Please note that these are all personal opinions and do not represent my current employer’s viewpoints.
Good things come in threes, and consultants think in threes as well. So here are my three wishes for companies to adopt this year:
1. Ethical business partnerships with developing economies
I had the misfortune to come across this tone-deaf tweet just around Christmas time. I am sick and tired of my fellow Filipinos being treated this way. Further down the tweet thread, he makes some ignorant claims including that we have universal healthcare.
Yes it’s true we can have lower salaries compared to other countries because of the cost of living. But you don’t have to be so blatantly colonial about it. For crying out loud, it’s 2023!
If you are planning to outsource Filipinos for your startup, please do not be like this man! There are alternative models where you don’t have to be a jerk. In the long run, this will build a more sustainable global business environment based on mutual respect.
2. Clean up your data, reduce your emissions, lower your risk
A brilliant idea came to me a while back that I should work on a data management and strategy offering based on the Mari Kondo method of decluttering. Of course, a quick Google search revealed that several others already thought of it.
However, this is a good year to revive this concept and build on it. Not only will minimizing your data storage and use simplify your operations and reduce your costs, but it can also improve your carbon footprint. Less data = less energy.
I also believe that the small data concept will get bigger. Do we really need all the data we’re collecting? Not only is it a huge GDPR risk especially if it’s a company dealing with a lot of customer data, but there can be other compliance risks associated with not having an overview of your data. Especially with the upcoming AI Act where models and algorithms will be audited. Risky, unnecessary or biased parameters should not be used, and if the underlying data has no purpose then it should not be collected and stored to begin with.
3. Invest in people
Standard business advice while facing economic uncertainties, it may be tempting to start doing some workforce cuts like we’ve seen in 2022. Surely companies try to find creative solutions before doing anything drastic. It’s always better to plan ahead knowing the situation, rather than hitting the panic button when it’s too late.
Contrary to just saving money by stopping all external investments, it might actually pay off to spend in key areas strategically. Further education, training or upskilling current employees is something that will always pay off. Workplace analytics is another good discipline to build a foundation on as it can help companies measure and track work cultures.
Knowing where the problems are can lead to the right interventions being made to keep employees motivated, happy with work leading to increased productivity and innovation. Stress and pressure doesn’t necessarily increase creativity, but in a safe environment it will flourish. Find a way to bring more value, instead of relying on only budget cuts.