Time to Reset and Move Ahead

03/21/2022

Seven Questions Business Owners Should Ask Themselves This Year

The past couple of years have been incredibly stressful and chaotic for business owners. If you’re like many, you’ve been on autopilot and in survival mode. In fact, you’ve been so busy trying to keep the doors open that you haven’t had a moment to pause and ask yourself, Does what we’re doing make sense for the way the marketplace is now?

Workplace trends expert Rick Grimaldi has a suggestion: Before 2022 gets any older, set aside some time to work on your business instead of in your business.

“Really, it’s a completely different world right now,” says Rick, the author of FLEX: A Leader’s Guide to Staying Nimble and Mastering Transformative Change in the American Workplace. “Now is a good time to ask yourself what you might need to change based on evolving conditions.”

Here are just a few questions you might ask yourself.

Does our workforce match our current business needs?

For example, do you need more service staff to accommodate new customer behaviors? Do you need to rethink their duties? Take a look at restaurants, for instance, that are struggling to handle both dine-in and take-out customers. Do they have too few employees, or employees who are assigned the wrong tasks? Is something similar happening at your retail business?

Do we need new hiring practices given the diminished talent pool?

With the talent shortage at a 10-year high, it may be time to rethink how you recruit, how much you pay, and what incentives you offer. It’s challenging to find good people now, but it can be done. You might need to think creatively, but you MUST ensure you’re a more attractive employer than your competitors.

Are we putting metrics ahead of engagement?

We’ve long known employee engagement matters. Still, the unspoken “but” has always been that metrics (especially performance and financial ones) matter more. Be sure you’re putting engagement at the center of everything – which means doing everything possible to make sure employees feel cared about and listened to; that they feel a sense of belonging, and that it’s safe to speak up when something is wrong.

Are we as flexible as we could be in how, when, and where people work?

Millennials and Gen Zers in particular value work/life integration. As much as possible, accommodate them with flexible arrangements. In light of the Great Resignation, it’s vital to give employees a work life that works for them.

Are we making employee well-being a priority?

Mental health issues can no longer be in the closet when so many have moved past stress and into trauma territory. Psychological well-being impacts not just engagement, but also productivity, performance, and every aspect of culture. Keep an eye on this issue as you design benefits, career tracks, and work arrangements. And de-stigmatize mental health issues. It has to be okay to ask for help.

What are we doing to move past DEI and create real belonging?

We know diversity, equity, and inclusion matter, so don’t just give them lip service. Instead, work toward what DEI expert Tristan Higgins calls “metaclusivity.” Find ways to cultivate a true sense of belonging.

Is it time to rethink our vendors and partners?

Supply chain disruptions are wreaking havoc in almost every industry. If shortages are hurting your business, it may be time to consider switching suppliers. Think carefully before jumping ship, though: You may realize preserving a relationship matters more in the long run than easing what are, hopefully, temporary shortages.

“Right now is a good time to think about what you’re doing right, what you could do better, and what needs a total overhaul,” says Rick. “It’s so easy to overlook huge problems when we’re so buried in the day-to-day grind. Setting aside a little time to flex as needed and getting intentional about auditing yourself can change everything about your future.”

Rick Grimaldi is a workplace trends expert whose diverse career includes high-ranking positions in public service, human resources and labor relations, and as a lawyer with one of America’s preeminent management-side labor and employment law firms. For more information, visit rickgrimaldi.com.

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