Firms with under 250 workers have had to pivot with new digital tools, contend with drastic changes in HR challenges: study

Through the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hard globally.

One recent study on the impact of these working conditions on SMEs has indicated that preserving jobs was the top priority for 43% of the 3,150 respondents globally. The most prioritized task was the introduction of new technologies to ensure the smooth running of business under the new circumstances (53%).

With 38% of SME respondents facing budget cuts, reduced pay or working hours (35%), or temporarily closed offices or branches (34%), team retention has become a priority for them. Some 42% of respondents were planning to increase personnel costs such as wages and benefits going forward. Bringing salaries up to pre-COVID levels or even increasing them should help businesses retain talent, negating the need for recruitment.

Finally, the study indicates that the preservation of jobs and employee satisfaction, among other factors, was dependent on how employers adapted to new and extreme working conditions. As such, the top priority for 53% of SMEs in the study was to provide staff with new technologies, equipment, communication and collaboration services to switch business from offline to online and let employees work remotely or in a hybrid model. 

Said Andrey Dankevich, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Kaspersky: “Reshaping working processes has become the crucial task for company owners and executives to save jobs and maintain their business. Fortunately, there are many easy-to-manage services available, including free ones so they can do this even if they do not have a dedicated IT administrator or additional budget. However, it is important to ensure digital tools are used safely and to educate employees on security awareness—not only for their convenience, but to protect their business from cyber threats.”