COVID-19 continues to dominate the headlines. Some of the news continues to be devastating, but we’re also starting to see a shift, a hopeful tone, as the vaccine becomes more readily available.  

Truthfully it would be nice if we could flip a switch and make things go back to “normal." But what is considered “normal” nowadays?  As we embrace 2021 and keep moving forward, we may also need to change how we define what’s “normal.” For some of us, we may need to establish new norms and make a pivot in our businesses. For others, this year may look like adopting both new norms and transitioning back to traditional business strategies. 

We have seen changes in the first quarter of the year and as we navigate through the rest of 2021, we want to share some things we are seeing and offer a prediction about three things your company needs to prioritize this year.

Not all companies will continue offering work from home opportunities as we know it today.  

There are many reasons why businesses will want their employees to return to work, and why some positions need to return, including: 

  • Senior executives need to be accessed more on a personal level, not just through email, phone calls and video meetings.

  • Although video platforms were okay in the beginning, and they are still valuable, they don’t provide a personal touch.  Some employees are finding it difficult to work as a team because they can’t ask quick questions or for feedback on projects. Employees are also feeling siloed, collaboration is stalled, and as new hires join the team creating friendships and establishing a baseline of trust is increasingly difficult. Because of this isolation, employees are becoming agitated and teams negatively impacted.

Business Need #1: Building an inclusive culture that provides clear expectations. Providing employees with opportunities to develop both individually and as a team will help strengthen your company’s culture. For teams that have been remote, team trainings can benefit bringing employees back together in person, strengthen collaboration and improve the overall culture.    

Organizational strategic planning to clearly communicate priority decisions for the team.  

Employees have felt the changes in 2020, so let them be a part of understanding the new information you have, and the need to be flexible as things change. Reassessing your strategic plan, and including flexible understandings built-in will help the company meet its objectives. Specifically:
 
  • Be willing to think through the “what ifs” and be willing to adapt decisions when things change. But understand that changes in decisions should not be taken lightly. Communicating why there is a change, why the change is needed, and how changes will affect the company and employees is critical. We recommend a strategic planning session to work through changes and create an updated business plan.

  • Include some of your employees in the planning session. Getting staff involved in decisions being made for 2021, will help them recognize the challenges and remind them they helped to work through the challenges.

  • Share what the top priorities of the company are and ask everyone for help to achieve them.  Employees will be much more engaged when knowing what the priorities are, and how they can help the company reach decisions made in the planning session. This also helps with employee buy-in.

Business Need #2: Host a strategic planning session and put pen to paper to create an updated business plan for 2021.
 
Prepare a marketing plan based on the strategic plan (this too should be flexible). 

Often times, marketing seems to be the first thing cut from the budget, and the last item brought back into the budget. As you revise your marketing plan keep the following in mind:

  • Marketing is needed more when times are tough. Why?  You don’t want customer relationships to be lost, and for many businesses the relationship you had last year with customers has changed because of the pandemic. Leaders are responsible to make sure the brand, culture and ethics of the company are out in the public eye and to assure customers and employees the company is viable and effectively operating in this environment and operating to exceed everyone’s expectations.

  • This is the time to make sure your marketing tactics fit your company’s direction, reaching the right people and are finding the right prospects.

  • There are so many different ways to market your company today, even compared to last year or the year before. Be willing to experiment while crafting your plan – you may be surprised.

Business Need #3: Craft a marketing plan relevant for 2021.

These are just three things to consider this year, but we feel they are critical to keep your company going in the right direction for you, your employees and the customers or clients you desire. At Jeanne Reaves Consulting, we are equipped with the knowledge and skill set to help both you and your company succeed. Email us today, your first consultation is free!