Future-Proofing Your Business in 2020

Entrepreneurs always hear about the new trends and technologies that could impact their industry in the years to come, and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. However, while it is essential to keep up with new changes, you don’t want to lose sight of the basics.

Whether it is enacting smart processes, retaining top talent, or securing the information of your customers, sticking with core principles will help your company can stay afloat no matter what comes around the bend. As a new year begins, revisit these steadfast tactics, so the big things are easier to handle.

Be Smart About Process Changes

If forecasting shows that new laws or technology will have a direct impact on your industry, then it is important to already have a system in place for how to handle potential process changes. Of course, the technical aspects must be ironed out along with any contingency plans if any new process fails. You will also want to have the right people in place to tackle prioritized tasks, so you are ready for action on day one.

Perhaps more important than laying out the technical details is ensuring that your workforce is ready for the new situation. People can often get set in their ways, and not everyone is as adaptable to change, so preparation should include how you will communicate the new initiative to the team.

Timing is critical when you make the announcement of any new process. If it is a complex change, you don’t want to lay it all out at once as it may be overwhelming, so consider telling them the main change at first and then roll out updates as you get closer to implementation. In any case, you will want to inform the employees ahead of time so they can ask any questions, and management can iron out any details.

Effective training is key during the period preceding the new rollout. Take ample time to create adequate training documentation. At large companies, management should be trained first, and they can instruct their teams.

Protect Customer Records

Regardless of your industry, protecting customer records will always be the main priority, whether that includes proper filing or having systems in place to prevent a data breach. Certain industries require that customer paperwork is filed for a predetermined amount of time. In general, it is the best business practice to keep financial records, employee performance reviews, and workplace incident reports for 5-7 years.

As the new year approaches, review and refine your records retention program to ensure that management understands the policies, and nothing is discarded prematurely. When the retention period does run its course, the paperwork must be properly destroyed. To ensure that paper records cannot be compromised, the documents should be shredded and then sent to a shredding facility for proper disposal.

Even the most diligent corporation is at risk of cybercrime, so proper precautions should be made to avoid unnecessary data loss. Your company needs backup servers that are maintained on a regular basis and separated from the main systems. All employee workstations must be password protected, and workers should be informed about current hacker tactics, including phishing emails.

Recruit and Retain Your Top Talent

High-quality employees are the life-blood of any organization. The best employees are adaptable to change and capable of taking on new roles so your business can continue to evolve. On the flip side, bad employees with poor work ethic can hurt your bottom line with unsatisfactory customer service and poor sales. Be ready for positive change by recruiting top talent during the early stages of 2020.

Start by creating engaging job descriptions that spell out precisely what the new positions will entail with clear candidate requirements, so you know exactly who will walk through the door. Make job postings known to your current staff and create a referral program so your best employees can refer to quality candidates that they can vouch for. When it comes to recruiting the best talent and retaining those you already have, the best tool in your corporate arsenal is a top tier benefits package.

Workers are no longer satisfied with free coffee and a holiday lunch every now and then. Instead, they want to work at a company that truly cares about their needs and allows for a healthy work-life balance. Benefit studies show that employees value flexible hours, paid maternity and paternity leave, and the chance to work from home over minor perks, so if your company can afford these advantages, then you could win the talent lottery. After you have lured them in, proper compensation and opportunity for advancement will keep them around for the long haul.

The basics described above are the cornerstones of a successful business. This strong foundation will allow your company to rise above any tech changes or unexpected curveballs and lead you through 2020 and beyond.

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