15. Know your customers
The customer is always right, right? It’s a business truism. But it’s also something that needs periodic revaluation. Increasingly today’s customers – sustainability minded and digitally fluent – may not know exactly what they want, but they expect brands to anticipate their needs and deliver against them with frictionless, personalized experiences. We’ve identified three core demands from consumers in 2021: make my life easier, make it feel better, and make it more fulfilling. Retailers need to tailor their value proposition to best serve their customers – and other sectors do too.
Read more: Three I’s that could reframe the future of retail
16. Become a human-focused leader
Organizations that will thrive in the years of reconstruction from 2021 and beyond will be those demonstrating leadership in technology and transformation. We broke down six vital habits of organizations leading the way in creating value through technology adoption, from learning to drive innovation through the strategic use of ecosystems and partnerships, to using the right incentives and strategies to nurture the talent you need to make your business grow.
Read more here: Tech Horizon: Six habits of digital transformation leaders
17. Invest in your people
COVID-19 was a human-borne disease, not a business-borne one. Balance sheets don’t get ill, human beings do. But organizations loyal to their people see long-term benefits. And, ultimately, it’s human workforces that are at the heart of driving an effective recovery from the pandemic. Investing in your workforce helps create a business more capable of adapting and innovating to whatever comes next.
Read more: How does a stronger workforce drive a stronger recovery?
18. Remember your purpose
Despite COVID-19’s year-long domination of news cycles, other systemic problems have not gone away. Inequality, gender and racial disparity, poverty, hunger and climate change all remain pressing problems – and 67% of CEOs feel moderate to extreme pressure from stakeholders to address these issues. Here are four pillars to help your organization translate its ambition on corporate purpose into action, and drive positive change in 2021 and beyond.
Read more: Four ways to put your purpose to work
19. Beware of bad behaviors
The global pandemic has exacerbated the problem of unethical behavior. When surveyed at the height of the pandemic, 90% of businesses reported they believed COVID-19 posed a risk to ethical conduct. Combining this risk with increased levels of scrutiny from wider society means companies must take action to ensure they navigate their way through the pandemic – and its aftermath – with integrity.
Read more: Is this the moment of truth for corporate integrity?
20. Refocus on sustainability
Governmental responses to the pandemic – from lockdowns to financial aid – have constituted a major political variable for companies over the past year. These factors will continue to have relevance as governments around the world work to rebuild in the wake of the crisis. We explored what is being done by governments to build a more equitable and more sustainable world in 2021, and how organizations can and should engage with these efforts.
Read more: Will the road to recovery lead to an economy that’s revived or reimagined?
21. Reframe your future
COVID-19 brought trends that seemed far away right into the present, transforming old ways of working and redefining patterns of business growth. The EY megatrends report provides information on these macro-scale transformations in technology, society, and the economy, advising how leaders can uncover previously unseen opportunities to define the future – rather than be made obsolete by it.
Read more: Are you reframing your future or is the future reframing you?
Ask the right questions, now
The transformative twenties began with an unforeseen event that catalyzed changes none of us could have imagined a year ago. Doubtless more unknown, unpredictable events will present themselves in 2021. And perfect responses to the known imperatives outlined above may yet elude us. But by asking the right questions now, and designing future-back transformation plans that bolster resilience while enabling the agility to deal with what’s next, we believe leaders can prepare with confidence today for the unknown opportunities of tomorrow and beyond.
So, in 2021, what new questions will you ask to reframe your organization’s future, and help us all build a better working world?