Timing critical for SMEs to stave 2022’s ‘great resignation’

SMEs need to get out and engage with employees and potential prospects ASAP

There has never been a more critical time for small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) to take to the skies to both retain and win new talent with the last few weeks before Christmas seen as a real window of opportunity to build and strengthen relationships ahead of the new year. 

That’s the warning from SME business travel specialist, Corporate Traveller’s  Tom Walley, who says SMEs, as the backbone of the Australian economy, will be looking like the eye of the storm in 2022 when it comes to what he describes as the much-anticipated ‘great resignation’. 

To qualify his comments, a recent Microsoft report found that 41 percent of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year, with 46 percent planning to make a major pivot or career transition. 

Australian Federal Government data shows SMEs contributed almost $418 billion to GDP in 2018-19 but were now were at a critical juncture ahead of the hyped ‘great resignation.’ 

“Let’s face it, Zoom and Teams have been excellent tools over the past 18 months, and they will play a part going forward, but no business is going to sign deal worth millions over a virtual platform – there’s simply too much risk involved in taking that leap,” Mr Walley said. 

“The vast majority of the feedback that I’ve received internally and from our customers is those who have made the effort to travel and see employees and prospects face-to-face have made more of an impact in a day or two than they would have in six months of virtual meeting calendar matching. 

“Virtual platforms are excellent for information sharing but they really don’t cut it when it comes to key decision making. SMEs need to get back out there to engage with their own employees as well as linking up with potential prospects as soon as they possibly can.” 

Mr Walley said several business owners have identified the last few weeks before Christmas as being a real window of opportunity to build and strengthen relationships ahead of the new year. 

“SMEs have been inspirational in the way they’ve kept their businesses alive and used lockdowns to plan for the future and they want to get ahead of this so-called ‘great resignation’ that’s slated to take place next year – and our booking data supports that,” he said. 

“London has stormed into the top three destinations booked by our Corporate Traveller customers from both Sydney and Melbourne and England’s capital has also made its way back into the top 10 as a whole brand – it hasn’t been in that position since before COVID hit globally. 

“We know international travel is returning at pace out of Sydney and Melbourne and the enquiry we’re getting from Brisbane is unbelievable – the pent-up demand to travel both interstate and overseas for business from the Sunshine State is insatiable. 

“There is now the realisation that only face-to-face interactions can save the leakage of talent and we’re expecting to see a significant uplift in international travel from February onwards. SMEs can’t afford not to travel and those that can, will.

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