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Rethinking our ways of working
The way that we collaborate has been reshaped by the events of 2020, and how we work together must be rethought in 2021.
Research conducted by Forrester found that the number of people working remotely, permanently, is likely to settle at three times pre-pandemic levels. It will therefore be interesting to see how our ways of working evolve. With this in mind, I believe that the employee experience should have a sharper focus in 2021 - after all, how we work is shaped by our people.
Competition between organisations for talent will undoubtedly increase as work becomes more location independent. We must make our companies attractive to candidates world-wide, and foster strong communities at work, where our people feel valued. For instance, at Sherpany, we use Slack to share team updates, show appreciation, and collaborate remotely. 78% of our team of more than 130 people works from home in one of the six cities where we have offices, while the remaining 22% works remotely all of the time. Yet, regardless of physical distance, we all feel part of one team.
Customer-centricity: Feeding more than just the bottom line
In 2021, I expect to see shifts in the way that businesses connect with their customers. Customer-centricity needs to become more than just a buzzword - organisations need to live it.
Fostering customer-centricity not only increases retention and feeds the bottom line, but it also enables companies to learn from customer needs and partner with them to find better solutions. This helps refine products and services and forge deeper relationships with customers.
At Sherpany, our dedicated Customer Success Managers spend all of their time advising customers and finding new and innovative ways to make their meetings more productive. One such example is the use of our Azend® framework, free of charge, which guides organisations and their leadership teams towards productive meetings.
Feedback taking centre-stage
2021 is definitely a year of reflection and analysis, embracing the learning opportunities of the pandemic, and making changes accordingly. In order to make the most of these opportunities, organisations need to commit to listening.
For example, at Sherpany, we listen to our employees through monthly surveys, regular talks, as well as through virtual coffee chats, which happen across hierarchies and departments. We listen to customers through our Product Board, Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) ratings. All of this helps identify areas of improvement as well revealing our successes.
Feedback is also central to improving meetings. For this reason, we launched a free Meeting Assessment App in January, to help organisations collect vital feedback and begin improving their meetings.
Future-proofing our businesses
Another trend that I expect to see is a greater focus on tools that support business continuity. The events of last year revealed weaknesses in many businesses' armour, and these need to be strengthened.
Security is one such example. Over the course of a few decades, we have evolved from storing our corporate information in physical filing cabinets, to on-premise servers, to personal computers, to the cloud. While infrastructure and technology can help to mitigate risks, we ultimately place a great deal of responsibility in the hands of our employees.
Cybersecurity is no longer just a concern for a Chief Information Officer or IT team - with people now working remotely, we need to recognise and overcome the security risks that are associated with distributed teams. In 2021, I believe we will see an increase in the adoption of tools that protect organisations' most sensitive information.
As meetings often rely on confidential information, they are especially vulnerable. It is therefore imperative that meeting materials are kept in a secure way and that access is given appropriately. This is a key challenge that Sherpany helps to overcome.