3 reasons why agility is imperative for organizational growth in 2022 and beyond

Agility is essential in an uncertain world, and if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the world as we know it is decidedly uncertain.

Since the novel coronavirus began spreading across the planet in early 2020, the global economy has entered a pronounced downturn. Recently, the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report suggested that global growth will slow significantly to just 4.1% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023.

American companies are feeling the effects. In the Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey, nearly 68% of businesses responding in early January 2022 indicated that their business had experienced a moderate to significant negative impact due to the pandemic. Research from Euler Hermes, a trade credit insurer, suggests business bankruptcies are expected to rise 15% year-over-year in 2022.

But all hope is not lost. Some companies have actually thrived over the past two chaotic years, and they all have one thing in common: organizational agility. These agile organizations were ready to react to the challenges and opportunities that presented themselves. They were able to adapt to the changes demanded by employees, consumers and the market and succeed when their competition weakened.

Consider these three reasons to foster agility within your own organization in 2022.

  • The threat of staff turnover has increased

In April 2021, 4 million Americans left their jobs. It was a record number until September 2021, with 4.4 million dropouts. Then November followed suit with 4.5 million employees parting ways with their employers. And it’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.

This “great resignation” has many causes. Survey results revealed that low wages and limited career prospects were the main reasons workers quit their jobs. Another suggested that burnout and a lack of flexibility were among the main drivers of separation.

Amanda Berry of Simpplr, a modern intranet solution that unites divided workforces, explains, “In 2022, employee empathy will be more important than ever. This is the way to create links between people. These connections foster a strong culture and make employees more engaged because they feel heard and supported by leaders, and are ultimately more engaged at work. Engaged employees drive better business results.

Ultimately, many employees feel less and less supported by their employers since COVID-19 darkened their doors.

Unless they work for agile companies. Agility has allowed some companies to adapt their organizational structure, benefits, and culture to better meet the needs of today’s workers. According to experts, these needs include greater flexibility, such as permanent remote work options and investments in technology to keep hybrid teams engaged and collaboration smooth.

  • Consumers have changed the way they interact with businesses

When the first COVID-19 shutdowns were imposed in the United States in early 2020, consumer preferences changed almost overnight. Customers began to focus more on health and safety than cost or convenience, and many brick-and-mortar stores and places of business quickly shunned online delivery and service options.

Agile companies have been able to react quickly to these changes. They restructured their resources and systems to adapt, shifting from physical to online sales, moving customer support online and offering expanded delivery options. These companies are still in operation; some of their competitors are not.

Recent research indicates that the shifts in consumer preferences fostered by the pandemic may be here to stay. For example, a study by Qualtrics, an experience management company, found that 25% of consumers surveyed expect to continue doing more personal banking transactions online post-pandemic. Nearly 20% plan to buy more products online even after the pandemic passes, and 16% plan to continue to contact customer service online.

  • No one knows what the future holds

The one thing certain about 2022 is that our world will continue to be unpredictable. So far this year, we have already seen the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19, dubbed Omicron, which spreads faster than other strains thanks to its large number of mutations. Supply chain problems continue and inflation is on the rise, rising at its fastest pace since 1982.

There is no guarantee that doing business in the next 12 months will be any easier than in the past 24. Agile organizations, however, have little to fear. Their resilience will continue to enable them to quickly adapt to changes within their industry and market and remain financially successful despite the multitude of uncertainties we face.

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Aubrey L. Morgan