Preparing for business recovery post-pandemic

Preparing for business recovery post-pandemic

As business looks to a post COVID-19 recovery, new technologies and workforce skills will be critical to driving productivity and ensuring resilience and competitiveness.

New technological skills and the future of work

The COVID-19 situation has given us a clear glimpse of the future of work, according to Associate Professor Victor Gekara who leads the Skills, Training and Industry Research Network in the College of Business.

The future of work was about advanced digital technologies; remote, flexible work arrangements; a digitally competent workforce; and highly sophisticated business interactions.

“Digital skills are no longer to be considered ‘nice to have’ but rather as a critical and essential business enabler,” he said.

Far too many Australian businesses still considered digital skills optional and the long-term delayed impact would be devastating.

“It is time Australia moved beyond talk of digital economy and embraced the more basic principles of a digital society.

“The strength of success of a digital economy lies in how digitally enabled the entire society is, otherwise it remains superficial.”

SMEs, family business, and organizational resilience

In today’s business environment many companies faced high levels of vulnerability and threats to their survival Professor of Family Business Entrepreneurship in the School of Management, Kosmas Smyrnios, warned.  

However, resilient organizations were more likely to be prepared and able to deal with these threats and challenges than their non-resilient counterparts.

“Our longitudinal research shows that resilience is a dynamic attribute that involves multiple capabilities operating at a number of levels within an organization, and at different times,” he said.

These capabilities could be adapted for new venture creation and should be supported.

“In line with the Job Keeper program, there is a role for the establishment of a tailored job creation scheme, where the Commonwealth Government provides specific financial support for new entrepreneurial formation.

“A government-led job creation scheme would foster independence and a sense of empowerment in individuals and communities, shifting away from dependency on handouts.

He said a Grameen Bank style program could play a key part in assisting small business to recover. 

Home delivered food

Digital solutions

COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of digital transformation globally, according to the School of Accounting PhD candidate, Geoffrey Mann.

With digital transformation racing ahead, no industry was immune.

“75% of today's S&P 500 will be replaced by 2027 due to the new digital landscape, placing additional pressure on firms to embrace and adapt to the digital world," he warned.

“However, pivoting like a start-up in times of change, has opened up new segments or revenue streams for companies that are currently experiencing an economic downturn."

He pointed to restaurants entering the grocery market, commercial airlines offering cargo flights, or gyms morphing into online workouts.

“The ability to be bold with new digital solutions will increase the divide between businesses expanding in the digital landscape to businesses being forgotten, with top economic performers like the Commonwealth Bank providing new digital offerings,” he said.

“Australian companies have only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital transformations, with just 3% of companies being future-ready.

He said this was due to Australia’s risk-averse culture or unwillingness to embrace a digital journey.

 

Story: Diana Robertson

 

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  • Future World of Work

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