Success in 2021: Five Questions Every Business Leader Should Tackle

Forward-looking IT leaders will find a way to balance digital transformation, employee wellbeing, and more

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Dilok Klaisataporn

As 2021 dawns, most of us are eager for better times. Yet the new year promises its own set of challenges. Here are five questions to answer as you steer your business into the unexplored waters of 2021:

  1. Can we add workplace flexibility while still achieving our goals?

In 2020, many businesses were forced to create a work-from-home strategy almost overnight. Some businesses faced challenges implementing this new WFH world, while others reaped greater productivity and engagement. No matter how your company fared, it became clear that employees want and need greater flexibility in order to thrive. 

This year, businesses will need to resolve this dilemma: How do you offer increased flexibility for employees, while also maintaining your growth and strong business results? One approach is to offer a permanent work-from-home option; another is a more flexible time-off policy. You’ll also need to consider increasing your support for working parents and caregivers. Keep in mind that a little understanding goes a long way and often creates greater employee satisfaction and engagement.  

  1. Is it time to double down on digital transformation? 

Surveys show that within a few months the pandemic accelerated the digitization of business operations by roughly seven years. Many companies were forced to go digital just to stay afloat, but once they realized the benefits of digitization – like added efficiency, uptime, and transparency – they hungered for more. 

How far should your company take Digital Transformation? The answer is different for every business, so take a look at your current operations and identify any hiccups; then think about whether or not you have the budget and resources to implement the right digital technology and automation. Simple updates – such as using DocuSign eSignature in place of wet signatures – can keep your business moving forward. From there you may consider digitizing entire systems for things like CRM, ERP, and HR.

  1. What will community look like?

While the rise in remote work and digitization helped companies streamline operations, it also took a toll on employees, many of whom missed having in-person, face-to-face contact. Communities are a vital way for people to connect and share, but as we learned, it’s difficult to foster that same spirit in a virtual world.  

As you begin 2021, develop a strategy for how you’ll build and maintain community among both employees and customers. Last year many companies started with virtual town halls, which were a great way to keep employees connected and in the know. Those evolved into creative virtual conferences, customer events, and team-building activities. Get creative with your community!  

  1. How can events and partnerships drive leads and revenue?

Companies often use events and partnerships as the core of their lead-generation strategies, and the dearth of in-person events in 2020 left them struggling for leads. Virtual events are on the rise, but how do you drive revenue from an online event? And what do partnerships look like in this new world? 

No one seems to have an answer for this yet, which means now’s the time to think creatively about how to reach your company’s goals. If events are a large part of your revenue or lead-gen streams, you may consider Zoom's webinar product or a virtual events platform like Hopin. Is it possible to host a virtual expo? If we don’t return to in-person events, are there new partnership opportunities that can make up for this lost revenue stream?  

  1. What steps are we taking to prioritize health?

One thing we learned in 2020 is the health of our employees and customers is paramount, and businesses must ensure a safe experience for everyone. This includes our physical safety, as well as our mental wellbeing. 

In the push for health and wellness, simple things like weekly check-ins and virtual wellness sessions can go a long way. They are also inexpensive (or free) to implement. If you have the budget, you might consider offering subscriptions to a wellness app like Spring Health, a fitness app like Peloton, or a session with Heart Centered Counseling. Business is certainly important – but the health and wellness of your customers, your employees – and yourself – should always be top priority. 

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