The Current State of SMBs Amid Pandemic Recovery

Today’s post comes to us from the Executive Director of The Workforce Institute, Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted work and life as we had once known it, and jolted millions of businesses across the world.

Two years in, we’re starting to finally see some economic recovery within the U.S. workforce. However, labor challenges still remain and some organizations are recovering more slowly than others. New research from UKG,, and the HR Research Institute provides greater insight into what’s happening, particularly with SMBs.

The report — titled The State of the HR Function in Small and Mid-sized Businesses — shows that, despite the exponential digital transformation undertaken by many organizations to navigate the pandemic, 45% of SMBs are still limited to only partial automation across critical HR, payroll, talent, and timekeeping processes. Another 15% of organizations report that manual and paper-based processes remain the backbone of process and recordkeeping.

While these stats are a bit concerning, they also represent a great opportunity for HR professionals at SMBs to become catalysts for meaningful change at their organizations.

As the study reported, those in HR who reported influencing business strategy were nearly twice as likely to have all HR processes automated. They also reported being:

  • five times more likely to use their HR data to make actionable recommendations;
  • four times more likely to be proactive in aligning people strategy to business strategy and goals;
  • three times more likely to be able to easily tie people data to larger business goals; and
  • almost three times more likely to use automation to simplify regulatory compliance.

Not only will changes like these make life easier for HR, they also serve to improve workplace culture and make work a better experience for your people, too. It’s a win for everyone!

Let’s face it: The pandemic brought changes to almost every part of our lives, both in and out of work. Maybe you’re still trying to adjust and adapt, two years later. It’s also important to remember that change can be a great thing and can have lasting, positive impacts.

Perhaps there’s no better time to start influencing change at your organization. Your people might even thank you!

Download the complete State of SMBs report today.