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The state of small and midsized businesses in 2022

The ongoing conversation around the rising cost of living is a matter of major concern for many Australian consumers and businesses alike, and especially for those in the small to midsized market. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), nearly half (46%) of all businesses experienced increases in their operating expenses. 1

Despite COVID-19 becoming endemic, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) continue to face lingering impacts of the pandemic. Like most organisations, one of the biggest challenges for SMBs is finding ways to achieve efficiencies without incurring additional costs. SMBs need support to navigate through current workforce challenges.

Charlie DeWitt, managing director, ANZ/SEA, UKG, said, “The common problems that SMBs are trying to solve revolve around reducing the admin burden and cost of managing their workplace. Automating processes, reducing costs, increasing efficiencies, and making data-driven decisions will be how businesses can unlock growth and improve their bottom line.”

SMBs continue to face staff shortages, with ABS data showing almost a third of employing businesses (31%) are having difficulty finding suitable staff. 2 This leaves them struggling to maintain and improve employee engagement, and therefore also struggling to reduce turnover in a highly competitive market. Of the staff who remain, illness and flu-like symptoms can create scheduling havoc and leave businesses short-staffed during peak hours.

Nearly all businesses anticipate price increases to offset the rise in operating costs in 2022. However, when the price of supplies and services goes up, many organisations are likely to experience a decrease in demand, leading to a drop in sales. SMBs are ill-prepared to manage the inflation spike, with concerns that flow-on effects of increased wages will reduce job creation and negatively impact small businesses.3

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Meanwhile, SMBs are struggling to keep up with the ever-changing Fair Work and Safe Work legislation, including workplace rights and regulations around wage changes, sick leave, and pay slips.

Automating as many administrative tasks as possible, as well as providing a self-service application, allows employees to access the information that they need at any time. This creates a personalised, people-centric experience that increases efficiency and simplifies compliance. When employees and management can access a single solution for human resources, workforce management, payroll, and employee scheduling, they can drive better business outcomes.

Charlie DeWitt said, “While the roles people hold may vary, they all have a personal stake in ensuring their employees are happy, productive, and motivated in the workplace. One way to improve employee satisfaction is to have a unified software system in place that automates as many administrative tasks as possible.

“Some SMBs may already have a workforce management system in place while others could be using multiple systems or a mix of manual processes. Therefore, they may not be aware of the inherent value that a comprehensive human capital management solution can bring to empower their teams and unlock their growth potential in an ever-changing landscape.”

SMBs face a unique opportunity to dramatically improve the employee and manager experience by implementing smarter, automated, self-service solutions that deliver streamlined and people-centric processes. These solutions can deliver a strong return on investment in a short timeframe, helping to overcome many of the challenges that have emerged recently. Failing to acknowledge and address these challenges directly could leave SMBs struggling to provide the attractive, desirable employee experience that could help them attract and retain the best talent.

Source: UKG

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