New data suggests major differences across country borders when it comes to thoughts on a recession

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Recession. Inflation. Pandemic. Business leaders are in a constant state of reaction to the world around us...but how they react seems to be dependent on where they live and work.

So how do businesses feel they are prepared to weather potential financial storms? Business leaders’ confidence depends on their country, according to a new international survey of 3,700 business owners and executives of organizations with 1,000 employees or less.

Confidence and preparedness by country lines

In America, for instance, nearly 3 in 4 (73%) owners and execs believe their businesses can survive economic downturns. Likewise, a high percentage of Asian and Oceanic nations surveyed had a very strong sense of economic resilience for their businesses: India (97%), Philippines (90%), Australia (82%), Malaysia (80%), and Singapore (76%).

However, for the European nations surveyed, it’s a different story. Only 2 in 3 German (68%) and French (66%) business owners feel confident they can weather a crisis. In the UK, a mere 43% felt confident.

Commissioned by GoTo and conducted by OnePoll, this news comes in as nearly 7 in 10 global business leaders believe a recession is likely to occur within the next six months. But once again regional lines determine how prepared businesses are for an economic downturn. 72% of US respondents already have plans in place or have started to implement plans. An average of 77% of APAC country respondents (Australia and India) are prepared or starting to prepare. Whereas only about 50% of EMEA respondents surveyed (UK, France, Germany) are actively preparing.

These data points align with responses as to how worried businesses are with economic downturns on the horizon. EMEA countries, the UK, Germany, and France (40%, 59%, 59% respectively) seem to be less nervous whereas the US (71%) and APAC countries Australia (70%), India (89%), Malaysia (76%), Philippines (72%), and Singapore (76%) strongly or somewhat agree they are nervous about the state of their business in a recession.

Regardless of the varying degree of uncertainty businesses are facing, there are some globally common themes about how to best prepare.

Top ways to keep businesses resilient

  • Understand how to access economic relief - 39%
  • Consolidate technology or evaluate technology needs - 37%
  • Make plans of action for potential disasters - 36%
  • Ensure three months' worth of "cash in bank" - 35%
  • Diversify the business’ cash flow - 32%
  • Improve digital security measures - 32%
  • Explore outsourcing certain processes - 29%
  • Do internal risk assessments - 31%
  • Hire contractors - 12%
  • Prepare to reduce staff headcount if required - 11%

Employee morale in uncertain times

Despite countries like Australia and India feeling the most nervous about a potential recession, of the regions surveyed, they also believe that their employee morale is higher than it was at this time last year. 70% of US and 66% of Australian respondents said the morale was much or somewhat higher, and India respondents showed an astounding 93% higher morale. This is in contrast to the UK, where only 40% and in Germany only 43% of companies believe morale is higher than 2021.

It's an interesting comparison to look at countries in regions like APAC that are simultaneously more concerned about a potential recession but also believe their employees have higher morale, as the above data indicates. Is it that they have an “always prepared” mindset that leads employees to have confidence in their business and trust they can weather a storm together, or something else? Whatever the reason, globally survey respondents believed the below actions needed to be taken to “recession-proof” their business and maintain a productive workforce.

Top five actions to maintain a productive workforce

  • Maintaining work equipment (computers, office equipment etc.) on a regular basis - 49%
  • Having a product that is cost-effective to produce - 44%
  • Equipping employees with the technology they need - 42%
  • Creating a company-wide emergency fund - 41%
  • Maintaining high employee morale - 41%

Whether you believe there is a full-blown recession coming, or just a quick passing storm, it’s clear that change is in the air and businesses need to act now to keep employees supported, their business protected, and ultimately take steps to remain resilient for whatever is ahead.

For more on our findings check out the infographic in the GoTo Resource Center.

To learn more about how GoTo can help your business maintain the most essential connections with employees and customers, please visit: www.goto.com/why-goto

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