‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’- Winston Churchill The past few years have ushered in changes to the way we live, work, and conduct business - at a pace previously unheard of. What has been termed the ‘new normal’ encompasses many challenges including supply chain disruption and labour shortages, as well as changes to workplaces to accommodate working from home. Business as usual has been redefined, and agility in adapting to change is not just beneficial, but necessary. Periods of disruption have long proven to be the best time to implement change. The sense of urgency created by a crisis tends to foster collaborative problem solving, and a willingness to innovate and experiment. So, let’s look at how your business can adapt to change and benefit from the trends that arose as a reaction to this unsettling period.
Many of the digital business practices implemented during the early days of the pandemic have endured. The use of tools to support collaboration, share knowledge and communicate more effectively has been an enduring win for many businesses. However, despite the recent rapid uptake of digital technologies, according to a KPMG survey, the key challenge facing businesses for the next 3 to 5 years is digital transformation and maximising value from it.(i) With digital transformation comes greater potential for relieving pressure on supply chains by transforming them into ecosystems and embracing process automation which has become a useful tool given current pressures on the labour market. The key to achieving successful digital transformation, according to research is having the right digital-savvy leaders in place, empowering people to work in new ways, giving day-to-day tools a digital upgrade and communicating frequently via traditional and digital methods.(ii)
Making the most of your team
Almost one third of businesses are having difficulty with staffing levels, with labour shortages at their worst in 50 years.(iii) While this creates real challenges, those small businesses who put measures in place to address this proactively will be the best prepared to weather the storm. It is critical to review your resourcing and ensure you are supporting personnel to be at their most productive at this time, which may entail redefining roles and responsibilities. New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed the national turnover or ‘quit’ rate rose to 9.5% over the past year, meaning that retention strategies need to be on the radar of most small businesses.(iv) The good news is that salary is only a small part of employee retention. Strategies like effective onboarding, and selective and careful recruiting can assist to minimise turnover. Many strategies offer significant benefits to the business, for example providing professional development and advancement opportunities is a win-win for personnel and businesses alike and can attract the strongest candidates.
Changes in customer service
The recent crisis ushered in a reliance on digital channels to engage with customers, as well as a need to support better customer self-service and provide more proactive communication. These changes have been embraced by customers. In fact, according to a McKinsey report, about 80 percent of those who used online services more frequently during the crisis intend to continue those habits.(v) Businesses that embrace digital technologies to support customers to ask questions, make bookings, purchase products and sign documents are well positioned to reap the rewards of the digital processes they put into place. Challenging times certainly usher in periods of innovation and change. Maybe it’s time to review your situation, embrace the remarkable changes that came about as we responded to tough times, and move into the future with a greater sense of confidence and optimism.
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(i) https://home.kpmg/au/en/home/media/press-releases/2022/01/talent-and-digital-transformation-4-january-2022.html (ii) https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/unlocking-success-in-digital-transformations (iii) https://www.afr.com/work-and-careers/workplace/almost-a-third-of-businesses-unable-to-find-suitable-staff-20220623-p5aw1f (iv) https://www.mbanews.com.au/evidence-of-great-resignation-emerges-as-quit-rate-hits-10-year-high/ (v) https://www.mckinsey.com/au/our-insights/emerging-cautiously-australian-consumers-in-2022
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