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FRIDAY, September 30, 2022
‘Great Resignation’ deals blow to Thai SMEs’ digital transformation plans

‘Great Resignation’ deals blow to Thai SMEs’ digital transformation plans

THURSDAY, June 16, 2022

A new study by SAP, one of the leading enterprise application software firms, has found that 98 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Thailand face workforce volatility, including the “Great Resignation” phenomenon, directly impacting their digital transformation plans.

About 80 per cent of SMEs say digital transformation is very important to their survival over the next year.

The new SME research released on Thursday explores the impact of the “Great Resignation” on Thailand’s SMEs under the topic “Transformational Talent: The impact of the Great Resignation on Digital Transformation in APJ’s SMEs” commissioned by Dynata. There are 1,363 small and medium business owners and decision-makers across eight countries in the region, including 207 in Thailand that participated in the survey.

The report found that as the world economy recovers from the pandemic, businesses now face another challenge which is the Great Resignation. First mentioned in 2021, the phrase refers to a worldwide trend of millions of employees across the world leaving their jobs.

SAP’s research found the Great Resignation is real and impacting SMEs in Thailand today. Almost half (47 per cent) of respondents agreed that more employees are resigning now compared to just 12 months ago, while 67 per cent of SMEs said they are not finding it easy to cope with the impact of the Great Resignation.

The talent crunch is also impacting organisations’ ability to digitally transform their businesses. In fact, lack of skilled talent ranks as one of the top challenges to achieve successful transformation for Thai SMEs, trailing understanding of digital solutions and balancing priorities, but ahead of traditional obstacles like cybersecurity or lack of budgets.

‘Great Resignation’ deals blow to Thai SMEs’ digital transformation plans

Atul Tuli, managing director, SAP Indochina, said this latest study revealed how the Great Resignation could be seen as an existential threat to many organisations. Digital transformation is a fundamental way SMEs not only build resilience, but how they create agile, innovative paths to growth.

"Without the right people, any transformation will struggle. Investment in talent must match investment in innovation to ensure SMEs in Thailand both survive and thrive,” said Tuli.

Meanwhile, to mitigate the impact of the Great Resignation, investing in talent and training is required. The survey found that SMEs in Thailand are investing in their workforce to mitigate the effects of the Great Resignation and to bolster their organisations’ ability to deliver digital transformation.

Survey respondents said they were focusing on boosting digital literacy (39 per cent) to boost talent retention over the next 12 months – as well as investing in more traditional employee priorities like financial incentives and flexible working arrangements (both 39 per cent).

The focus on training can’t come too soon. More than seven in ten (71 per cent) of SMEs say upskilling to support digital transformation is urgent, leading to 77 per cent of Thai SMEs focusing on digital training throughout this year.

“The Great Resignation has often been misconstrued as employees leaving to pursue their purpose. That’s not the whole story. Talent requires the right remuneration, flexibility, and a clearly communicated progression journey. Prioritising upskilling and career progression, and supporting it with access to the right technology and partners is proven to be a win-win for employees and for SMEs here in Thailand,” said Tuli.

Furthermore, 78 per cent of APJ SMEs say their organisation is neutral, highly, or fully resilient in weathering the pandemic’s impact. Just six per cent believe they are not resilient at all.

‘Great Resignation’ deals blow to Thai SMEs’ digital transformation plans

That confidence in their ability has resulted in a feeling of optimism about their growth prospects. About 85 per cent of SMEs in Thailand said they are moderately, very, or extremely confident in their growth over the next 12 months.
“Our small and medium-sized businesses are a bellwether for the wider economy, making up 97 per cent of businesses in Asia and employing 50 per cent of the workforce. I firmly believe that when SMEs thrive, economies grow, and Asia prospers”, said Tuli.

He insisted that by harnessing this optimism and putting it together with great innovation, a commitment to talent, and a strong partner ecosystem, they can chart a course to the next decade of SME success in Thailand.