I had the privilege of delivering the keynote handle at this 12 months’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ghana Employers Association on Thursday September 15, 2022. It was a closely attended session, that includes representatives from all the establishments in Ghana (each private and non-private), Norway’s Ambassador to Ghana, Ingrid Mollestad and the Deputy Minister for Employment, Hon. Bright Wereko Brobbey.
The occasion was round the theme of sustaining companies amidst macroeconomic challenges. It was a theme I discovered prescient, given the scenario with most world economies following the COVID-19 pandemic and different attendant financial challenges in the previous two years.
Here are the key factors of my message:
Today, throughout the world, the enterprise panorama has remodeled. The pandemic has turned historical past on its head and has reminded enterprise leaders to develop sustainably. A PwC Pulse Survey of Executive views on enterprise discovered that almost 70% of enterprise leaders globally believed that COVID-19 will flip from a pandemic to an endemic in 2022 with advanced challenges forward. Another current survey carried out by the Africa Business Panel on the African enterprise atmosphere had some fascinating observations:
- About two-thirds of the firms stated they had been struggling however will survive.
- Of all the professionals drawn from throughout the international locations in Africa, South African firms appeared the least optimistic.
- However, in Ghana, there was sunny optimism. Only 3 per cent of Ghanaian members had been involved the firm they labored for will collapse; which demonstrated the nice resilience, religion and flexibility of the Ghanaian worker.
However, the query stays: How will we maintain our enterprise in the midst of macroeconomic challenges?
Adversity is nothing new for us Employers. However, there’s an enormous distinction between operating and sustaining a enterprise throughout an financial downturn. Let me begin by saying: I don’t have all the solutions. But having led the profitable and arguably the greatest transformation of a model and enterprise possession in the nation, adopted by operating a enterprise by means of the pandemic—and having seen so a lot of my prospects do the identical—I do have some insights into what we are able to do to climate this storm.
It all begins with Leadership:
As companies navigate this non permanent blip:
- Don’t be “the ostrich” – who preserves the established order, and simply hopes for the finest
- Nor “the bull in the China shop” – who blindly cuts bills throughout the board
- Rather be “the fox” – use the downturn to make your online business more practical in order that when the working atmosphere improves, you’ll be in a fair higher place to develop sustainably benefiting from rising traits and new alternatives.
As leaders in difficult instances, let’s assume the finest intentions and assist our workers as people. Be affected person and have a listening ear and be prepared to do the work. Leading from the entrance traces is one among the strongest methods to point out your workforce the work they do issues. Get concerned on the store flooring, not simply with advertising and marketing & gross sales groups however operations and different supporting features. Operate with integrity, put in the time to do the proper issues and do issues proper. Your legacy goes past a disaster interval.
Create a enterprise continuity plan
If the pandemic or financial challenges taught us nothing in any respect, not less than we now know sufficient to control our enterprise continuity plans. A rigorously thought-out enterprise continuity plan will make coping in a disaster simpler. It will even allow you to attenuate disruption to your online business and prospects. It is a means of proving to prospects, buyers and all stakeholders that your online business is strong sufficient to deal with unexpected circumstances or something that may happen unplanned.
Prioritize your prospects
Focus on creating one thing that really provides worth to your prospects. Figure out their challenges, draw nearer to them and take even higher care of them. This improves your probability of holding present purchasers and constructing loyalty. The key right here is to supply wonderful customer support or after gross sales service. You can even hold them completely satisfied by operating loyalty or buyer incentive programmes. Happy prospects can even enable you diversify your online business by referrals – introducing new purchasers or enable you acknowledge new alternatives that would enable you diversify to new markets or services and products.
Support your colleagues/ workers
As employers, we should construct morale and motivation by clearly speaking with our workers on what is occurring inside the working atmosphere and its influence on our enterprise. It is necessary to be aware of the language getting used. Language is the car for processing thought and the way we come throughout to our workers will probably be the distinction between creating pointless panic or establishing reassurance.
Some organizations may have to cut back workers power or hours. e.g., you possibly can ask a few of your full-time workers to work half time for a interval. You may need to vary, and even freeze your hiring plans throughout an financial downturn, however that doesn’t imply it’s important to halt your development. If you do have to let some workers go to save cash, be sure to perceive your contractual obligations for ending employment.
You also needs to conduct expertise evaluation, establish the gaps wanted to make them future match and practice/retrain your workers to equip them for the journey forward. Remember you continue to want operational excellence throughout a downturn, so construct “The Team” not simply the A* gamers. The finest final result sits in collective knowledge.
Sharpen your methods of working
Cut the paperwork or crimson tape. When issues are going effectively, employers may not discover inefficiencies. I’ve seen how onerous it may be to remain lean as you develop. Processes can turn into bloated, insurance policies can get convoluted, and also you may find yourself speaking about work greater than doing the work in a season like this. Encourage your workforce to be doers not hearers solely. Next, companies should study to be nimble and agile in difficult instances. Learn to modify your technique round and make it extra expertise inclusive. Innovation would enable you adapt to altering market situations and keep forward of your rivals. As a part of this course of, you need to evaluation if utilizing expertise will improve effectivity, scale back prices and make your online business extra aggressive. Automation may also help fill the gaps. Automation can even unencumber your present workforce to deal with prospects. I got here throughout an organization’s values that stated, “Don’t be a robotic, construct the robotic.“. 74% of companies surveyed in a 2021 survey stated that automation helped them really feel ready to deal with sudden crises.
When there’s financial uncertainty, it’s extra necessary than ever to assist your companions and depend on them to assist you too. Internally, the totally different departments inside your group should not work as silos. Using an exterior lens, networking may be helpful to know how different companies are coping and lowering your dangers. Consider forming alliances with different enterprise, for instance, by providing complementary providers.
As I stated in the starting, adversity is nothing new for employers and leaders. It may need been the pandemic in 2020 or the macroeconomic instability right this moment. The future may current different challenges. We should constantly plan, study to place in the proper danger measures and continuity programmes and kind a daily behavior of assembly to debate and monitor the readiness of the plan. Habitual planning and anticipation and sufficient mitigation measures will put us in a superb place to take care of the sudden if it reveals up.
So expensive enterprise leaders, I will finish with a paraphrased assertion from the American Sailing web site: “When there is economic uncertainty, truly good employers are never the ones screaming and throwing tantrums, they are the ones figuring things out while customers and shareholders are allowed to scream and throw tantrums.” Nevertheless, past being calm beneath duress, the finest employers are normally simply calm generally. It’s a disposition that serves practically each catastrophic scenario and wonderful enterprise leaders comprehend it. To be calm is to be away from thoughts and readability is a gigantic benefit when main a enterprise by means of difficult instances. As employers, our function is to soak up the warmth and transmit readability to our workers. The calmness can then be harnessed into highly effective instruments:
- It begins with management
- Create a enterprise continuity plan
- Prioritize your prospects
- Support your colleagues/workers/workers
- Sharpen your methods of working
- And collaborate [internally & externally], construct partnerships and community.
Remember! Don’t be the ostrich, nor “the bull in the China shop.” Rather be “the fox” – use the downturn to make your online business more practical so when the working atmosphere improves, you’ll be in a fair higher place to develop sustainably
The author, Abena Osei-Poku, is the Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana Limited.
Abena Osei-Poku | Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana