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02. TriNet PeopleForce Insights on Business Resilience

SMBs are stepping up to take on the challenges of the day.

Published: Oct 28, 2020

Scenario planning gives you the license to sleep well at night because you know that you've got a plan on the shelf that you could turn to… We're all going to have to strap on our seatbelts and just see where this ride takes us.

- Mona Sutphen Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff TriNet PeopleForce 2020

The pandemic has placed a renewed focus on SMBs. At PeopleForce, TriNet CEO, Burton Goldfield, told us the success of SMBs will drive the U.S. economy and that they need great policies, focus and talent to succeed. We also heard from former White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Mona Sutphen who told us the ability to adjust is critical. Michael J. Angelakis, Chairman and CEO of Atairos, Jacqueline Van Dine, VP of Merchandising at Birkenstock, and Samantha Snabes, Co-Founder of re:3D, discussed the importance of keeping a tight watch on supply chains and the uniqueness of the company and its product. We learned that companies that are strategic in managing their cash, are agile decision-makers and use speed as competitive advantage are in the best position to thrive. See the results of our live poll of attendees (each had between 28 to 308 respondents):

Have you outlined the essential elements needed to keep your business operating? (Respondents: 242)

  • 79% - Yes

  • 21% - No

Which areas of your business have changed in 2020? (Respondents: 28)

  • 46% - All

  • 39% - Team & management

  • 11% - Sales and marketing channels

  • 4% - Consumer preferences

  • 0% - Supply chain

What are the areas of employment risk in the age of COVID that concern you most? (Respondents: 71)

  • 51% - Risk of not properly handling return to work

  • 28% - Risk of not properly navigating work from home

  • 11% - Risk of not considering an adjustment to your equity and inclusion program

  • 10% - Other

What productivity trends have you seen from your employees who are working from home? (Respondents: 73)

  • 44% - Productivity has increased

  • 40% - Productivity has stayed about the same

  • 16% - Productivity has dropped slightly

  • 0% - I can never reach my employees now

Have you ever considered a hybrid work-from-home arrangement with the work week split between home and office? (Respondents: 129)

  • 52% - Yes, I would definitely consider it

  • 39% - We have that now

  • 9% - No, it wouldn’t work for my business type

How much cashflow did you have when the pandemic hit? (Respondent: 53)

  • 30% - 12 months +

  • 26% - 6 months

  • 19% - Less than 3 months

  • 13% - 3 months

  • 11% - 9 months

Did you have a workforce reduction? (Respondents: 229)

  • 65% - No, we did not

  • 16% - Yes, we had layoffs

  • 10% - Yes, we had both furloughs and layoffs

  • 9% - Yes, we had furloughs

Have you seen a shift in skill set needed to work in the new environment? (Respondents: 210)

  • 66% - Yes

  • 34% - No

What shape of recovery do you believe we’ll have in the economy? (Respondents: 81)

  • 40% - K

  • 38% - V

  • 16% - Others

  • 6% - L

Has your relationship with your customers improved due to COVID? (Respondents: 164)

  • 46% - No, it has stayed the same

  • 43% - Yes, it has

  • 11% - No, it has weakened

Do you have operational flexibility? (Respondents: 177)

  • 47% - Sort of - we have pivoted but are still working through things as they come

  • 46% - Yes - we were well planned to pivot

  • 7% - No - we are shifting in real time

Have you audited your non-critical costs? (Respondents: 65)

  • 65% - Yes

  • 20% - Not yet, but planning to

  • 15% - No

Have you considered variable vs fixed cost, especially when it comes to operations, office space, software & hosting, or HR services? (Respondents: 111)

  • 80% - Yes

  • 20% - No

If you have moved to a remote work environment, have you seen a shift in cost? (Respondents: 263)

  • 54% - A decrease in cost

  • 38% - No noticeable change

  • 8% - An increase in cost

If you received a PPP loan, was it clear where and how you needed to spend it on day one? (Respondents: 142)

  • 55% - Yes

  • 45% - No

Do you actively engage with your bank? (Respondents: 66)

  • 74% - Yes

  • 26% - No

Do you lean into regulations to find opportunities? (Respondents: 131)

  • 57% - No

  • 43% - Yes

Are you anticipating your customers questions and providing information before they ask? (Respondents: 50)

  • 72% - Yes

  • 28% - No

Has your organization adopted a fail fast methodology? (Respondents: 43)

  • 77% - No

  • 23% - Yes

Do you offer 24/7 customer support? (Respondents: 99)

  • 79% - No

  • 21% - Yes

Do you think we’ll experience inflation in the coming years? (Respondents: 58)

  • 66% - Yes

  • 19% - Unsure

  • 16% - No

Where are we in the market cycle? (Respondents: 60)

  • 48% - Middle – Expect a “Double Dip”

  • 45% - Unsure

  • 7% - End of Cycle

Who will be the winners in the next economic cycle? (Respondents: 81)

  • 51% - Big Tech

  • 19% - Large Cap

  • 19% - Small Cap

  • 9% - International

  • 4% - Financials

Has your business developed a plan to reduce transmission risk for when employees return to work? (Respondents: 143)

  • 85% - Yes

  • 11% - No

  • 4% - Not sure

Has your company scheduled a target date for when employees should return to your office/facility? (Respondents: 223)

  • 46% - No, not yet

  • 27% - Employees are already back

  • 20% - Employees are free to work remotely moving forward

  • 7% - Yes, we've announced a (tentative) date

Is your company hiring in 2020? (Respondents: 69)

  • 80% - Yes

  • 20% - No

Was your supply chain affected by COVID? (Respondents: 44)

  • 64% - No

  • 36% - Yes

Was your company in a position to pivot to work from home? (Respondents: 57)

  • 93% - Yes

  • 7% - No

How do you feel about the "new normal"? (Respondents: 80)

  • 45% - I'm not sure yet

  • 34% - I'm excited

  • 21% - I'm concerned

To get access to the sessions, please visit trinet.com/peopleforce-event

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