Dublin, CA — November 2, 2022 —TriNet (NYSE: TNET), a leading provider of comprehensive human resources solutions for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), partnered with The Harris Poll to conduct an industry-wide pulse survey to better understand the experiences and perceptions around the current and upcoming macroeconomic environment that SMB leaders are facing. The survey, released today, reveals that while most SMB leaders are seeing growth, both in revenue and profit, they are still facing major challenges around inflation, economic conditions and employee productivity.
“Based on the findings of this extensive survey, the state of the economy is clearly top of mind for SMB leaders everywhere. As the evidence suggests, most agree that we are either in the middle of a recession or heading there soon,” said Michael Mendenhall, SVP, CMO, and CCO at TriNet.
“As this data shows, small and medium-sized business leaders are proactively taking steps to stormproof their operations even as most report a confident outlook heading into 2023. This strategy includes turning to trusted sources for information and counsel while matching cost controls with investments in technology,” added John Gerzema, CEO, The Harris Poll.
For this research, TriNet teamed with The Harris Poll to survey more than 350 Technology, Professional Services, Financial Services, Main Street, Life Sciences, and Non-Profit owners and partners from major metropolitan areas, was conducted from August 30 to September 9, 2022. The survey focused on companies with between five to 249 employees.
Most SMB leaders saw growth, both in revenue and profit, in the first half of 2022, and expect about the same for the second half of the year. Even with this cheery outlook companies are still facing challenges, namely concerns around inflation, economic conditions, and employee productivity.
While half of business leaders (50%) are confident in the U.S. economy over the next 12 months, 20% believe we are already in a recession and an additional 16% expect a recession in the second half of 2022. Another two in five expect a recession in 2023 and the remaining third (33%) do not expect a recession at all. Among those leaders that anticipate or believe we are already in a recession, the majority (70%) believe the recession will be moderate. Less than three in ten (27%) leaders polled have seen some sort of signs of a recession, most often citing decreases in profit/sales/revenue, increased costs, and a decreased demand from clients.
Employers are optimistic, with nearly three in four (74%) thinking they are prepared for the impending/already here recession. However, over the past three to six months leaders have reserved cash (32%), raised prices (31%) and cut operating costs (29%). On the bright side, leaders have also invested in technology (44%), launched new products or services (39%) and invested in infrastructure (39%) to try to offset the negative impacts. Leaders do seem confident in being able to weather the macroeconomic environment over the next 12 months, with three in five (59%) professing such confidence. Specific actions taken to attempt to cope with a recession include scaling down business plans (32%), cutting operating cost (30%) and raising prices (29%).
Business owners are most likely turning to their trusted sources for information to help make critical business decisions during this turbulent time. Those trusted sources of information tend to be the media and internal data and analysis. Diving deeper in terms of specifics around the media relied upon, Facebook, Twitter and major network TV news were mentioned frequently. The internal data and analysis relied upon tends to be sales data, Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis and GAP analysis.
TriNet (NYSE: TNET) provides small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) with full-service HR solutions tailored by industry. To free SMBs from HR complexities, TriNet offers access to human capital expertise, benefits, risk mitigation and compliance, payroll, all enabled by industry leading technology capabilities. TriNet’s suite of products also includes services and software-based solutions to help streamline workflows by connecting HR, Benefits, Employee Engagement, Payroll and Time & Attendance. From Main Street to Wall Street, TriNet empowers SMBs to focus on what matters most—growing their business and enabling their people. TriNet, incredible starts here. For more information, visit TriNet.com or follow us on Twitter.
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