Flexibility and sustainability key to business growth

Why flexibility and sustainability are key to business growth

Having the right team in place at the right time is integral to growing your business in a healthy way. Making the right decisions and being consistent in your brand from the start is the best way to ensure longevity in an ever-changing world.

While it’s important to think about the roles and skill sets you require in your start-up, it’s just as important to make sure that you have the right working environment, from the tech you use through to the values you put at the core of how you operate. You need to ensure that team members can grow with you and that you can get the best from them.

Prioritising development and retention will also reduce the time and cost you have to spend on recruitment and training up new employees, freeing up more time for other areas of your business.

Sustainability in your business isn’t just about your environmental impact (although that should be a consideration at all stages of your growth), but also about financial and technological stability and futureproofing.

Living your values

A key aspect of any business is the way it lives its values and cares for its people, and this is increasingly a deciding factor when people choose which companies to work for.

Putting sustainability front and centre will help to attract like-minded candidates who can help you on your journey. Customers are also increasingly choosing companies which are purpose-driven or environmentally minded, but who also have a reputation as a good employer.

With the opportunity to share experiences on social media and websites like Glassdoor, it will soon become apparent if you’re saying one thing as a business but doing another. If you define yourself as a purpose-led business, it’s even more vital to live up to the expectations of your company.

As well as setting your business financial goals, it's also useful to think about some culture-based ones. This will allow you to stay on track and have something to reference, not only when recruiting, but in appraisals and at team events. What sort of employer do you strive to be? What common values should your employees have?

As a start-up, your budget and resources will be tight, but you can still provide a range of benefits to your team around the way they work, including flexible work hours and remote working options.

Reducing the need for team members to travel will not only reduce your carbon footprint but help to show that you prioritise the wellbeing of your staff. Again, this is worth tying in with your business values and goals and showing what it is your business cares about, and what it’s doing to demonstrate that.

How technology can connect teams

More than ever, teams are dispersed across different offices, countries, and time zones. Ensuring that you have the right technology in place to bring your team together is one of the fundamentals of running your business effectively.

Whether you’re based in an office, using a hybrid approach or are a fully remote team, think about the communication tools that your team all need to use and if there are any accessibility requirements you need to be aware of.

Using cloud solutions will mean that your business has more flexibility built in from the start. As more workplaces move to hybrid working, you’ll also need to think about remote access to ensure that everyone can log on securely.

Have a think about what software and apps you’ll all need access to, whether it be for video conferencing, messaging or file sharing. Having a handy list of what team members need will help the onboarding process to be as smooth as possible, and less stressful for new starters.

The kit you use is also important to help your team stay productive. Will your employees need a camera and headset for calls? What do they currently have access to at home? Even the strength and speed of their WiFi connection will play a part in how connected they can be to the team.

Consider the environmental impact of any tech you need - renewing devices less frequently, having them repaired rather than replaced, or trading in old devices rather than disposing of them all help to lessen the amount of waste, and will also provide savings to your business in the long term. Build a sustainable mindset into your working practices, so that team members are more considerate of the amount of power,

An atmosphere of inclusion

Being flexible isn’t just important for retaining employees, but not being too fixed in the way you do things will help you to innovate as a business, spot new opportunities and ultimately move faster than the competition.

No one expects you to be an expert on all things HR or remote working, and running a small business means that you’re often being pulled in many directions at once. That’s why it’s crucial to have some defined values and policies in place to help guide your workforce.

If you’re considering the needs of your team and staying alert and flexible to how things can change, you’ll have a happier, more productive, and loyal team as a result. This can provide a solid foundation for growth and help you take your small business to the next stage.

Want to create a sustainable foundation for business growth? We’re here to help – sign up for free one-to-one business support with a V-Hub adviser today to gain expert advice on a range of digital topics.

For more support on other areas of your business, there are lots of great resources in the Vodafone V-Hub, designed to help your business thrive in the digital world

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