It’s been another year of continued change!
Small businesses are facing increased challenges with inflation, from supply chain issues, rising costs and lack of workforce.
Workers continue to look for ways to blend work-life flow so that one doesn’t need to be sacrificed for the other.
The path forward will continue to look like finding “new normals” that work for each unique company and team, based on your goals and needs.
Here are predictions for how the small business climate will continue to change and evolve in 2022:
The workforce will continue to diversify with some workers desiring full-time jobs with benefits, however, there will continue to be more people seeking part-time or contract work. Employers who are able to be flexible with different types of work arrangements will have more success in keeping roles staffed.
Employer brand and culture will continue to be immensely important:
This goes way beyond providing snacks and team outings. Your employer brand and culture sets the tone for how everyone engages and operates.
The stats are in and show that employee engagement is at all-time lows, workers are feeling burned out at all-time highs, and of the over 3M working mothers who left their jobs during the pandemic, many of them have not yet returned. Those who are returning are being more discerning about finding careers that allow them to fulfill professional duties while also allowing them to be present for their personal life. Your culture dictates how work is done and it can add chaos and undue stress, or it can aim to minimize it. This is why open communication between leaders and workers continues to be essential.
Having a defined culture including defined values, guiding principles and communication standards is important so that everyone can show up and do their best within those guidelines, while also having clear boundaries for what is considered home-life. It’s essential that staff are able to communicate openly with managers and leaders to address challenges head-on and aim to find solutions. While workers are looking for paychecks, they are also looking for improved work-life flow. Your employer brand and culture plays a big part in employee retention and long-term productivity. Need help defining your employer brand? Reach out.
More companies will continue outsourcing parts of their operations, and particularly marketing operations:
With increased costs for businesses, and the struggle to keep staff, more businesses are examining what positions are necessary to staff in-house and which positions are needed full time. Companies will find ways to reduce risk and potentially cost, while improving results by potentially outsourcing marketing functions to expert teams. For companies who don’t have a large enough revenue or need for full-time in house staff, they will look to outsource marketing to agencies, contractors and boutique partnership-based agency teams like Soul Seed.
Outsourcing like this reduces risk and cost for small businesses while improving ROI as the investments made can yield better results. Outsourcing provides a business with access to a wider suite of expert services that would normally be difficult to source on your own or impossible to hire entirely in-house. This can also free up business owners’ and managers’ time as they aren’t responsible for managing marketing staff but instead partnering with an agency who is responsible for leading the strategy and delivering results. If an agency isn’t delivering, it’s easier to part ways versus turning over internal staff.
Outsourcing marketing also provides businesses with more agility and flexibility in managing marketing budgets and team member investments as projects can be scaled up or down a bit more flexibly.
Normalizing mental health will continue:
As stigma around mental health is lessened in society on the whole, this will continue to lessen within work environments as well. More companies are recognizing the rise of burnout, and the necessity of embracing and promoting mindfulness activities to promote mental health, such as meditation, taking breaks, taking proper time off and physical activity. Companies like LinkedIn noticed increased burnout trends and have taken numerous proactive steps. More companies are having proactive conversations around supporting staff in creating boundaries between work and home time, especially with many workers working from home or in a hybrid model where those lines can become blurred.
More companies are encouraging proper time off, completely away from work so that people can be present with their personal life as well as properly refuel and recharge. Companies who see their workers as people first and who aim to prevent worker burnout, will bode better with employee engagement, satisfaction and retention.
Companies will aim to deepen existing client relationships:
For many companies, building a successful business requires less than 1000 or even less than 100 loyal raving fans. The cost of gaining a new customer always costs more than retaining an existing customer. In 2022 it’s more important than ever to take care of current customers by maintaining communication about what to expect. Customers are becoming more aware about longer shipping times, product shortages and maybe even higher prices, and it’s important to communicate about those changes. Companies that strive to nurture their existing customer base will win in the long run by retaining loyal customers who will refer other fans.
Seek to serve your customers authentically and transparently, even if that means there will be delays, limited supplies or limited service hours. Your customers will appreciate the communication and honesty and will see the effort you put in. As a result they are more likely to have some patience and stay loyal through good times and challenging times.
Becoming a more inclusive work environment is no longer a forward-thinking progressive thing, it’s a must for workplaces:
Evaluate your policies and language to ensure that you are creating a workplace that is inclusive for all types of humans. Resources and experts are available for consultations and workshops to help educate and bridge any inclusivity gaps.
As you fine-tune and map out your business plan for 2022, keep these topics in mind. If you’re seeking to be more strategic with your digital marketing strategy, reach out and let’s see if we’re an aligned fit to partner together for your brand growth!