Web Exclusive - July/August 2020

SHRM Says Small Businesses Are Optimistic


SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) recently released new research that shows small businesses expect a significantly faster recovery than what economists are forecasting. The survey also highlighted innovations in business operations, changes in policies, key challenges, and plans for when and how to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The U.S. workforce has experienced nothing short of an upheaval. Following a pandemic, recession and protests nationwide, we're seeing small businesses innovate and adapt as they reopen their doors," said SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. "This research underscores how small businesses have truly proven their agility and flexibility as the country confronts the COVID-19 pandemic."

Some of the findings from the survey of U.S. small business owners include:

  • Of those allowed to reopen in some capacity by their state, city or county, 81% have already begun or are in the process of reopening their business.
  • Small businesses expect a significantly faster recovery than the broader economy, as 52% expect to recover to pre-COVID profitability in six months or less.
  • 43% said they have started rethinking the way they do business, with 32% reporting a new way to deliver an existing product or service.
  • 43% plan to accommodate employees with children by allowing flexible hours or compressed work weeks, and 82% will either probably or definitely adopt broader or more flexible work-from-home policies.

"Notably, 75% of small business executives are confident their business will be better prepared to effectively handle a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic if one occurred in the future. With that in mind, returning to work will be a collaborative effort between business leaders, HR professionals and employees," Taylor added.

Small business owners also reported implementing or considering several changes to the workplace. For example, 82% plan to employ more flexible work-from-home policy for all workers with telework-capable jobs, nearly, three in 10 have adopted new or novel technology processes, and more than one in five small business owners have asked their employees to learn new skills to support changes in their business model.