When it comes to keeping your business strong in 2021, the key is flexibility. And, we’re not talking about office yoga, either. To succeed next year, you’ll need fluid (not fixed) mindsets. Business strategies should allow your organization to flex its flexibility muscles, especially in these three key areas:
With an unpredictable economy and rollercoaster public health crises going on, it’s more important than ever that your strategic plans have contingencies, and your strategic goals have ranges. Put (more than usual) thought into what happens if your target sales numbers are significantly lower (or higher!) than you expect. If you plan for people to work in the office, but there’s another lockdown, what will you do?
Be sure to communicate these contingencies with your stakeholders and employees in advance. That way, they’ll know you are strategically prepared for alternate scenarios, and what to expect when they happen.
One thing that’s difficult to dial up and down is your permanent team. During this volatile time, consider using more contingent resources. Bringing in contingent help—especially if you need someone with specific expertise—will allow you to keep flexibility in your talent budget. Additionally, with most people more comfortable with remote working, you can choose the best contingent resources, regardless of their geographic location.
While it might be tempting to think that there is a huge pool of skilled talent currently available for permanent hire (maybe at lower rates than normal); the truth is the market for candidates in essential business functions, such as HR and finance, is still very tight. Using expert consultants to fill in gaps or complete projects can help you stay agile until the market calms down and you can better anticipate long-term needs in those functions.
Workplace culture is undergoing a seismic shift. As employee needs and expectations change, organizations need to consider how (or if) company culture will accommodate them. For example, if your company culture is traditionally about 10-hour days in the office in business suits, is going back to that format still the goal? What level of flexibility do you have around your cultural norm? This is a great time for the HR team to analyze employee needs and benefits—figuring out what you need to retain (or attract) the talent you need to be successful.
Planning, people, and culture are just the beginning. In 2021, strategic plans need to leave room for (more than usual) flexibility and adaptability in all aspects of your business. With a flexible plan in place, you’ll be able to act faster and garner more stakeholder confidence no matter what 2021 brings.