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Workplace Safety Replaces Talent Acquisition as the Top Priority for Business Leaders in 2021

February 10, 2021 GMT

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Feb. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Oasis, a Paychex® Company, today released their Priorities for Business Leaders annual survey findings. Ensuring a safe work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic is the top priority among the 300 leaders of small and mid-size U.S. businesses surveyed. Shifting priorities due to COVID-19 has pushed attracting talent from the top of the list, a spot it has held for the past two years. Employee safety and well-being are now top priorities in the year ahead.


“2021 will be challenging as businesses, in particular small and mid-size businesses, navigate safely bringing employees back to work and adjust to the long-term impact of the pandemic,” said Teresa Carroll, president, Oasis. “No matter the industry they serve, all businesses have had to adapt to new regulations and local and state mandates as the pandemic evolves. Likewise, whether employees have faced cutbacks or mental health challenges brought on by the pandemic, all workers have been impacted. In turn, this has brought workforce management and overall physical, financial, mental, and social employee wellness front and center among business leaders’ list of priorities. As we see businesses recover from the pandemic and get back to work, Oasis is prepared to support clients through the unchartered territory that lies ahead.”

When asked which human resource (HR) administration issues will become more challenging over the next 12 months compared to the past year, respondents replied:

  • Ensuring a safe workplace in light of COVID-19: 36 percent
  • Offering competitive compensation and benefits (including Employee Assistance Programs): 31 percent
  • Developing employees and future leaders for succession: 29 percent
  • Attracting strong, competent management and dedicated, capable staff: 28 percent
  • Maintaining ongoing regulatory compliance: 28 percent

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • General stress levels are higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic, with 21 percent of business leaders feeling “much more stressed.” Furthermore, 54 percent of business leaders say that they are more aware of their employees’ stress level than before COVID-19.
  • Keeping employees engaged and productive is a higher priority now than it was at the start of 2020, with 16 percent reporting it is a “much higher priority now.”
  • Thirty-six percent of business leaders want to make employee benefits easier to access and more affordable. Thirty-three percent want to improve the overall benefits that they offer in order to remain competitive when recruiting and retaining top talent.
  • Looking at how employers communicate, 66 percent of business leaders said they use videoconferencing more now than prior to the pandemic, and 39 percent believe they will continue to use it with their customers and employees after the pandemic.
  • Sixty-seven percent of small and mid-size business leaders reported spending up to 10 hours a week on HR duties, with 23 percent spending 11 to 20 hours a week.
  • Forty-two percent of business leaders said they are “very or somewhat likely” to outsource HR administration in the next 12 months.


With employee stress levels on the rise and employers in search of strategies to better engage their workforce, Oasis is committed to supporting businesses as they navigate these, and the many other challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) leader, providing HR outsourcing services to businesses, Oasis is unique in its ability to deliver this assistance. Oasis lends this support through resources available on its COVID-19 Help Center, expert HR support available to clients, a robust benefit offering, risk management services, and much more. For more information on how Oasis is supporting businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Oasis’ COVID-19 Help Center.

“Savvy leaders outsource HR administration to focus on driving growth. This helps lead to strong relationships with their teams and building an exceptional workforce,” said Donna Meek, Senior Manager PEO Service, Oasis. “The demands on HR are greater now than ever before. Our employee-centric HR solutions provide support throughout the entire employee lifecycle, addressing areas of critical concern particularly in today’s workplace landscape. From helping businesses maintain compliance with new COVID-19 laws and regulations to helping them maintain employee safety with our HR services and risk management solutions, in this time of intense uncertainty, Oasis serves as a trusted expert that businesses can rely on to help support human resources as they adapt to changing priorities.”

For full access to the results of the survey, please download 2021 Priorities for Business Leaders – A U.S. Survey.

This national survey was conducted with 300 business leaders who employed between 5 to 99 employees from a broad cross-section of industries. From December 2 to 8, 2020, the online interviews took place by Bredin, an independent market research company located in Boston, MA. The 2019 and 2018 surveys were completed during similar periods and were conducted online using a National Web Panel by SSRS, an independent market research company located in Glen Mills, PA.

About Oasis, a Paychex® Company:

Oasis is a national Professional Employer Organization (PEO) specializing in providing HR services, employee benefits administration, payroll and tax administration, risk management services and staffing solutions to businesses throughout the United States. Oasis is accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC) and the IRS has certified subsidiaries of Oasis to provide PEO services under the Small Business Efficiency Act (SBEA). For more information about Oasis, visit

Professional employer organization (PEO) services provided by Oasis Outsourcing, LLC. (Florida employee leasing license GL42) and its affiliates, which are licensed or registered to provide PEO services where required by law.

CONTACT: Laura Burns,

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SOURCE Oasis, a Paychex® Company