Midsized Businesses: Poised to Lose Balance in a Time of Uncertainty

When opportunity is recognized, change becomes a catalyst for advancement. If viewed as a deer views headlights however, fear of change can result in stalled growth at the very least – and loss of marketplace position in a worse case. So, in the midst of a shrinking talent pool, ever-evolving government regulations and recent political upheavals, how are businesses reacting to exceptional change in the air today?

This new study by the ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI) assesses the current attitudes of U.S. business owners that staff between 50-999 workers. The study’s results point to a wait-and-see approach – even in critical aspects of running a successful business. This seemingly “safe” approach is, on the surface, hard to fault. Waiting can be rationalized overall but once competitive ground is lost it is sometimes too far gone to regain. Focusing on the issues that matter most to midsized business owners, the ADP RI study submits trends that, if continued, could lead to weaknesses in otherwise strong or strengthening companies.

This study is more than a snapshot of what is happening today – it is part of a larger series of studies begun in 2012. This year, ADP RI asked 756 business owners, C-suite executives and senior level executives about their experience and their plans. Adding these most recent responses to the previous years’ data helps reveal consistencies and inconsistencies that indicate trends and signal change that a single measure in time will not perceive.

ADP RI continues to explore business activities and mine for understanding. Because midsized companies occupy all industries and regions of the country while leading in job and revenue growth, analyzing this stratum of the business world can illuminate trends useful to formulating strategies and investments for businesses of all sizes.

Businesses find themselves in a world of increased change. Political upheavals, social conflict and technological tumult all impact how businesses operate and how they perceive opportunities. Where the middle market goes is likely where the rest of the business world is going.

About this report: The ADP Research Institute conducted an online survey among 756 business owners at midsized companies (defined as those with 50 to 999 employees). The survey was fielded in November and December 2016 (survey was launched post-presidential election). This was the 5th consecutive year conducting this survey. Over 3,700 business owners have participated in the survey over the 5-year period.

Tags: Human Resources Talent Management Performance Management