We live in an era of disruption in which global trends are effectively changing the way we live and work. As such, the landscape is perpetually morphing and businesses are at risk of going under should they not adapt quickly. It’s not a matter of sustaining physical operations either – consumers, investors, governments, and communities may assess companies on the way they respond to a particular disruption, which adds to the complexity of the situation and the urgency to find and implement solutions.

If you wish to stay ahead of the curve, understanding your key disruptors and the viable solutions to navigate the changing landscape is vital. Read more to understand a few of such disruptors and gain ideas on how to best navigate them.

Global Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted economic activity and led to both demand and supply shocks to the global economy, Singapore included. The scale of the disruption has been largely unprecedented – supply chains have been severely impacted, consumer-facing sectors have been affected by the cutback in domestic consumption and international travels, businesses have to reassess their manpower to balance costs, and more. The list is seemingly endless.

However, all is not lost. Companies that  have recognised the importance of the digital space and made the shift decisively are more likely to have fared better than their counterparts. Such flexibility in business methodology is also crucial in the workplace. Apart from the shift to remote work, businesses have also been adapting by changing their business strategies. For instance, to make use of the down time more optimally, businesses can be proactive in sending their employees to retraining programmes where they can upgrade their skills and take up a job position that has been redesigned to meet the demands of a post-COVID economy. This way, employees are ready to take on new opportunities for their companies when the economy takes off. Businesses can leverage the numerous support schemes put in place by the government to support this journey. Consider looking into programmes such as the Enhanced Training Support for SMEs (ETSS), Career Support Programme Programme (CSP), Enhanced Training Support Package (ETSP), and Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) to get started.

Changing Globalisation Patterns with Rapid Growth in Data Flows

COVID-19 or otherwise, there has been a rise in trade pullbacks and protectionist measures. In spite of the increasing nationalistic sentiments, globalisation has continued to move forward by shifting its focus to be more data-centric. Cross-border data flows have grown by a factor of 45 in the past decade, and they are projected to increase significantly in the coming years. Digital media platforms, online marketplaces, and social networks have created efficient global markets with a huge base of potential customers and built-in ways for businesses to reach them.

Companies now have unprecedented opportunities to achieve both global scale and efficiency, but to realise them is a different ball game. Flexibility is once again key in securing such opportunities. Businesses will need to first understand the new competitive landscape in order to tweak their global footprint and organisational structures. Be sure to sharpen product strategies for a more digitally connected world and don’t be afraid to hire specialised talent to help you achieve your newfound goals. This sharpened understanding would guide successful organisations’ talent and development programmes, enabling employees to upskill and reskill to grow alongside the business.

Technological Progress Is Accelerating

The world is going digital, and it has been for quite some time. We have moved past advanced analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to welcome the next wave of innovation: advanced automation and artificial intelligence (AI). An explosion in algorithmic capabilities, computing capacity, and data have accelerated how businesses deliver newer and better products and services that appeal to their customers.

As technology is constantly evolving, it is increasingly important that businesses grow in tandem. This will usually entail constant improvements and overall changes to the existing system and structures. In order to attract and retain talent, job redesign and skill upgrading is essential.

Older workers boast a wealth of experience and knowledge, and are well placed to support the growth trajectory of their companies. Through progressive practices that build trust and facilitate collaboration within a diverse workforce, companies can remain resilient and ride the innovation wave  Consider looking at the Job Redesign Grant, Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant (SW EAG), and Enhanced Hiring Incentive to find out more about how the government is incentivising companies to leverage the value of our silver workforce. 

Make The Pledge

As we move forward, it is essential that we do so together as a community. Our employees are our valued assets and are critical to our success. It is thus important to create a trusted working space where your employees are appreciated and compensated fairly. By implementing fair and progressive practices in the workplace, businesses enjoy sustainable long-term growth and do their part in creating a more caring and inclusive society.

The SBF Sustainable Employment (SE) initiative calls on the Singapore business community to take purposeful action to improve their SE practices in anticipation of emergent trends and future developments. The initiative was launched with a report that highlights key recommendations and potential opportunities for businesses to take on, in order to achieve long term business success and foster a vibrant economy and inclusive society.

Make the pledge to join others in this journey.