The last two years have been challenging for businesses and only the resilient and adaptable have thrived. Building on our previous research we wanted to see what these businesses are doing differently to the rest. We call them ‘Fit for the Future’ (FFTF) and were keen to understand how they have been managing business, technological and societal challenges during this time – and how the attributes and mindset of these companies are helping them succeed and outperform the competition.
Being ‘Fit for the Future’ requires a combination of traits that helps businesses stand apart from their competitors. By having a positive attitude towards change, being open to new technology and actively planning for their digital futures, these businesses understand how tech can solve business challenges and have roadmaps in place to transform the way they are working.
These businesses are proving that they are ‘Fit for the Future’ by not just reacting to change but embracing it. With an irrepressible drive to do better, they are helping to shape the future of business and society.
Primed for evolution
FFTF businesses are always evolving. By attacking challenges directly, FFTF businesses are primed to adapt and develop. The first to embrace transformative technologies, they take every opportunity in their stride.
Our Fit for the Future report found that an overwhelming majority of these businesses believed they were well-prepared for the risks facing them during the pandemic, compared to only two thirds of businesses overall, and 71% of FFTF businesses accelerated their digital transformation plans, compared to around half of businesses overall in the wake of the pandemic. This is thanks to increased budgets and prioritisation of the skills and tools needed to digitally transform.
The report has shown how important having a digital roadmap is to helping companies survive and thrive. 61% of businesses that are FFTF say they have a higher revenue than this time last year, less than half of businesses overall said the same. On top of this, when the London School of Economics analysed the research, it found that businesses who increase their FFTF score by ten points will increase the likelihood of outperforming the competition financially by 36%.
Being open to new technology and having a methodical approach to each step, will help businesses become FFTF. By focusing on which digital services and products best suit a company’s individual requirements will ensure businesses are getting real value and are prepared to combat future challenges. In addition, taking care to invest and educate employees on new technologies will not only help companies to improve their services but will also give them a valuable edge on their competition.
Ethical standing takes centre stage
To be fit for the future, businesses also need to ensure they are addressing sustainability. Customers are becoming more aware of how businesses conduct themselves and are expecting companies to take an ethical stance on societal matters, as well as innovate and produce in a more sustainable way.
69% of FFTF businesses believe that sustainability has become more of priority to their organisation during the pandemic compared to 59% of businesses overall. This shows they have their finger on the pulse of consumer priorities and understand the importance of taking a sustainable stance.
Flexibility now comes first
The pandemic not only started the digital transformation journey for many businesses, but it also caused the acceleration of flexible and remote working. Many businesses surveyed felt positive about the changes to ways of working and are looking to invest in technologies that make remote working not only possible but efficient too.
Due to many people having had a positive experience of working from home, employees are seeking more flexibility in their working patterns. Understanding and adapting to accommodate employees’ needs are crucial for retention and recruitment. To attract the right people, retain top talent, and develop a business into the future, companies must listen to and work with their teams, then take measured steps to show how their needs are being met.
At Vodafone Business, the future of hybrid working is based on employee listening, completed through regular pulse surveys. Creating a trust-based arrangement that allows teams to organise their days based around the nature of the work they have on rather than their location offers employees a better-balanced lifestyle and drives a more outcomes-based company culture.
Fit for the Future is a mindset
Despite the challenges all businesses have faced over the last 18 months, those who are fit for the future have adapted faster than the rest. These businesses are confident and well-prepared to address emerging trends, challenges and new possibilities.
‘Fit for the Future’ businesses are adapting to the new digital world faster than the rest and are more likely to step out of their comfort zone. By actively planning ahead and maintaining a positive attitude, businesses can create a mindset that enables their company to stay resilient during possible tough times ahead.
Any business can become ‘fit for the future’ – it begins by adopting an adaptable, open mindset and by focusing on the changes that will have the most impact for their business.