News, Strategy

Preparing your team post Covid to come back stronger in 2022

There’s no denying that the onset of Covid-19 has led to some dramatic changes to the way we work. Whether you’ve had to learn to operate as a remote workforce, gained your black belt in time management due to the constant juggle of work and home school, or if you’ve had to reposition your products or services for new markets due to ongoing restrictions. These are just some of the challenges our workforces have been faced with over a long couple of years.

As we navigate through this new wave of the pandemic, we’re faced with a new set of challenges. But with an end to lockdowns and some sense of normality finally feeling within reach, it comes as no surprise that many Australian employers are eager to get back in the engine room and prepare for growth in 2022. The question is, are employers and employees still seeing eye to eye? Or, as news.com.au recently put it, will employees have the stamina to meet expectations having just completed what felt like a two year marathon, to then back it up with a triathlon in 2022?

The Great Resignation is a term you may have heard doing the rounds in the media towards the end of the year. The thought being that Australia is on the verge of seeing yet another dramatic workforce change, but this time centring around an increase in resignations – the result of Australian workers reprioritising their lives and livelihoods. It’s a trend already being witnessed in the US, after long stints of lockdowns and working from home have made employees question what is important to them; the fancy office and high salary, or greater work-life balance.

For some, 2021 wasn’t just a year of disruption, but rather a year of change and new beginnings. Armed with a desire to start fresh and to feel more in control of their lives, we’ve seen some exhausted employees ditch the corporate world entirely in favour of creating their own small business success story. As Accountants and Business Advisors, we saw quite a big increase in small business start-ups last year, and it’s a trend that we expect will continue in 2022.

While starting a new business can be an exciting time, with lots of boxes to tick, it can also leave you wondering where is best to start. As a small business ourselves (and knowledge sharing enthusiasts), we’ve pulled together a How-To Start Your New Business Guide for those of you who have taken the plunge in 2022 and decided to become your own boss.

We also spoke with our friends (and go-to HR Advisors) at Davy Partners to get their take on the Great Resignation theory, along with some handy HR tips for employers (and new business start-ups) to take into this next exciting stage of growth in 2022.  Here’s what they had to say!

Where to focus your attention for a less disruptive 2022

While life may have seemed quite normal through Covid for some (and less so for others), there’s no doubt that many businesses have struggled through state and international border closures, and the critical skills shortages that came with it. Add the prospect of a “Great Resignation” event to the mix, and holding onto key staff could become a challenge for business owners who are not in sync with their team. So what can you do to prepare your team and your business to come back with a bang this year?

Instead of relying on bringing skills in from interstate or overseas, some business leaders have placed a greater emphasis on upskilling the employees they already have in an attempt to fill skills gaps. The transition towards digitally centred businesses during the pandemic has also supercharged the need for digital skills, resulting in the creation of new roles for some organisations, or redefining existing roles and responsibilities within the workforce. While upskilling employees has typically always been a focus for human resources teams, what has changed is the urgency around it, making it the top priority for 2022 for nearly 60 per cent of HR leaders according to a recent survey by Gartner as reported by HRM Online.

While upskilling is important in the long term, it unfortunately is not always a quick fix. Here at Davy Partners we’ve seen our client’s having increasing trouble to fill critical skills gaps and are receiving dramatically reduced interest in job ads, almost across the board.  Our tip for 2022 is to act now! Whether you choose to upskill or hire new talent, if you foresee that this year you will need a critical skill added into your team, we recommend  getting clear on what your non-negotiables for the role are, what your employee value proposition is for people joining or staying with your team, and then getting that process started!

The Gartner study also found that Organisational Design and Change Management was another key area of focus for 2022, with “54% of 274 leaders saying their employees are suffering from change fatigue”. With so much uncertainty, disruption and change on the horizon for the most part of the last two years, it’s understandable that employees (and business owners, too!) are feeling the knock-on effects of what has been an exhausting and anxiety provoking experience for many of us. Add the uncertainty of Covid to the mix, and it really has been quite the rollercoaster ride for employees and employers alike (and in particular, those who don’t deal well with change). Our tip for 2022 is to take some time to review your business strategy and goals for the year ahead, keeping in mind that you and your team are still navigating something as significant as the pandemic, and ensuring any planned changes to come are carefully considered and communicated with your people.

This leads in nicely to the topic of resilience. More than ever, it has become important for business owners to set their attention on building a resilient workforce that is capable of maintaining productivity throughout periods of change and disruption. This unfortunately doesn’t happen overnight and requires both the empathy and effort of managers and individuals to foster and build up their own and their team’s resilience. You might find it useful to consider how well you perform as a business with regards to the 7C’s of team resilience.

CULTURE: Does your team have shared values and purpose?

CONFIDENCE: Do your team members have the skills and capacity to perform tasks required of them?

COMMITMENT: Is your team committed to each other and your overall business purpose or mission?

COMMUNICATION: Is your team on the same page? Are you making a conscious effort to keep all team members informed on where things are at in the workplace, and have you built an environment that welcomes feedback/information/idea sharing and differing views?

COORDINATION: Do your team members work in sync with each other and are individual goals aligned with your overall business goals?

CONSIDERATION: Does your team show support to one another, both personally and professionally?

I think it’s safe to say that it’s impossible to guarantee less disruption when it comes to external factors such as what we’ve seen with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, by focusing your attention on the key points above, you’ll be starting off the year in the best possible position for what we hope will become a great year for both employees and employers alike.

New year, New Goals, New Wins

There’s nothing like the start of a new year to pause, reflect and to reassess not just where you’re at, but where you want to go. Whether you’re looking to take your career to new heights this year, start a new business, or take your existing business to the next level… it’s a great time to start planning.

Establish a set of goals individually, but also as a team. Check in regularly with each other and most importantly – celebrate each other’s wins!

If you’re starting a new business, it’s unlikely you’ll have a team around you just yet to do this with. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. You might like to join a small business support group, which can be a great sounding board when fleshing out ideas, it can help keep you accountable, and it provides you with a group of like-minded people to share your wins with.

Here at Lemonade Beach, we’ve had the pleasure of working with many small-medium businesses over the past couple of decades, from helping them to get their idea off the ground, collaborating on growth strategies, right through to helping to improve the value of a business and advising on exit strategies. There’s nothing we love more than seeing our clients succeed as business owners through each stage of their business lifecycle. At the core we may be Accountants and Business Advisors, but put simply, we’re all about making business easier for our clients.

If you’re feeling like you’ve lost your mojo in 2021 and would like some guidance to take your business to the next level this year, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Lemonade Beach is a Business Advisory and Accounting firm based on the Gold Coast. If you’d like to hear more about our services and how we could work together, we invite you to book an obligation-free discovery call.

 

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