Posted by: Tyler Bower

By now we’re all heard of “the great resignation,” and while that certainly creates a challenge for employers, it’s far from the only employment-related challenge facing small and midsized businesses (SMBs). There’s also the fact that baby boomers are retiring and the key positions they held will be filled with a younger generation with decidedly different expectations from their employers. In addition, when employees leave, they often try to take company data with them, creating real security concerns. It’s a brave new workforce world out there, and SMBs who don’t or can’t adapt will be left behind.

A changing workforce is Risk #5 in our series highlighting five areas of your operation at risk if you maintain the status quo. How can cloud hosting help SMBs navigate the new employment landscape, turning challenges into opportunities?

The Great Resignation is compounded by the Silver Tsunami

You’ve no doubt heard the term “The Great Resignation.” The popular phrase refers to the roughly 33 million Americans who have quit their jobs since the spring of 2021. Some of these are older workers who decided to retire early. Others are secondary earners leaving the job market to care for children who were home from school. Likely most of those quitting were simply in search for better pay, perks, and flexibility. Now, adding to the exodus is a “Silver Tsunami” of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce. A recent survey from Coventry showed that over 75% of the respondents said they plan to retire early.

The wave of resignations and retirements leaves SMBs with gaps in their workforce. And those gaps are being filled by a younger generation who have vastly different plans for their career paths, and very different expectations from their employers. Gen Z and millennials now comprise nearly half the US workforce, making them a (work)force to be reckoned with.

Attracting and retaining this talent requires SMBs to adopt a new mindset. It requires SMBs to digitally transform themselves from Takeoff companies to Destination companies.

Are you a Destination or a Takeoff company?

Millennials are digital natives — they grew up with technology and the internet. These are the children of Baby Boomers. Fortune magazine calls 1995 (millennials were born between xx and 1996) “The Year Everything Changed.” Internet technology powerhouses like Amazon, eBay, and Match.com got their start in 1995. This may be all you need to know about millennials — they’ve never known a world without Amazon.

Technology is completely integrated into the everyday life of millennials. They do not ask for sufficient technology at their jobs — they expect it. To their credit, the expectation doesn’t come from a sense of entitlement — what millennials really want are the tools they need to do their job efficiently. Employers seen as technology laggards simply can’t compete for this segment of the workforce. Offering higher and higher salaries may initially attract them, but they will quickly takeoff.

Unless SMBs invest in their technology infrastructures and business management applications, they will forever be Takeoff companies while their competitors who have embraced cloud technologies will be the Destination.

Technology laggards are vulnerable to data loss

Attracting and retaining new talent is more challenging for technology laggards. If that weren’t enough, these companies are also in a more precarious position regarding data security.

When employees leave, they take company data with them. In the last 30 days of employment, upload three-time more data to personal apps. Specifically, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive instances are the most popular targets. The trend has most certainly accelerated as employees work in the relative privacy of their homes.

Tech-savvy companies who have invested in robust, cloud-based security controls, can prevent data loss before it starts.

Cloud is a recruiting, retention, and engagement tool

The workforce is forever changed. Even if a majority of employees ultimately return to the office, the status quo of two years ago no longer flies. Companies must transform themselves into places the next generation of employees want to work. Investing in cloud technologies, including cloud hosting, is a definitive step SMBs can take to recruit, retain, and engage these tech-savvy professionals. By arming this generation with the best tools, your SMB not only becomes an employment destination, but it also becomes a business with the tools necessary to grow, scale, and compete.

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