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Small businesses risk losing their best talent

October 20, 2020

European small businesses are 42% more likely than enterprises to lose employees because of technology frustrations around remote working.

As small business owners continue to recover from the effects of the global pandemic, workers expect their employer to offer a modern blended approach to how and where they work. New research commissioned by Ricoh Europe, based on a survey of 1,300 European office workers, shows that 27% of small business employees are considering switching jobs.

The study also revealed that:

  • 69% say they have the skills to work remotely
  • However, 29% find it difficult to stay motivated and engaged while remote working because of communication and technology issues
  • 22% also feel less productive due to communication and technology restraints
  • 48% have had to rely on their own technology to work remotely during the pandemic because their company didn’t provide equipment

This tech shortfall risks not just talent retention. Worryingly, at a time when driving growth is critical, 24% say they do not have the tools needed to deliver the best results for customers or to collaborate remotely with their team.

Despite remote working issues, small business workers are not returning to the office en masse anytime soon, Ricoh added. When asked about their company’s future remote working policies, 41% believe their company will allow them to work remotely for the remainder of 2020, while 34% believe it could be indefinitely.

Small business employees certainly expect more from their employers. Two-thirds (66%) envisage retaining the flexibility gained during lockdowns and 55% trust their company to invest in technology that will meet the workplace requirements of the future. This includes making the office safer, with 40% stating they wouldn’t be comfortable returning unless there are additional safety measures such as temperature scanners and touchless equipment.

David Mills, CEO, Ricoh Europe, said: “While digital transformation may have been on their long-term roadmap, there’s now no time to waste for small businesses. Without the technology that makes it easy and safe to work effectively from anywhere, business owners are facing a brain drain of their top talent.

“Organisations are driven by the ability and quality of their people – losing them to the competition often means losing customers, too. Old ways of working can no longer be the norm. It’s not good enough for businesses to ‘get by’ with substandard equipment and processes. The next steps for small businesses will dictate how they overcome disruption and pave the way for future success.”

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