Vodafone focuses on 'future ready' business attributes

Social responsibility, sustainability and purpose remain essential as consumers demand clearer commitments.

Today’s leading businesses are adaptable, people and purpose focused, according to a major new study from Vodafone Business. The report identifies the attributes of the most resilient ‘future ready’ organisations and their responses to common business challenges before, during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

Making up 20% of all companies, ‘future ready’ businesses (FRBs) can be identified by six unifying characteristics, including adaptability, an openness to technology, and clear transformation goals.

The Covid-19 crisis has been one of the biggest business disrupters since the 1930s, yet businesses displaying ‘future ready’ characteristics are more confident they will continue to succeed:

  • 30% of FRBs expect an increase in profits during Covid-19.
  • 57% of FRBs expect their profits to increase over the next five years, compared to 45% of all businesses.

Vinod Kumar, CEO, Vodafone Business said:“Covid-19 has forced rapid change for everybody. However, some businesses are better prepared to deal with the issues that have arisen, and we want to help all organisations understand what they can do to match these ‘future ready’ companies.”

Employees have taken centre stage, particularly for FRBs:

  • 44% of all businesses now prioritise employee wellness and mental health, up 10 percentage points since before Covid-19, but for FRBs this is at 77%.
  • 90% of FRBs reported supporting their employees further during the pandemic.

Societal attitudes and consumer expectations have changed, and businesses have moved to focus on ethical behaviours or to find a purpose beyond their core offering:

  • During Covid-19 81% of organisations reported taking some form of action to support those outside their business, compared to 94% of FRBs.
  • 46% of all businesses (compared to 58% of FRBs) wanted to support their country or local community, a shift from the reasons given before the current crisis. These centred on differentiating the business (41%, compared to 46% of FRBs) and customer retention (55%, compared to 62% of FRBs).

Covid-19 has proven that work can be done differently and from anywhere. Businesses need to adapt to this new way of working in order to survive:

  • 71% of FRBs already made at least one new technology investment in direct response to the pandemic.
  • 44% of FRBs surveyed expect that greater flexibility in where people work will persist after the pandemic is over.
Vinod Kumar continued: “Industries that hadn’t embraced technology are seeking to move swiftly into digitalisation. We want to help companies move quickly into this new era of working, supporting them in becoming smarter, faster and more resilient, but not at the cost of their humanity.”

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