By: Nick Gold- MD at Speakers’ Corner
It’s been a tough few years for British businesses — and 2022 is shaping up to be no exception. Faced with staff shortages, supply chain disruption, and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, we’re not out of the woods just yet. And while the saga continues, it’s easy for business leaders to get bogged down in the day-to-day running of their business.
But January is a time for reflection and resolution. As we extricate ourselves from the Covid cocoon, it’s time for business leaders to step back from the day-to-day running of their business, and start focusing on the bigger picture. What’s important for your business in 2022?
From creating a culture of opportunity to the traits of modern leaders, find out the key themes all business leaders should start tackling in 2022.
6 key themes for business success in 2022
Environment, flexibility, culture — as employees continue to reassess their priorities in the wake of the pandemic, these company attributes have never been more important. And as business leaders, we have a responsibility to make sure we’re addressing the key issues that are important to our staff.
In 2022, business leaders will find relationships at the heart of their success. To retain staff and grow your business, you’ll need to manage and build relationships with your employees better than ever before. To do this, take a look at some of the key business themes you’re likely to encounter in 2022.
1. The urge to micromanage
Most companies have been shaken by the pandemic one way or another. So it makes sense that as business owners, founders, and directors, the urge to protect our companies has never been stronger.
That said, it’s important to take the time this year to step back from the routine running of your business. Not only will this give you time to reflect on the vision for your company, it’ll also give your staff an opportunity to shine. Let your talented team take the reins while you make plans to expand.
2. Leadership is about strength and vulnerability
The idea of strong leadership has historically come hand-in-hand with macho imagery: a mighty commander whose troops follow them willingly into battle. But in the real world, good leadership is as much about vulnerability as it is about strength.
Vulnerability in business means admitting you don’t have all the answers — and a great leader isn’t afraid to do that. Whether it’s discussing flexible working hours or a left-field business idea, business leaders should take the time to listen and assess issues that arise, and take a compassionate, measured approach to solving them.
3. Media depiction of the workplace vs. reality
There’s a lot said in the media about the pros and cons of full-time home-working and full-time office-working. But the press often gives sensationalist takes on nuanced issues like these. The truth is that there’s a happy medium to be found in flexible working.
As employees seek to take control of their work/life balance, there’s been a shift in the power dynamic between staff and businesses. Staff want more flexible working. Businesses want to boost productivity and growth. The best way to get a result that works for everyone is to have a two-way conversation that’s open about the needs of both your business and your staff.
It’s clear that both home-working and office-working models work — so it’s time to get the best of both worlds and discover what the future looks like for your business.
4. Staff retention is no longer all about money
At one time, businesses could compete for staff on one core asset: wages. With most companies offering similar working environments, it was easy for staff to be swayed by the prospect of higher pay.
But employees have higher expectations now. Benefits like generous annual leave, flexible working, wellbeing support plans and a great corporate culture are high on the agenda when it comes to recruitment — and retention. To make sure staff stick around, business leaders need to find ways to make people feel like they’re part of a supportive, high-achieving team, and give them work that they’re proud to do everyday.
5. Staff empowerment pays off in tough times
The knock-on effect of the pandemic is far from over. The economy is still in recovery, and as we take a long-term look at the future of UK business, it’s clear there are still obstacles to be overcome.
But tough times also offer great opportunities. In many cases, this comes down to how you choose to lead. Some business leaders hunker down and brace themselves for the hit — and that’s certainly one way to deal with it.
But when faced with difficulties, it’s also an opportunity to embrace new ideas and encourage entrepreneurial thinking from your staff. It’ll give your team a sense of empowerment and responsibility — and can create great growth opportunities for your business, even in tough times.
6. The power of external ideas
Ideas are powerful — and they don’t always belong to business leaders. Anyone can have a great idea, including the staff sitting outside your office right now. With a little encouragement and inspiration from the leadership team, you can empower your staff to futureproof your business.
From motivational speakers to team building activities to sharing your vision for your business, there are tons of ways to inspire your staff. But it’s also important that they feel supported to come forward with suggestions and ideas for improvement, so you can benefit from their inspiration. Business leaders need to ensure they create the right culture at work so employees feel confident to share their ideas.
Your business goals for 2022
As well as growth, sustainability, and profit, all companies should have one goal in common: that their employees want to come to work.
It’s fantastic that companies are accommodating home working and hybrid working to redress the power balance with their employees. But if you want to encourage staff to return to the office, you need to create a company culture that helps them thrive.
When business leaders invest in building stronger relationships with their employees, they’ll see better staff retention, higher productivity, and happier employees. Now more than ever, leaders have to work alongside their staff to create the best possible work environment to cultivate success.