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Business leaders know that access to reliable data is vital to sound decision making. Over the years, gathering and making sense of data has become an increasingly important aspect of business operations.  Terms like “big data” have emerged, as have new jobs in areas such as data management and data analytics.  While data is key at any time, it is never more critical than in a time of difficulty or crisis — whether that relates to the organization itself or society at large. That’s why, as we enter 2021, still caught up in a global pandemic, a keen focus on data will be especially important.

Using Data to Adapt to Customer Needs

In March, when COVID-19 hit the majority of us to a greater or lesser extent, businesses had to turn on a dime to recalibrate and survive. Decision-makers were faced with an unprecedented situation in which they had to quickly resolve how to continue to provide products and services to their customers when many, if not all of their employees and supply chain partners were in a total lockdown. During the last nine months, executives have had to pivot time and again as fresh data revealed the latest insight about what customers and prospects want, expect, and are prepared to do differently during a time of crisis.

It didn’t take long for organizations to realize that when the pandemic is over, a return to normal is not to be had.  We are approaching a “new normal” now, in which businesses will continue to capitalize on the key learnings from COVID-19.  For example, many have discovered that not all their employees need to be based at the worksite to be effective. The cost savings from reducing office space by enabling employees to work from home can be significant. Others are ramping up their digital transformation strategy to ensure that should there be another pandemic, they’ll be ready.  Another positive arising from this awful situation is that many businesses who were forced to do things differently just to stay afloat found more efficient or cost-effective ways to do things which they’ll be sticking with long after the pandemic has passed.

In the coming months, as vaccines are made available and the outbreak of COVID-19, hopefully, subsides, we will be entering another unprecedented period of uncertainty — recovery.  We must keep a keen eye on data as it relates to the wants and expectations of our customers, the activities of competitors, and the larger economy, as this new situation unfolds.

Using Data to Understand Employee Engagement

While customer and competitive data are important, so is data that relates to employees.  How are they coping with the new way of working?  Are they happy to be working from home, or struggling with feelings of isolation? Have their working relationships suffered because they are physically distanced from their teammates? Relationship challenges in the workplace impact productivity and employee morale and must be addressed quickly.  Gathering information from employees and taking steps to resolve any issues will be essential to your businesses’ full recovery.  Ensure employees know who to go to for help, including how to access your Employee Assistance Program, if available.  As well, ensure they have the opportunity to provide candid feedback on work-related issues, ideally anonymously, so you get an accurate view of the pulse of the organization and employee engagement.

As IT advances, data gathering and interpreting tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and most large organizations have enormous amounts of stored data. It’s incumbent on business leaders to know what information is available to them to utilize and to make a case for new types of data being sourced if they feel it will benefit the company.

Forge Coaching & Consulting helps business leaders, teams, and individuals resolve problems and achieve their full potential through workshops and one-on-one coaching.  Our workshop, Building Communication Bridges with Style, gets to the root cause of most workplace relationship issues; misunderstandings and poor communication.  Connect with us at (1) 905 873 9393.

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