Britain’s economy was almost on its knees as it suffered its biggest annual decline in 300 years in 2020 amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. A small crumb of comfort was that the UK somehow managed to steer clear of a double-dip recession.
The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 9.9% in 2020, as no sector of the economy was left unscathed by lockdowns and an unprecedented slump in demand during the pandemic.
Although the economy has avoided a double-dip recession, analysts said it was probably shrinking at the start of the year, with the toughest Covid lockdown restrictions since the first wave weighing down activity.
But it’s not just the coronavirus crisis that impacts business and its ability to produce shareholder value, we live in an age where there has never been so much change. The world is full of disruptive influences, from technology to politics to climate issues.
Business leaders have been battling at the sharp end of this storm to keep the corporate ship afloat while others are drowning in a volatile world economy.
Those at the top are faced with a constant barrage of high-pressure situations from a potential merger or acquisition, upcoming regulatory upheaval, or overhauling the organisational structure to accommodate a new generation of employees.
But whatever specific changes your organisation is going through, you likely share a common aim with many peers, and that’s to deliver better customer experience.
Because whether you’re operating in technical legal or accounting services or a new digital sales set-up, delivering better customer experience is a proven way to drive output, profitability, and growth.
We’ve all witnessed the CEO launching that exciting new change programme.
Excited senior management roll out new sales and service training, inspiring workshops and presentations, a sense of excitement and renewed optimism runs through the company, and the early improvement in results gives the workforce a lift.
However, over the next few weeks and month, old habits creep back in, energy levels drop and before you know it, you’re back where you started.
The bigger issue is that yet another ‘transformation’ has failed to deliver leads to an even more depressed working environment than before.
Businesses need to get to grips with the fundamental issue that the quality of their customer experience, and the success of their business outcomes, is driven by the engagement of their workforce.
Innovative new ways of instilling a positive culture of change are needed and the use of digital technology to deliver long term improvements are being seen as the way forward.
Even the most sceptical of boards have had to acknowledge that company culture is ultimately the deal breaker when it comes to change.
Executives need to empower their leadership teams to constantly tweak and refine the way they engage with their staff to understand how they are reacting to change.
Digital tools are intuitive and even fun, but can engage people, and importantly allows businesses to continually monitor behaviours – in what is a volatile world, it’s a powerful and successful way of applying new technology to enable businesses to cope with whatever is thrown at it.