Planning Business Change for the Next Standard After COVID-19

After COVID-19, the economic landscape will change dramatically, so companies should plan now for the next standard in the business world.

Some may contend that there will be no “next standard” at all, but most evidence suggests that the world will not be returning to the same normal we once knew.

For instance:

  • Digital technology has made major progress in several areas
  • The financial downturn will have an irreversible impact on a number of countries around the world
  • The psychological impact will likely shape people’s perceptions and behaviors for years to come

Effects such as these will reshape the world in many ways.

Though they will not radically change life from the ground up, many researchers strongly suspect that we will not return to a new normal. 

Instead, we will enter into what McKinsey calls “the next normal.”

To properly prepare for that era, business leaders must first understand what the post-pandemic age will look like.

The Next Standard After COVID-19: A New Business Landscape

The coronavirus pandemic rapidly transformed from a health crisis into a financial crisis.

Not only do analysts predict that this financial crisis will be the worst of our lifetimes, many suggest that the crisis will fundamentally transform the world.

McKinsey, for instance, claims that:

  • People’s expectations will permanently shift, as customers, employees, and as citizens
  • Governments’ role in public health and the economy will become more prominent
  • The competitive landscape will be forever changed
  • Organizations will need to make significant reforms to survive and succeed in the post-viral age

Though the future is unwritten and uncertain, historical patterns can offer insight into future trends. And most analyses performed by leading research firms all come to the same conclusion: the current crisis will irrevocably reshape the global economy.

Business leaders should keep the aforementioned predictions in mind when developing their business strategies.

5 Strategic Priorities for the Post-Viral Era

Below, we will look at five important areas that companies should incorporate into their post-pandemic business plans:

1. Organizational change management

To keep up in the fast-paced digital age, organizational change management has become essential for the modern enterprise. 

Staying relevant and competitive in the digital era, after all, requires ongoing innovation and adaptation.

However, in the coming months and years, we can expect even more disruption and economic change. 

In such circumstances, change management, which dedicates itself to coordinating and executing organizational change programs, would be a very wise investment indeed.

2. Agility

Agile became well-known as an approach to software development, but it has been applied to a wide variety of other business functions, such as manufacturing and change management.

In general, agile processes emphasize concepts such as:

  • User-centricity
  • Frequent stakeholder collaboration
  • Responsiveness
  • Solutions that are useful, usable, and relevant

Like lean, agile aims to reduce waste, increase performance, and enhance adaptability.

In the post-COVID era, that adaptability will become an essential survival tool, allowing companies to enact change, innovate, and stay relevant.

3. Digital adoption

Digital adoption refers to the full integration of digital tools into a work environment or day-to-day workflow.

The more digitally mature a business becomes, the more crucial it is to have a digital adoption strategy.

Digital adoption strategies have several aims:

  • Onboarding and training employees as efficiently as possible
  • Minimizing software frustration while maximizing engagement
  • Improving software proficiency and productivity
  • Shortening the adoption timeline of software
  • Increasing product value and software ROI

A well-structured digital adoption program can positively impact all of these areas, especially when using the right tools.

Digital adoption platforms (DAPs), for instance, offer automated, in-app training, improving the software experience and user productivity.

4. Organizational culture

Many experts acknowledge the impact that organizational culture has on organizational performance, the work environment, organizational change, innovation, and more.

Organizational culture change may not be an easy endeavor, but there are several reasons to consider adapting the company culture:

  • Culture, as mentioned, impacts organizational performance across several dimensions
  • Organizational culture can hinder change in certain circumstances
  • Certain cultural traits are more suitable for the modern business world than others

Every business culture should be unique, and there is no such thing as a “perfect” organizational culture.

In today’s business environment, however, certain traits can be very beneficial.

For instance:

  • Data-driven cultures will understand and implement data in their everyday workflows
  • Cultures that prize learning, change, and innovation will be more adaptable and resilient
  • Digital cultures will be more technologically savvy and they will adopt new tools more easily

Long-term cultural shifts can be effected through talent management, training, communication strategies, and more.

See our change management blog for more on this topic.

5. Organizational resilience

Future-proofing the business for the next normal requires a multi-faceted strategy that, among other things, builds organizational resilience.

During the first few months of the crisis, many businesses came to realize firsthand the importance of business continuity and crisis management.

Organizational resilience, however, takes this concept several steps further.

An organizational resilience framework emphasizes the need for business continuity management, as well as other important disciplines, such as:

  • Risk management
  • Cybersecurity
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Human resources
  • Financial health and viability
  • Organizational behavior

A comprehensive organizational resilience program will significantly improve a company’s ability to survive business disruptions – and, more importantly, emerge successful after those crises end.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.