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Louise's column - The Year Ahead

2016 promises to be a year ripe with opportunities, yet there will be the inevitable obstacles to overcome.  What’s hot, is harnessing new technology and building mobile into marketing and branding strategies. According to Colin Foxall, Commercial Director of Nexus Creative in Worcester, “What we buy, what we book, what we see in a store, what we switch on and off at home, our banks, health monitors and much, much more will all be done increasingly  via our handset or even by our watch – if we haven’t done so already. Our businesses need to ensure that our digital presence is perfectly adapted to hand held devices.”

Currently the largest groups of individuals are people in their 20’s – otherwise known as Millennials. This group require quick, immediate interaction via mobile devices and it is expected to significantly impact the way businesses approach customer engagement in 2016.

Despite all the technology available to us, human connections and building relationships – particularly in niche areas will be important if we want to create any kind of brand loyalty in an environment where multiple options are available to all.

 

Businesses can expect more scrutiny from their customers. Customers have high expectations and expect speedy responses and real fairness to any complaints, particularly through social media which demand immediate response.

Mike Ashton CEO of the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce reports that business is generally positive in our area in 2016, with some investments, new builds and expansions into new markets all helping. “Partnership is the key to providing the much needed support for businesses and developing solutions to the recognised skills gaps.”

Continued growth in hiring looks set to characterise 2016 with 86% of employers saying they will take on permanent staff according to the REC.

However, hiring will become more difficult, especially for skilled jobs.  There will also be major challenges around the corner for some organisations with the introduction of the National Living Wage and uncertainty around the EU referendum outcome.

Ensuring our existing workforce is happy and fulfilled and valued will not only increase productivity, but creating a ‘happiness culture’ as part of our employer brand strategy will help to retain the talent within your business.  Holding on to good people and acquiring the talent for the future is one of the biggest challenges facing us all.

 



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