Economic chaos, the start of a recession, talent shortages, cybersecurity threats and political upheaval – 2022 has had it all. The lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt almost three years on, and events on a national and international scale have compounded this for businesses and the consumer across the UK.
There’s no getting around it, times are tough. And sadly, we’ll be feeling the effects long into 2023, making the year ahead daunting and uncertain. However, the pandemic was a lesson for many of us in our amazing ability to adapt and overcome, and the possibility is there to do the same in the year ahead.
So, how can you set up your business to be as resilient as possible in 2023, whatever the weather?
Continue to make tech the cornerstone
The current state of the economy means most businesses will be looking for ways to cut their costs going into 2023. Tough decisions lie ahead, but as we keep telling our customers, investment in the right technologies could be the lifeline that makes the difference in the challenging months to come.
Most business leaders do recognise this. Our recent survey of SME leaders found that more than half want to invest in tech to stay ahead of competitors. However, almost a quarter also said they’d have to scale back tech investment plans due to rising costs.
Making this investment now though isn’t just about staying ahead of the competition, it’s vital to secure the short and long-term resilience of a business. The Bank of England expects a recession throughout 2023 and the first half of 2024, but crises like these are rarely predictable, which is why it is so important for businesses to set themselves up to be agile and flexible.
The organisations that continue to invest in the latest technologies will find themselves in the best position to adapt when the wind changes. Greater speed and quality of decision making is essential in times of crisis when business needs can change so quickly, and an up-to-date, intelligent infrastructure is key to enabling this fast response.
Back it up with the right employee training
Having said all this, investment in tech for the sake of it won’t solve any problems. This needs to be coupled with the right training and education. Perhaps this is another of the important lessons learned during the pandemic, as so many businesses were forced to move their digital transformation forward so rapidly that they hardly had time to think beyond updating their tech.
New systems and tools can only show their true value if used in the right way, meaning time and money needs to be put into the people at your organisation too. Hiring the right talent is half the struggle, but the right training is essential.
Whether it’s showcasing how best to take advantage of omnichannel customer service channels, training staff up on the benefits of cloud communication, or keeping them up to date on the latest cyber security threats, employees need to feel supported and empowered to maximise the potential of new technologies.
Take advantage of the new digital natives
Speaking of empowering people, engaging Gen Z should already be a consideration in every business leader’s mind. This generation are fully fledged members of the workplace now, and despite a huge amount of conversation around their potential value, it seems they are still being taken for granted.
In fact, 53% of Gen Z in the UK have switched companies in the last two years, indicating how workplaces are so far struggling to meet the evolving demands of the UK’s younger workforce. Tech skills in particular are in high demand, and Gen Z have often been able to assess their options and find the organisation that best suits them.
Young people in Britain today are more digitally-savvy than any generation before them, having grown up surrounded by emerging intelligent technologies. They aren’t just used to working with modern tech, but expect it, so investment in digital transformation is also an investment in attracting young talent. This generation are ready-made to be the digitally-native, agile and efficient core of your business for years to come, so you need to ensure you have the structure in place to entice them and then allow them to thrive.
With such an uncertain year ahead, please do get in touch with the Babble team for more information and support on how to ensure your business is as resilient as possible in 2023.