• Susannah Brade-Waring

Building Business Resilience through Uncertainty

Updated: Nov 21

Want to get these monthly updates sent straight to your email inbox? Sign up here!


 

We’d all hoped the uncertainties of COVID-19 were behind us, and life would regain a sense of normality and predictability. However, businesses have been hit with wave after wave of uncertainty and instability.


Supply chain issues like skyrocketing transport prices and longer delivery periods are damaging businesses, requiring them to commit further ahead to purchases, or suffer the risk of not having crucial materials at the right time.


Borrowing is also becoming more of a challenge, and debt repayments are significantly higher because of increasing interest rates. Businesses are struggling to recruit and retain talent which is impacting their ability to deliver quality work on time, and also the well-being of the leader and team as they struggle to cover the workload.


And to top it off, these financial worries are also affecting customer and employee behaviour, with an increased focus on having enough money to pay the bills and making short-term decisions. Businesses are having to review their business strategies more frequently to adapt to these challenging conditions.


However, where there are challenges, there are opportunities. So let’s discuss some of our best practice tips and advice to beat this uncertainty, and develop personal and business resilience.



Strong Businesses


Many people want to set up their own businesses, but very few of them enjoy selling. It’s an essential skill that leads to great businesses and great relationships. Avoiding it just makes things harder. After all, when sales are strong, we’re more in control of who we work with and our commercial terms, and we make better long-term decisions. That’s why Sales is a popular topic in our Peer2Peer Board, especially now when customer needs are changing rapidly. A lot of people confuse marketing and selling. They do lots of activity on social media, or with leaflet drops, and hope that will lead to sales. And it can – for certain industries, e.g. takeaway food.

But, if your business requires helping your clients decide what’s right for them, or co-creating the solutions with them, you definitely need to know …

  • ... how to use marketing to get into a sales conversation

  • ... how to have those effective sales conversations that produce orders

  • ... who you want to talk with, and what to offer them.

Here’s an activity I’ve been running with our Peer2Peer Board and our Business Growth Workshops. I use a blend of the Peer2Peer materials and our own in our Board Meetings. This is one of our own, called ‘Ideal Prospect’.

  1. Think about your ideal product or service. E.g. if you’ve got a restaurant, it might be a three-course meal, or that Sunday roast that provides high profit, is easy to make and always gets great feedback.

  2. Now imagine your ideal prospect is about to walk in the door. Who would that person be? Would it be Joe who just wants a coffee, or Tina who’s pre-booked a table for 8 people for the Sunday roast plus lots of profitable drinks?

Doing these activities is essential, but hard – especially if you’re doing it on your own. That’s why lots of clients enjoy our collaborative learning environment, where they work alongside leaders in non-competing businesses.


Want a template to help you discover your Ideal Prospect? Download our free resource here.



Confident Leaders


Many leaders are facing a seismic shift in employee expectations that’s resulting in significantly decreased employee retention. More staff than ever are starting to look for new jobs, and many over 50s have reconsidered their lifestyle and opted for early retirement. In fact, the situation is so bad there are now more job vacancies than unemployed people in the UK.


For employers, this means having to shift their priorities to focus on retaining talent and running the business with fewer employees. This is no easy task, since it requires increasing the productivity of the remaining employees to cover the gaps, without wearing them out.

So, why are so many employees leaving?


Of course, it varies greatly from business to business, and person to person, but there are a few key factors. Money is always the first thought for many, but according to survey results, only 35% of staff strongly considered better pay and benefits when looking for a new role. 27% were primarily looking to increase satisfaction, 24% were looking for a better work-life balance, whilst 23% wanted a change and to do a different type of work.


The cost to employers of replacing an employee is eye-watering! Estimates range from 6 to 9 months of the employee’s salary when you factor in recruitment and interviewing, training, and lost opportunity costs.



So what should leaders be doing to maximise employee retention? Here are our top 3 tips:

  • It’s all about how they feel. Leaders should take the time to understand their people and how they feel about their work.

  • Do they feel secure in their role?

  • Do they feel valued?

  • Do they feel like their job is achievable?

  • Do they feel supported?

  • Do they feel fulfilled?

  • Developing that understanding, however, takes time (unless you’ve got their Motivational Maps profile!) So make sure you’re covering the basics:

  • Are they clear about what’s expected of them, and what the current priorities are?

  • Are they paid the market rate for their role? If not, do they know why?

  • Do you check in with them regularly, not just about their work but to ask how they are?

  • Do you provide feedback that helps them do their jobs well, and which celebrates individual, team and company success?

  • Finally, one of the most common reasons people leave is a lack of career growth opportunities. Therefore, you need to ensure your people believe they’re developing their skills and have opportunities to earn more.

  • “Where employees can clearly see that there is a plan for their long-term professional success, they will be less likely to jump ship for short-term financial gain” – Quote from an article by People Management


Still not sure what to do?


Spend more time talking and listening to your team. Yes, it takes more time – but not as much as having to replace them. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our Liberating Leadership Programme. As well as our 6-week version, we now offer a fast-track one-to-one, to develop confident leaders who build high-performing teams.



Motivated Teams

The Motivational Maps Friend Motivator Card. A group of friends are putting their hands together in a circle. Words say Friend: Seeks Belonging, Involvement, Rewarding Relationships.

During this period of uncertainty and high employee turnover, it’s important for leaders to create a sense of belonging.


Belonging is a deeply seated human need that provides both a sense of security and of feeling valued - not just for the job you do, but for the person you are.


A lack of belonging results in higher absenteeism and staff turnover and low morale issues. Whereas belonging increases teamwork, morale, feeling safe, supported and more confident. That doesn’t mean having a best friend at work, but believing that you belong to something bigger than yourself – a place where you belong.


  • What does ‘belonging to your organisation’ mean?

  • What are you and your organisation doing to create that sense of belonging? E.g. team meetings, social activities, collaborative learning and problem-solving opportunities, etc.

  • How are you showing that you care about them as human beings? E.g. providing training on personal resilience, offering a helping hand, or asking about their career goals and agreeing on development objectives that help them and your organisation


Creating this sense of belonging for your employees is key to a high level of motivation, and therefore productivity, engagement, and well-being.


Employee engagement initiatives don’t have to be complex or expensive. They can be as simple as sharing internal news, providing recognition for accomplishments, having a system to enable staff to put their own ideas forward, sending out staff surveys or holding forums, or hosting social groups and events.


Giving your workforce that sense of belonging is more than just making sure their job satisfaction is high. It means they are listened to, recognised, and most importantly, valued. And your organisation will be rewarded for it, with increased employee engagement, retention and profitability.


Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next month!

Team Aspirin - Susannah, Heath and Kyle