6th February 2020
By Sharmini Woodings, Managing Partner
People talk a lot about the impact of technology on businesses and their internal processes. But leaders should never overlook the power of their people, especially in terms of their knowledge and ability. Furthermore, human emotions are critical and necessary for success.
People talk a lot about the impact of technology on businesses and their internal processes. But leaders should never overlook the power of their people, especially in terms of their knowledge and ability.
That’s because there are simply some skills that machines, automation and artificial intelligence cannot emulate, at least for now. The perceived reach of new technology can quite understandably make many employees feel uneasy – ‘what if I am replaced by a machine?’
Business leaders must look to the future and assess what these changes actually mean in terms of new desirable skills. This does not mean that you need to replace staff. But, to reap the benefits of these advancements you need to take a closer look at the need for re-training and upskilling. Human emotions like empathy, active listening skills, and certain analytical or problem solving skills are critical and necessary for success.
The old adage that the successful leader surrounds himself with experts in their own fields remains true. Over and above the need to continually upskill and keep your existing teams ahead of the curve, the labour market is changing in its approach. The gig economy, for example, has arrived and is embraced by many. This new approach to work suits the lifestyles of many people. It also brings advantages to businesses. For example, in terms of hiring very specific expertise, which may only be needed in the short term.
However, businesses do have a responsibility to treat their staff fairly. Staff may desire more flexibility but consistency and channelling the key skills and knowledge that great teams possess remain vital. To attract and keep the best, businesses need to observe and, to a degree, adapt to different working patterns and priorities.
The way businesses operate is coming under increasing scrutiny. From how you treat your staff to the way you fulfil the expectations of your customers or clients.
This ‘accountability’ is often given the title ‘corporate social responsibility’. Regardless of what you call it, it should be an integral part of your business’ values and beliefs, shared with everyone.
The business that cares will know success on many levels as there is evidence that a business’ ethical conduct is highly influential. It affects the purchasing decisions of clients and customers, and their ability to hire and retain the best staff.
Continue to invest in your employees ensuring that their skills stay up-to-date. Provide effective leadership and direction and, if you can, opportunities, for staff to further their careers. A forward thinking approach will not only help your business to stay ahead of the curve. It will also enable it to be agile and to take advantage of new opportunities as soon as they arise.
Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss any aspect of this article or if you’d like any assistance – we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Sharmini is Wise & Co’s managing partner. She joined the firm in 1989 and became a tax partner in 1997. Sharmini specialises in providing owner managed businesses with strategic consultancy and tax advice. She takes a holistic approach to her clients, dovetailing their personal circumstances and future plans with the highly commercial business advice that she provides. Sharmini is a first class communicator, which is essential to delivering the high quality service that Wise & Co prides itself on.