How Small Businesses Turn Hybrid Work Challenges into Growth Opportunities
Practical Advice from Experts on Samsung-Hosted Panel at National Small Business Week
Today’s small businesses are facing challenges they haven’t seen before.
As many businesses around the world return or consider returning to offices on a hybrid basis, small business owners and leaders are facing new concerns regarding productivity, recruitment, retention, and customer satisfaction. While these concerns and challenges are well known, solutions are not as obvious.
The National Small Business Week virtual summit, hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE, will be held on May 2-5. As a proud sponsor of the event, Samsung Electronics America will host a discussion, “Empowering a Hybrid Workforce,” to help small businesses find solutions to today’s challenges. The session will feature a distinguished panel of small business leaders who will provide insights into how small businesses can improve team productivity, maximize talent, and grow their businesses.
The panel will be moderated by Jason Redmond, Senior Director of Mobile Marketing B2B at Samsung Electronics America. Panelists include:
- Alexa Rose Carlin, Founder and CEO of Women Empower X: An inspirational small business owner helping women entrepreneurs grow their businesses and brands.
- Tiffany C. Wright, President at the Resourceful CEO: A recognized expert in working with small business owners to structure their operations to generate cash and profits.
- Barry Moltz, Host of The Small Business Radio Show: A 20+ year small business veteran who assists owners in growing their companies and unlocking their potential.
- Maribel Lopez, Founder and Principal Analyst at Lopez Research: A renowned analyst specializing in helping companies connect technology to business value.
Ahead of the panel discussion, these experts shared practical, actionable advice on how small businesses can smooth the return-to-work transition, improve employee recruitment and retention, keep customers satisfied, and maintain productivity.
Returning to the office
Many organizations face challenges as they continue or consider returning to offices. Some employees wonder why they need to go back given their productivity from home. Small businesses can address this directly by communicating the collaborative and educational benefits of working in the office. But it’s also important to include employees’ voices in the return-to-work conversation.
“As a small business owner, one of the most important things to focus on right now regarding your team is to ensure they feel heard, connected to your greater mission, and part of your team as valued members,” said Alexa Rose Carlin, Founder and CEO of Women Empower X. “I believe this will help team members feel motivated to work, regardless if they are working from home or in the office.”
Highly engaged employees, those who are committed and connected to the organization, are three times more likely to say their opinions are being heard at their workplace, according to a 2021 study by The Workforce Institute. So how can small businesses go about including their employees in the return-to-office conversation?
“I recommend first openly talking to your team about the vision for why you’d like to work with them again in person at the office, but then ask them either all together or separately for their opinions on coming back to the office,” Carlin said. “Ask them what they think will be best for the team and the business, making them feel heard while positioning the question away from what they personally want and towards a decision for the growth of the business and the culture. I think this will end in a result where workers feel respected and valued as well as see the value in a hybrid model.”
A major challenge in today’s work environment is hiring and retaining employees. In the job seeker’s market that exists today, employees can easily consider other opportunities, while top applicants can afford to be picky. What can you do to stand out?
“Give your prospective new hires and employees a mission they can believe in and want to be a part of,” said Barry Moltz, Host of The Small Business Radio Show. “People don’t want to just work for a company, they want to be part of a cause. To retain your team, care about each one of them individually and understand how their job fits into their personal life.”
Keeping customers satisfied
While overcoming employee engagement and retention challenges may take focus and effort, maintaining strong customer service and satisfaction is a priority. This is not a simple task, but it is the most important.
“In a world where more employees work remotely, customer service and satisfaction still reign,” said Tiffany C. Wright, President of The Resourceful CEO. “The keys to supporting strong customer service and satisfaction have not changed: great service from beginning to end, and immediate follow-up with customer complaints. You don’t have to be in person to make customers feel special, but you do have to take additional care, such as contacting B2B customers after service or product delivery to inquire how things went and if they need anything else, then follow up accordingly.”
A great way to improve customer retention is mixing in a personal touch. In a remote and hybrid world, it is important to put in even more effort into personalization.
“To strengthen long-term customer relationships, knowing birthdays (including children), anniversaries, and career achievements, then sending a card, making a call, or even sending a gift acknowledging them goes a long way and stands out more in the age of text and email,” Wright said. “For consumer businesses, providing discounts or freebies on customers’ birthdays, or at purchase milestones makes customers feel supported.”
Maintaining productivity in remote or hybrid offices
As many employees head back to offices, it is important to maintain high productivity standards despite changing routines.
Regardless of your company’s size, easy-to-use collaboration tools are must-haves for any hybrid work environment. Some employees might still be at home, while others are in the office, but location should not get in the way of your organization’s productivity.
“Collaboration platforms are a grand equalizer that allows SMBs to deliver the same experience as larger companies, but at a reasonable cost,” said Maribel Lopez, Founder and Principal Analyst of Lopez Research. “These platforms help SMBs minimize labour issues by enabling remote work, reducing travel costs, and expanding the number of ways they can engage with customers and partners.”
Learn more from the small business experts
“Small businesses are in a unique time together,” said Jason Redmond, Senior Director, Mobile Marketing B2B at Samsung Electronics America. “We’re all confronting new challenges with the evolving hybrid workplace. People have changed the way they work, as well as where they work. Samsung is bringing together a panel of experts, whose collected experience and guidance will help small businesses transform these challenges into opportunities for growth during National Small Business Week’s virtual summit.”
To attend this panel discussion on Tuesday, May 3rd at 1:20 pm ET, register for the National Small Business Week Virtual Summit.