The past two years have been a time of momentous transition for business leaders. As ongoing global disruption ushers in a new hybrid era, it’s time to embrace the inevitability of change. According to Forrester, 2022 is the “year to be bold” as business demands only grow stronger.
So, where should leaders focus as they re-envision their organizations for the road ahead? Below are five new realities that leaders must address to gain a competitive advantage in 2022:
1. Overcoming the business impact of ineffective communication is pivotal to adapt and grow in the hybrid work era.
According to new research from Grammarly and The Harris Poll, U.S. businesses lose an estimated $1.2 trillion annually due to poor communication in the workplace. This impact is amplified by the shift to hybrid work and changing workforce and customer demands. As work continues to happen in more contexts and channels, achieving clear, consistent, and efficient communication will be critical to improving productivity and engagement. Leaders who prioritize effective communication internally and externally will build resilience to grow faster, control costs, and create reimagined experiences for customers and employees alike.
2. Creating an empowered work environment that promotes employee confidence is critical for attracting and retaining a diverse workforce.
Amid the Great Resignation and rising workforce expectations, most business leaders (57 percent) cite employee satisfaction and retention as a top priority for the coming year—ahead of team productivity and customer satisfaction. In a world where employees have an increasing choice, delivering exceptional experiences is now a foremost business differentiator. Employee empowerment will be at the core of this approach as companies embrace new tools and strategies designed to enhance employees’ potential, grow their confidence, and help them be more productive wherever they are. This focus on empowerment will underpin the hybrid workplace and redefine productivity with experience at the center.
3. Empathy is now a business imperative to meet customer and employee needs.
After the constraints of the past two years, research shows business leaders are planning to improve empathy in communication this year. But that’s a daunting task when paired with the high influx of digital touchpoints that have cropped up in recent months. This leaves leaders with a dual challenge: Keep pace with the sheer amount of interactions happening while delivering higher quality in all of those engagements. In response, leaders must invest in empathy in the workplace as a strategic business priority. Businesses should look to automated and integrated ways to infuse more of human touch and create more genuine connections.
4. The continued emergence of market disruptors and rising prices make exceptional CX a critical driver of growth.
As consumer spending continues to overwhelm supply chains, experts predict that inflation and higher prices will continue to worsen. This will lead to a far higher bar in customer expectations to pay those prices. In response, CX is reaching a critical turning point as business and C-level leaders double down on the customer experience to justify rising costs and keep pace with demands. Success will come down to a delicate balance of meeting customer expectations with both quality and efficiency (i.e., keeping up with high spending patterns while delivering a better buying experience). Those who achieve this balance will gain a competitive advantage so that when supply chains normalize, they’ve cemented a loyal customer base.
5. Delivering a consistent brand experience must be at the very top of the marketing and sales agenda.
For marketing and sales leaders, delivering a consistent brand and customer experience is especially pivotal to the ability to grow. In fact, a consistent brand presentation has been shown to impact revenue by as much as 33 percent. But with remote teams and customers interacting in more places, many leaders feel out of control over all of the touchpoints where customers engage with their brand. In 2022, leaders must overcome this variability to build more consistency into the brand experience. Those who equip teams to stay consistently on-brand will position the business for long-term growth.
By focusing on the above areas—building more effective communication, balancing new customer and employee needs, and emphasizing empathy and human connection—leaders will be well-positioned to scale their businesses this year and beyond.
The author, Dorian Stone, is Head of Organizations Revenue at Grammarly.