There may be light at the end of the tunnel as we enter 2021, but there’s no disguising the difficulties that many companies still face as we recover from the turbulence of the last year.
COVID19, Brexit and IR35 are just some of the challenges that businesses have recently had to deal with, so there’s perhaps no better time for leaders to focus on a strategy for resilience to ensure that organisations not only survive, but thrive, when the going gets tough.
Here are our top tips for ensuring your business and your employees remain successful throughout even the most uncertain of times.
1. Remain flexible
Being flexible, adaptable and open to change is one of the best strategies to dealing with trials and tribulations that are beyond your control. If your operating model is too rigid, it’s likely that it simply won’t be suitable for the ever-changing, and often unpredictable needs of your business. Yes; plans, processes and systems need to be in place to make sure you can operate effectively and efficiently, but companies with no leeway for change when needed will struggle when adaptations are the only way forward. Many companies set out strategies and budgets annually, but during these volatile times, aim to revisit your approach more frequently to stand the test of time. Agility is key and ‘Plan Bs’ are always advisable.
2. Be available
This is important on many levels. With the majority of companies working remotely currently, customers, partners and employees can easily feel disconnected from you. And at already difficult periods, the last thing you want is to lose clients or employees because of a simple lack of communication. Management should therefore ensure that people know how to contact you, but that regular contact is maintained too. Video calls have become one of the most popular ways of bringing teams together during the pandemic. But, however you stay in touch, as a leader make sure that you’re interactions remain consistent and that your employees also have the means and technology to do the same with colleagues and customers.
3. Build a team
Many organisations find it useful to assign a team from different areas across your business who can come together regularly to discuss how continual challenges can be best navigated. Identify a good mix of individuals who can all offer different expertise, opinions and experiences – not just senior leaders. And frequently set aside some time to discuss how your company and staff are managing specific current issues. Think of it as a kind of ongoing ‘crisis management team’, but one who meets not only at the height of an emergency. Having this kind of regular dialogue in place can really help you to feel calmer, better organised, and to have contingency plans in place - all helping you to feel like you can confidently face any further bumps in the road that may arise.
4. Take care of housekeeping
If you’re finding that the turmoil of the last year has affected your normal business operations, you’re not alone. Thousands of businesses have of course had to close for long periods of time in the wake of the pandemic, with many more being shaken by the knock-on effects of IR35 and/or Brexit too.
If your business is anything but usual, make use of quieter periods, or just a change to the normal routine, by revisiting your policies, procedures, T&Cs, etc. Think about using any extra time wisely to take care of activities that will help to futureproof, and even grow your business when things (which they will) change once again.
5. Stay informed
One of the best ways to ensure business resilience is to stay well informed. Avoid making decisions based on media hype (which let’s face it, can cause panic at the best of times) and concentrate on only accurate information and professional advice from trusted sources. For instance, DATS partners with a number of expert organisations to ensure we’re up to date with the most recent and relevant employment legislation. We can then share this information with our employees, clients and partners to reassure and make informed business decisions.
6. Look after your people (and yourself)
In times of crisis or change, it’s common for people to feel insecure. We’re all human! And as such, many of us don’t react well to uncertainty.
As an employer and a leader, it’s important to be conscious of this and offer support to your employees. Every manager has a different style, and how you offer encouragement and assistance is up to you – what’s important is that you do. Revisiting what you’re doing to keep your staff feeling engaged, valued and that they have support should they need it, is vital in keeping your workforce happy - and of course in KEEPING your workforce!
If you’re feeling at all panicked, isolated or unsure, chances are your teams are too. Take some time out to think about how to keep work enjoyable for you and your people even through the most testing times.
If you want to chat more about how to future proof your business, plan for and engage your workforce and make sure you’re resilient to change, feel free to get in touch with one of our consultants here.