MORE THAN two years after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, experts are seeing an asymmetrical or an uneven post-pandemic economic recovery. Not all countries are moving at the exact same speed toward economic recovery. Concrete government actions, including improvement of existing fiscal or monetary policies and programs to address high inflation, are needed. In the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, increased regional cooperation were cited by experts as one way to prevent a skewed economic recovery across APAC.
But while the government plays a pivotal role in leading the Philippine economy toward recovery and growth, businesses and even professional partnership play a part in achieving this goal.
AGILITY AND INNOVATION
The pandemic has tested the business community’s ability to survive; nonetheless, some companies have found a way not only survive but also thrive amidst the continuing pandemic effects. Some of the ingredients to pivot the company with cautious optimism are:
1. Listening to the changes in the needs of the customers
The needs and focus of customer have changed, the channels where customer are also have changed. Companies need to continue to become more relevant in creating value to the customers.
2. Being flexible in the need of the employees
News of the great resignation or the great talent reshuffle is felt by businesses. The expectations of employees i.e. hybrid and work from home arrangements, criteria of focus and sustainability when choosing companies, etc. continue to evolve brought with the shift of working generation and escalated by the pandemic scenario. As an opportunity, companies now can look at expanding talent geographically and taking in better talent. As a focus, strategic human capital and culture has now become a board agenda.
3. Reviewing and reinventing the business model
With the pandemic, companies are bound to look at the basics, i.e. cash flows, business continuity, reinforcement of the vision, mission, and purpose. At the same time, companies employ their creativity to actualize opportunities out of the situation. This may mean changes in the business models, exploring partnerships, and developing new services, products, or channels.
For example, entering into partnerships, where two companies contribute and raise bigger funds for operating expenses, does not only ensure greater financial strength for business. The economy will also benefit from positive business outcomes as a result of strategic partnerships because successful businesses create jobs and help the government generate more revenue.
In all these, companies need agility and resilience in pushing forward by creating opportunities themselves.
DIGITALIZATION AND TECHNOLOGY ADVANCEMENT
The fourth industrial revolution has been upon us even before the pandemic; nonetheless, the situation has allowed for greater reception and adoption of technology, has pushed for urgency in digital transformation in organizations, and has made itself indispensable in everyday life. The government, businesses, and other organizations have to continue going digital in improving processes, optimizing costs and revenues, and creating value to customers, stakeholders, and society. This is critical if we want the country to move forward and create a brighter future.
COLLABORATION AND SUPPORT
Different stakeholders have a role to play. The government is critical in developing policies and executing programs than can propel economic growth, encourage key growth sectors, support disadvantaged sectors, and create a stable and reliable economic environment. The business groups and the professional organizations have a role in advancing the needs of the business community and the people they represent and guiding them, as well as finding ways to communicate concerns to and [judiciously] support initiatives of the government. Businesses have a role as corporate citizens in contributing to society and environment. Collaboration and support of different stakeholders are needed to move forward faster and create prosperous future for the country.
THE IMPACT THAT WE HOPE FOR – GROWTH, SUSTAINABILITY AND INCLUSIVITY
Different stakeholders support the country’s growth. Businesses help the Philippine economy recover amid challenging times like this. Improved collaboration with the government and stakeholders, promotion of sustainability and inclusivity – all these are initiatives that can help us go beyond in ensuring continuous economic recovery and in inclusive and sustainable future.
Companies can likewise help accelerate the realization of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. An example is using technology and digitalization in reducing their carbon footprint. Through automation and digital processes that speed up work processes and lessen, for example, the number of product shipments which contribute to carbon emission, the carbon footprint of supple chains can be reduced. Remote or hybrid work arrangements, now considered the future of work, also reduce a company’s carbon footprint. These policies, on top of putting a premium on CSR initiatives, can contribute a lot in ensuring a sustainable future while still securing work productivity and business growth.
Grant Thornton’s 2022 Women in Business Report showed that the Philippines ranked third in the list of countries which recorded the highest number of women leaders in mid-sized firms. This figure is also in line with the average percentage of women in leadership roles across ASEAN.
While there remains a lot to be done in terms of breaking gender barriers and ensuring workplace parity, progress, no matter how small, is still progress. Businesses must continue to adopt a shift in mindset to make significant strides in addressing gender inequality in the workplace. Also part of bridging the gender gap is building more diverse and inclusive leadership teams.
As published in BusinessWorld, dated 10 August 2022