Three Defining Business Themes for 2021 and Beyond

As a business owner and CEO, I’ve always made it a priority to be as informed as possible about as many issues as possible that impact our industry, company, and customers. I’ve doubled down on those efforts during the pandemic, especially by spending a lot of time talking with clients, colleagues, candidates, board members, peers, and business partners to make sure we fully understand their situations and that our company is serving them well.

Through those recent conversations about current conditions and future outlooks, as well as my own perspectives, three consistent themes have emerged to define today’s business environment.

1. Optimism. The first, optimism, is far-reaching. People are feeling optimistic about the economy, their business, and their opportunities.

These sentiments are seen in national surveys as well. The Business Roundtable’s Q1 2021 CEO Economic Outlook Index was up 21 points from Q4 2020, for example, while an article in Chief Executive about a poll it conducted in April indicated that CEO confidence in business conditions 12 months from now reached its highest level since May 2018.

While businesses continue to face challenges and uncertainty because of COVID-19, legislative policy issues, cybersecurity threats, and more, there’s clearly a solid and growing sense of optimism.

2. Resolve. The second theme, resolve, reflects a strong determination and focus to achieve normalcy, whatever that looks like at a particular company. For us, one priority has been to move toward more in-person meetings among staff and customers. The thinking is that when these types of meetings can be done safely and people are comfortable, there are times when in-person provides significant benefits and advantages over meetings that take place as calls or teleconferences.

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3. Adaptability. The third theme is adaptability. While this attribute has always been the hallmark of a successful company, it’s more important than ever that your business is able to quickly change course and make adjustments in response to external conditions. The need to pivot could be driven by an unplanned event such as the pandemic or a more gradually-developing circumstance such as a customer market that will decline significantly over the next year.

There are plenty of stories online about how companies adapted and survived over the last 12 months. At TalentBridge, we pivoted by making several changes to how we operated that enabled us to both make it through the past year and position ourselves for a strong future. The biggest pivot was going to all remote work in just a few days.

A business strategy that makes us adaptable is consistently diversifying our portfolio, both in terms of the services we provide and the markets we serve. We regularly take a 360-degree view of our clients’ businesses, including industry outlook, HR trends and skillset needs, to ensure we have the capabilities to deliver the right resources and solutions they need today and tomorrow.

We also annually look at the verticals our customers operate in to understand whether the market is projected to grow, hold steady, or shrink. Similarly, we assess sectors we don’t currently serve to determine if there are ones we should move into and develop expertise. This “mutual fund” approach of consistently diversifying our offerings has helped us adapt and grow over the years.

The US economy is expected to grow as we move through 2021. Businesses buoyed by optimism, resolve, and adaptability are in the best position to reap the benefits.

Tom Ioele

Tom Ioele
Thomas C. Ioele is chief executive officer of TalentBridge, a staffing, recruiting, and talent management company with multiple locations serving clients and candidates throughout the US.

Tom Ioele

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