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5 minute read

08/03/2022

How to make your business ‘fit for the future’

 

There's no such thing as a sure-fire template for business success. But a recent study carried out with the London School of Economics (LSE) identified that businesses that feel optimistic about change, and embrace innovative technology, enjoy a big advantage over those that don't.

We've highlighted some key findings from the study, and hope they enlighten and inspire you as your organisation looks to the future.

But one big consideration for organisations looking to go fully remote or even hybrid is how to sustain a happy, healthy workplace culture without a tangible ‘place’.

Why do some businesses withstand systemic shocks like the pandemic better than others? What makes them quicker to embrace change, and in what ways do they think differently to their competitors?

Based on conversations with over 2,500 businesses, the LSE team analysed the survey results to gain a fascinating insight into the positive financial and social impact of being fit for the future (FFTF). The team went on to offer practical steps that businesses of all sizes can take to get themselves fit for the future.

The six traits of FFTF businesses

  • A positive attitude to change and an optimistic view of whatever lies ahead.
  • Openness to new technology and a recognition of technology’s power to solve business challenges.
  • Plans for technology, for example preparing roadmaps for technology-driven business transformation.
  • Detailed strategies for the future that are documented, specific, funded and measured.
  • An up-to-date view of emerging trends and an understanding of the external forces shaping their businesses.
  • Adaptability, demonstrated in an agile response to new trends, challenges and opportunities.
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Survey results: how future-ready businesses gain the advantage

The research investigated how FFTF businesses outperform the competition in four key areas.

Increasing business performance

FFTF businesses lead the way in their readiness to absorb adverse events: 94% of them are well prepared for risks, compared to 58% overall, while 82% said their continuity plan worked well in times of profound stress like the pandemic.

For the LSE analysts, this impressive performance owes as much to attitude as to preparedness. By being adaptable, open to new technology, and recognising the importance of planning for the future, businesses can build a corporate mindset that promotes innovation and resilience, reducing negative impacts in times of adversity.

Understanding customers better

Customer demands changed during the pandemic and expectations reached an all-time high.

The research found that FFTF businesses are better at keeping up with customer demand, as they are significantly more likely to have embedded order-to-door digital processes that enable a seamless customer experience.

FFTF businesses are more in tune with customer attitudes too, with 38% seeing sustainability as a higher priority than regular businesses. As Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance becomes increasingly integral to an organisation’s brand, this positive approach to environmental and sustainability issues gives FFTF businesses a clear competitive advantage.

Despite the disruption of the pandemic, we’ve seen that many businesses – from SMEs to large enterprises – haven’t begun the journey to becoming FFTF. But this may change once they recognise the financial potential linked to being fit for the future.

LSE

Embracing hybrid working

2020 saw a seismic shift in working behaviours, as millions of people began working remotely. FFTF businesses, with their greater adaptability and openness to technology, were better placed to adapt to this sudden change, and were almost one third more likely (89% versus 66%) to feel happier about new working patterns.

Expectation levels around flexible working increase progressively as each new generation enters the workforce. So, businesses that welcome trends like hybrid working put themselves in prime position to attract the best young talent.

Taking a positive view of technology innovation

The digital world creates new opportunities and challenges in equal measure. But FFTF businesses are ahead of the game in how they use technology to achieve personal success and positively impact society. 93% of FFTF businesses are optimistic about the impact of technology on the wider world. And they take the responsibility of mitigating this seriously, with 60% having taken at least one action to limit the impact of technology.

69% of businesses are investing in digital services faster than ever as a result of the pandemic, versus just 48% of regular businesses.

As technology becomes an increasingly important strategic asset, businesses reluctant to embrace the digital world risk being left behind. The good news is that any business can get fit for the future. It starts with embracing a flexible mindset and taking an honest look at the changes that will most affect your business.

As the research shows, increasing your FFTF score could dramatically increase your business performance. You can read the full Vodafone and LSE Fit for the future report here

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