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SHRM Finds Most Employers Believe They Can Endure Omicron

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) hosted a pulse survey of U.S. executives and employers and found that 87 percent believe their organization will be able to endure the omicron variant of COVID-19. Despite the confidence in enduring the newest variant, 67 percent said they were still concerned about their ability to keep employees and customers safe in the midst of omicron breakouts. The survey also found that 86 percent of executives think that existing policies and procedures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace are beneficial. 

“Clearly, this variant is causing significant disruptions across the economy, and business leaders must continue taking steps to protect employees and their families and retain talent,” says Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM president and chief executive officer. “Despite the anxiety, there is good news. Employers are confident the hard work of the last few years—all the planning and safety protocols—will help get them through the twists and turns of the pandemic.”

Here are other key findings from SHRM’s poll of U.S. executives.

  • 65 percent were very or extremely concerned about their organization’s ability to retain employees because of omicron.
  • 65 percent were very or extremely concerned about their organization’s ability to recruit new talent following news of omicron. 
  • 62 percent were very or extremely concerned about their organization’s ability to remain productive following news of omicron.  
  • 61 percent were very or extremely concerned about their organization’s ability to maintain employee morale and engagement following news of omicron.
  • 59 percent agree they would need to lay off or furlough employees should an outbreak of omicron occur. 
  • 54 percent agree that their organization would be at risk of permanently closing should an outbreak of omicron occur. 

National Retail Federation (NRF) chief economist Jack Kleinhenz says in the organization’s monthly economic review that the COVID-19 omicron variant will bring uncertainty to the economy in 2022 and could contribute to inflation, but is unlikely to cause widespread shutdowns or slowdowns.

“Even with the experience of the past two years, there is no model that can predict how the economy responds to a pandemic,” Kleinhenz says. “Little is certain about omicron’s impact on consumer demand, but people who stay at home because of the variant are more likely to spend their money on retail goods rather than services like dining out or in-person entertainment. That would put further pressure on inflation since supply chains are already overloaded across the globe.”

For best practices on building and maintaining a strong team at your organization, check out 3 Tips to Create a Stronger Team

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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