Looking forward to 2023
As 2022 draws to a close, we all know the future continues to look uncertain.
There is little doubt that for many 2023 will present challenges in our personal and professional lives. Yet there has been a positive change and shift in focus that I believe will gather pace and accelerate in 2023 and the years ahead.
It will be reflected in the way we do business with each other and how we interact with the companies and organisations that underpin our society. It is something that will shape our economy for generations to come, creating businesses that are better for the people they employ, the communities where they operate, and our planet.
It is captured in three words – resilience, people and purpose. Let me explain what I mean.
The experiences of the past three years are creating more resilient businesses and resourceful business leaders. That is to be celebrated.
Successful businesses and individuals have learnt to embrace change and to quickly pivot. It has changed the way we work, and whilst that has been unsettling for some of us, it has made the lives of many of us more flexible, productive and fulfilling. For example, working parents now find it easier to take children to school and to be there when they return. Others can flex to attend social or leisure activities during the day or work from home to enable deliveries or progress home improvements. Work is increasingly fitting around family or personal life.
Yet as high inflation and the cost-of-living crisis brings with it the shadow of recession, that will once again test businesses’ ability to adapt further. Business leaders are, however, now better placed than perhaps at any time in our history to make more informed decisions drawing upon the vast amounts of easily accessible data at their fingertips and be able to act more quickly. Business leaders will not need reminding that those decisions should be human-led and be careful not to rush important decisions.
This will, of course, require strong leadership, guiding people and businesses through the immediate challenges whilst creating the foundations for tomorrow. Transparency at the top with meaningful communication is key. Recognise that you may not have all of the answers and listen to the many voices inside your organisation. Consult others, scenario and contingency plan.
Effective leaders will want to empower their people, building self-sufficient teams that can drive forward change, increase productivity and innovate. A more rewarding workplace will evolve.
It is a much over-used cliché, but people are the greatest asset a business has. Without them, businesses won’t exist or will quickly collapse. Yet with four generations in many workplaces, with differing and evolving views, it is perhaps not surprising that what we want from the workplace is changing. Employers must find a way to balance what can at first appear conflicting demands. Just as the way we work has changed over the past three years, businesses will need to continue to embrace further changes in 2023 and beyond.
That may require radical changes to the way businesses approach recruitment, perhaps a simpler and more transparent process. It will require changes in how businesses retain their employees and approach career development, with social capital at its heart.
A flatter and less linear corporate structure is emerging, with those entering the workplace for the first time continuing to learn from their more experienced colleagues but, importantly, those in senior roles learning from their younger colleagues. They have much to offer and we ignore them at our cost.
Whilst difficult decisions will undoubtedly be needed, businesses must continue to invest in their people to attract and retain the very best talent.
How a business interacts with its people, suppliers, communities, and the environment is increasingly under the spotlight. Culture and values, and the fundamental purpose of a business will need to be front and centre.
Whilst profit and a return for shareholders are, of course, important, businesses need to look beyond the bottom line and financial measures. There are many good reasons to do so.
For many, that journey will start with their impact on the environment and the communities in which they live and work. The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a good global guide to how individuals and businesses can become more responsible stewards of peace and prosperity for people and the planet.
Customers, clients and businesses want, and often, require suppliers and companies they purchase goods and services from to share their same values. They are increasingly looking to buy from companies that treat their people, suppliers and the planet in a way that shows respect and compassion.
Being driven by a strong sense of purpose also creates a strong employer brand. Employees want to work for employers who do the right thing, that treat the environment, businesses in their supply chains, and their staff, in a sustainable and ethical way.
This needs to be more than just words. It needs to be authentic and demonstrated. We are alive more than ever to greenwashing.
Our journey has seen Kreston Reeves define its purpose as ‘guiding our clients, colleagues and communities to a brighter future’. It is helping shape the way we interact with each other, suppliers, regulators, our communities, and, of course, you, our clients and contacts. We have decided to focus on and hold ourselves accountable against four of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Good health and wellbeing’, ‘Quality education’, ‘Reduced inequalities’ and ‘Climate action’.
We are not blind to the challenges that face all of us in 2023, but every new year presents us with new challenges and during times of change and challenge we often find opportunity. I firmly believe that we are growing into a more compassionate and aware society. The alternative is no longer an option.
As always, we are all in this together. Everyone at Kreston Reeves wishes you a great festive break and a happy and healthy new year for 2023.
As always, if there is anything we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Related news and insights
Subscribe to our newsletters
Our complimentary newsletters and event invitations are designed to provide you with regular updates, insight and guidance.
You can unsubscribe from our email communications at any time by emailing [email protected] or by clicking the 'unsubscribe' link found on all our email newsletters and event invitations.