Not running your business like it’s 1985 or 2010 is important! Here is how to stay on top of changes in the economy, workplace, and leadership this year
From high interest rates to skyrocketing inflation, 2022 was an unprecedented year. If organizations could learn one thing from the past twelve months, it would be the importance of monitoring the business landscape. But understanding the changes is only the first step. Executives must also respond with actionable growth strategies and realistic workplace adaptations.
Although no one knows what’s ahead in 2023, January is the perfect time to plan for various potentialities. Here are some insights to help you drive improvements in the new year, no matter what comes.
An Uncertain Economy
1. Prioritize client satisfaction.
People and companies are tightening their budgets. Valuing customers is always important but even more so during financial hard times. Joe Moglia writes, “They will be feeling the same pressures your organization is, and so it’s important to communicate with them proactively, provide them with the actionable information they need to make decisions, and make sure you’re ready and able to support them when they need it.” Show your clients you care so they are more likely to continue doing business with you even during an economic downturn.
2. Be disciplined with costs.
Is your business paying for services it isn’t utilizing? Could travel expenses be lowered? Can you reduce bills by lowering energy consumption? Don’t just rely on your own judgment. Take this opportunity to meet with department leaders and hear their suggestions.
3. Monitor compensation by analyzing how your employees are paid.
One way to manage labor costs without resorting to layoffs is to maintain a lower base salary for employees but make up for it with profit-sharing and bonus opportunities.
4. Update your hiring and retention strategies.
Sustain—or even increase—employee engagement and commitment by offering development opportunities, leadership support, and flexibility. Building a reputation for treating employees well and offering fulfilling careers will help attract talented individuals.
The New Workplace
The workplace has experienced rapid changes since the start of the pandemic. According to a recent Forbes article, the new realities for business are “workplaces and working cultures that are very different to those than older generations—perhaps those who are now looking towards retirement—were employed into.”
With two years of experience behind us, it’s become clear that some office jobs can be done just as well from home as in an office. One perk is that businesses can now find exceptional talent for positions without being inhibited by a physical location. Employees have the opportunity to save money, get more rest, and enjoy greater flexibility.
To gain the most from integrating remote employees, be sure to properly equip them—not only with quality PCs, monitors, and other physical equipment but also with online learning and collaboration tools.
The fact is, while many enjoy the advantages of working from home, some employees feel cut off from colleagues. Instill a sense of connection through department chats, online team-building activities, and fun events. Additionally, update managers’ skill set with training to help them lead well in this new environment.
Not all positions have gone fully remote, of course. Hybrid arrangements have also proliferated. The combination of at-home and on-site work aims to tap the best of both worlds but presents its own complications.
Clear communications are essential. Make sure employees understand when they are expected to be in the office and what a flexible schedule means for work hours.
And don’t assume that all workers know how to slot tasks into at-home and on-site windows. Educate them about what types of work can best be done remotely and what functions are most efficient when handled on-site.
Remote and hybrid work arrangements have increased but neither has eliminated fully on-site positions. Some jobs simply need to be done in person.
Don’t omit on-site employees from your modernization efforts—there are ways you can offer them increased flexibility, too. For example, instead of the traditional work hours Monday through Friday, consider four-day work weeks and flexible hours, which research indicates can increase revenues and employee satisfaction.
The Role of Leaders
No matter where employees do their work, leadership and training continue to be essential. The role of managers, team leads, and others in leadership positions are evolving.
Especially among middle managers, there has been a shift from merely reporting on the quantity and quality of work each employee completes. Today, these leaders are being asked to become more involved with those they oversee. Leaders need to embrace the new expectations. Mentoring, coaching, enhancing collaboration, and fostering connections with and among workers is imperative.
Not all managers are fully equipped to adopt these roles and create an environment where individuals can thrive. Build professional development and training programs to expand their capabilities and provide coaching and mentoring opportunities to support them as they practice their new skills.
2023 in Action
Preparing to withstand economic hardships and respond to rapid evolutions in workplace culture—well, it’s a lot to think about! The good news is that implementing changes now will not only help your business thrive in 2023 but also lay a foundation for success for years to come.
So what critical decisions will you be making in the coming weeks?