This January journalist and broadcaster Kate Silverton asked our panel of experts to share what business leaders should look out for in 2022 and how they can prepare for what’s coming. Keep reading to find out their priorities for the year ahead and what you as a business leader need to look out for.
Sustainability is good for your people
For the right business, with challenges there is always opportunity.
For Grant Thornton UK, 2021 was incredibly successful in terms of the quality of work we delivered and the engagement we had from our people. Though like many businesses who also had a successful year, this has come at a cost, in that our people are incredibly tired. Our workforce has struggled, and the war for talent is going to be a real driver as we move into 2022. Unless you’ve got the right people, the opportunities which come from challenges will pass you by.
The year of growth
This year is less uncertain than 2020 and 2021, but the headwinds are strong.
COVID-19, Brexit and red tape, expansion, inflation, interest rates, the war for talent, and skill shortages are still challenges. But strangely, there is a level of confidence about those things from mid-market businesses. For the first time in two years these issues are known. People feel they can really start to plan, set foundations for growth, and invest in the right areas. According to our 69% of businesses are optimistic about the future of the economy, with profitability expectations staying remarkably strong at 60%, which is a post-referendum high.
Strong organisations are built on trust and flexibility
People now expect businesses to put flexibility at the heart of their people agenda.
During the pandemic, they’ve had more ability to create better social interactions during their working week and they want that to continue.
There’s therefore an expectation that businesses should be relying more on digital integration to support better communications, so that teams become more efficient and more able to work in a hybrid way.
A lot of employees are assessing what they want out of their work, what their purpose is and if their organisation is serving them in every way. Purpose and culture, and how you treat people around inclusion and diversity are going to be the anchor points that help keep your best people.
If businesses don’t cover the skills gap, the GDP of the whole UK economy could be suppressed. And if you don’t address your own shortage, you’ll miss out on opportunities that other firms are taking.
ESG means action
When we first went into lockdown in 2020, it felt like conversations around businesses’ role in climate had only just started, driven by regulation in the UK financial services sector.
Since then, the market has changed rapidly and ESG is now vital to a business, moving far beyond the ‘’E’’.
Proposed regulations started creeping in and media attention grew, so stakeholders are becoming more interested in the sustainable aspects of a business. These include anyone from investors and business leaders to clients and employees, and even to the supply chain you work with. A key question from any of these people could now include "what does your company do when it comes to sustainability?’’.
Environmental, social and governance needs to come through your whole business framework. It takes time, but once the plan is in place, it needs to be embedded across the whole business, including your products and services.
There’s still a lot of unknowns out there when it comes to ESG, so businesses need to keep their framework fluid and adaptable so that it is future proofed.
Watch the webinar on demand to find out what our expert panel had to say.
Based on our expert panel's discussion, we uncovered 13 actions you can take now.
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