but by taking these factors seriously, you will show employees your commitment to enabling hybrid work that best fits their needs.

74%
Percentage of SMB organizations that are either developing or planning to develop a more strategic approach to supporting flexible work.

Evolving your SMB culture to hire and retain top employees

Facing a record number of job vacancies, how can SMB organizations gain an edge in hiring the most talented employees? The answer is embracing the SMB advantages of agility and flexibility by evolving their work culture and hiring practices to be attractive to top talent. For example, growing businesses should take advantage of the popularity of remote work to cast a wider recruitment net. By offering flexible work hours, choice of work location, and other remote work options, SMB organizations can draw geographically dispersed workers as well as older employees and those with disabilities. The result is a more diverse and deep recruiting pool—helping your growing business hire the best talent.

On the retention side, explore how you can make the culture of your SMB organization stand out and engage the best in your employees. Encourage innovation and new ideas about how in-person physical tasks and deliverables can be translated into virtual ones. Ask your employees to imagine new ways to remotely serve customers or revenue streams based entirely on remote activity. And when your employees respond to this challenge with great ideas, publicly recognize their contributions and give those employees opportunities for promotion. This shows your staff you’re dedicated to developing their skills and careers so they can grow with your business.

Empower your hybrid workforce with scalable technology

Hybrid work is here to stay, so it’s also vital for SMB organizations to adopt scalable remote work tools that will enable secure and productive work as you grow. If your growing business scrambled to put stopgap IT measures in place during the pandemic, make sure you are transitioning to more long term technology solutions. For example, audit your existing remote work technology to make sure it’s easy and convenient to communicate and collaborate across locations. Your SMB firm might be small and nimble, but even startups can now implement enterprise-grade tech that will simplify and improve remote work collaboration without a high price tag.

As you take stock of your remote work technology, pay attention to security—nearly half of cyberattacks target small businesses. As your SMB organization looks for tools to drive remote work productivity, be sure these tools also include strong access security and centralized device management for IT. Many of your remote workers will want to use their personal phones and devices to access company data and apps, so you need IT to be able to grant secure access and recognize suspicious behavior before it becomes a breach. A great catch-all solution is adopting a secure digital workspace, which provides remote workers with an easy-to-access hub for all their tools while strengthening security oversight.

 

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