Half (49%) of small business employers have admitted to the talent shortage negatively impacting their mental health, according to a report by Xerocon London.

The current talent shortage is a major concern, and over the last 12 months, 23 percent of bosses were unable to find enough staff to roster at short notice.

In fact, 19 percent of them even had to reduce opening hours due to staff shortages.

This is driving demand for workers, with the average small business employer planning to hire six additional people in the next year.

At the same time, one in four (23%) employees plan to change jobs within 12 months.

Fair compensation is the main driver, with 27 percent of employees leaving their previous workplaces due to low pay and 77 percent ranking pay and bonuses as a top factor when considering a new role.


Navigating an evolving job market is a top priority for employers

In 2021, small and medium-sized businesses in the UK had a combined turnover of £2.3 trillion and they employed 16.3 million people in the UK, which accounts for over 60 percent of all private-sector employment.


Workplace regulatory changes causing stress among employers 

Managing a workforce in an uncertain and ever-changing business environment is also taking its toll on employers, with more than half (56%) feeling that managing staff in the current regulatory environment is stressful and confusing.

Almost half (49%) felt that managing employee processes and compliance such as payroll, expenses, time and attendance is taking its toll on their mental health.

To address future regulatory changes, such as the recent changes to increase the national insurance threshold in July 2022, one third (33%) of employers are planning to introduce technology over the next 12 months.

More than half (58%) of small business employers agreed that technology that could help them budget and forecast payroll costs would make them less stressed about their business.

More than half of employers report that software is helping with various aspects of workforce management, including eliminating manual paperwork (47%), speeding up processes (44%) and making processes more efficient (43%).

One quarter also said that software reduces their stress levels. However, many employers still use spreadsheets, even pen and paper, to manage some critical tasks.


Supporting retention by empowering employees with self-service tools and technology

When it comes to completing admin processes and tasks at work, slow and outdated technology (21%) is the number one cause of frustration among employees. This may be due in part to not feeling empowered in the workplace, with only 29 percent of employees able to submit and manage their own leave requests, and only 22 percent having the ability to swap their own shifts with colleagues without notifying managers.

“When employees aren’t empowered in the workplace, it can have a direct impact on their productivity, engagement and even mental health,” Curzon said. “Thankfully, two thirds of bosses realise the benefits of enabling staff to make changes to the rota or submit expenses themselves, through the use of self-service tools and technology, which will help lead to more thriving workplaces.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.