As we head into 2022, there is a sense of both trepidation and excitement for many business owners as to what lies in the year ahead.
The pandemic has caused many employees to challenge their assumptions about work. This disruption heeds a new era and, while it can be daunting, it is a catalyst for opportunity for business owners.
So how do business owners and decision makers foster the entrepreneurial spirit within their business? Nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit has to come from within, and from the top.
Whether you’ve got two employees or 2,000, setting an example for your team is a surefire way to trigger more responsive, innovative ideas from those around you.
In the same vein, I would encourage business owners to consider abandoning more complex and traditional hierarchical structures to give way to more cross-functioning operating models.
It builds a culture of open questioning to challenge the way things have traditionally been done and fosters entrepreneurial spirit within the business.
How to build understanding
When your people have more understanding of the business and the needs of the customer, the more they can understand what needs to be done.
Because at the end of the day, the strength of your business comes from your people, no matter what level they are.
It took a global pandemic to kickstart widespread change.
One of the lasting effects of the pandemic will be remote work being an expected reality for many employees.
Working from home arrangements can be mutually beneficial for staff and businesses by removing proximity as a barrier for entry and supporting a more balanced life.
Using local talent
Businesses can now start looking nationally for remote positions typically filled with local talent; thereby, placing skills and expertise of talent above all other considerations.
In fact, we’ve just announced a new flexible work programme where employees can choose to work fully remote, from the office or in a hybrid model. If they have a good internet connection, they can work from basically anywhere if they choose.
To stay ahead of the curve, business owners need to understand how to support their employees in the new nine to five to foster a modern, inclusive and rewarding life for their employees. Don’t let memories of the ‘old world’ impact your policies or you’ll risk being left behind.
Competition for new talent
The competition for new talent has never been so fierce. Right now, the job market is hot with companies across most industries battling against skill shortages. Companies are needing to consider how they will position themselves as attractive workplaces in a climate reshaped by “the new normal”.
Recruiting and retaining top talent isn’t an easy problem to solve and there are many layers to it. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to this solution.
It’s imperative that you focus on retaining your quality talent and give them reasons to stay. Things like flexible working, business culture, role clarity and recognition are some of the more impactful things to be focused on.
Put simply, the way forward is about recruiting people, not roles. By designing roles for future growth and development, employers will be able to attract talent with a drive to be a part of something bigger – those who have a desire to drive change and innovation.
So, once you’ve got the right people in your business, how do you keep them engaged?
Part of supporting your employees is creating a supportive and engaging work environment, whether this is in the office, remotely or a combination of the two.
Having a people-focused culture built on long-term career development and upskilling opportunities will not only gain, but help you to retain the best talent.
Produce growth opportunities
Employees led by entrepreneurial spirit want growth opportunities and to feel like their work delivers meaningful impact – to the business, themselves, and the community.
This could include flexible working arrangements, a focus on wellbeing, improved benefits, company and team culture, opportunities for growth, the stability of the company or industry – all on top of compensation.
Businesses, big and small, that prioritise their employees will be the winners in this new upcoming era. Those who don’t risk being left behind as the best talent moves elsewhere.
Utilise data and tech-enabled systems to support your employees learning
While none of us can predict what 2022 will hold, it’s guaranteed digital adoption will continue to have a transformative role on the way we do business.
Adapting to change
Digitisation and adapting to change are the keys to unlocking increased productivity. With improved flexibility comes faster, more efficient business outcomes.
Many businesses who were traditional at their core have realised how powerful technology can be to help them streamline processes, collaborate remotely and even open up new revenue streams.
A recent study, “Picking up the pace: trends in small business technology adoption and use”, which uses anonymised and aggregated data from more than 300,000 small businesses on the Xero platform across New Zealand, Australia and the UK, found one in three small businesses said they were ‘technology delayers” and not keeping up with their peers’ technology use.
Simply put, these businesses will find themselves falling further and further behind as technology and app adoption paves the way for post-pandemic growth.
You may feel your business isn’t so different now if it isn’t embracing tech, but the gap is widening each month.