When COVID arrived more than two years ago, it forced many companies to fast-track process changes, rethink staffing and supply chain strategies, and look at their customers in new ways. The shock of remote work, rising inflation, and expanded reliance on technology - to name a few of the transformations - has been exhausting for many executives trying to stay ahead.
Yet, despite these challenges, the strongest leaders are still optimistic for 2022 and are trying to leverage some of the technological gains forced by the pandemic. They see opportunities to continue to scale up and expand.
Although the pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of the business world, we’ve witnessed four key areas most heavily affected. Reexamine your business according to some of the recommendations below and adapt for 2022 and beyond.
As Erik Frederick, CEO of UNO Restaurants, recently noted, “The labor shortage has been just phenomenal. Like everybody, we’ve raised wages and given referral bonuses. Those are just table stakes at this stage. But one of the things we’ve really done… is decided we’re really going to take care of our people.”
Instead of a race to the highest compensation structure, ensure that your organization model aligns with your value creation thesis for your business. Leverage contractors and gig workers more. And really hone in on the critical few roles and ensure they know how vital their contributions are to the success of your business.
Become more flexible, find ways to collaborate, reassess WHY workers should return to the office
To better accommodate and attract employees, assess your teams and confirm their priorities. While Millennials and GenXers may be focused on balancing work with home, boomers may want to work more to increase income prior to retirement. Other options include loosening strict workweek schedules and allowing more flexible office times. Sharing talent and collaborating with partners is also a great way to smooth out staffing shortages and expand your organization’s skill set. But we advise assessing workforce priorities and company needs before making expensive decisions. And finally, do not simply require everyone to come back to work. Many families are still struggling with childcare. Many workers complain that they are returning to empty offices or simply conducting the same Zoom calls that they could perform at home (sans commute and parking fees). Coordinate schedules and plan group meetings to ensure returning workers and the business captures the gains of everyone being face-to-face.
Train Leaders and Build Teams
Today’s companies face challenges that require coordination across departments and a unified approach. At the same time, two years of COVID have left employees feeling unmotivated, disconnected, and even awkward – not exactly the kind of emotions executives need to rally behind a business objective.
Break down silos, embrace differences
Teamwork sessions that include leaders and are focused on these problems help break down “silos” within the workplace, fostering the critical ability for leaders across the organization to support a shared goal. Our leadership and team performance experts have empowered executives to unlock trapped potential, have difficult – yet necessary – conversations on the issues that matter to improve efficiency and build trust among team members.
Strengthen Your Supply Chain
COVID has upended supply chains across the world, forcing executives to make their supply chains more agile and resilient. With “resilience” being the key word, leaders are looking for creative ways to strengthen supply chains that may have been heavily reliant on single sources and tight turnarounds in the past.
Broaden your supplier base, invest in backups
Before COVID, the risks of sourcing from a limited pool of reliable suppliers seemed relatively low to many organizations. Since the pandemic, we’ve helped clients scale up during a global supply chain shortage by thinking of creative ways to reinforce weak points in their logistics networks. For example,
A key logical step is again to assess the critical procurement needs for value creation and then examine every aspect of those vendor relationships: pricing, supply performance, responsiveness to problems, and options for alternative (or at least additional) sources.
Get Serious About Cybersecurity
The pandemic has made everyone – from employers to consumers – more technologically dependent. “Game changers” such as highly targeted social media content and omnichannel shopping have shifted consumer behavior. Meanwhile, this increased dependence on technology has provided cybercriminals more opportunities. High-level executives with multiple demands on their time and are often not on the same page as their cybersecurity teams.
A systematic reexamination of your company’s tech & cyber strategies will position your organization for a level of resilience that could distinguish you from the competition. Reconsider how technology and cybersecurity are woven into every aspect of your company and dedicate resources to protecting your data.
Build Your Scale-Up Strategy
If you’re unsure of where or how to scale up your business, we can help. With decades of experience and successes in executing strategic initiatives, driving adoption of change, technology improvement, and implementation, Ankura has the ability to look at your organization from every angle before recommending how to best scale for long-term success. Once we help you draft a plan, we’re also here to help with implementation. We have long-term clients who trust us to help them at every step. Contact one of our team members to learn about how we can help you scale up with optimism for your company’s future.
© Copyright 2022. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of Ankura Consulting Group, LLC., its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals. Ankura is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice.