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5 Things Successful Companies will be doing in 2016

and why you should too . . .

Posted on December 04, 2015

Let’s be honest, the business world of 2015 is vastly different than that of 2000. Over the last 15 years industry has gone through tumultuous ups and downs - from terrorism at home to the boost of the housing bubble, the businesses that are thriving and surviving all have one thing in common: grit.

What is grit? It’s the ability to survive under adverse conditions, to scale-back and become creative in re-thinking how to succeed when the cards are stacked against you. Businesses that have been able to channel-focus on priorities, engagement and operating a nimble team have been able to ride the wave and will continue to do so in the future.

So, what is it that these “gritty” and nimble businesses will be doing in 2016 that you should be doing too?


1. Connecting with Customers

Customers care now more than ever about the businesses they choose to patronize. The 21st Century consumer wants to feel needed and valued - knowing their purchase is supporting a brand or company they have a connection with. This is different than the old sales mentality of providing a product or service and people purchasing because it was available.

Consider, for instance, some of the top companies of 2015 and their strategies for connecting with customers:

  • Uber, a taxi cab service that owns no taxis - they operate on connecting entrepreneurial drivers with people who need a ride.
  • AirBnB provides more short-term accommodations than any other hotel chain in the US, but they don’t own one piece of real estate.
  • Facebook, the world’s most utilized social media platform, generates no original content, they simply provide a platform on which people can connect.

Giving your customers the ability to better connect with your employees and brand is going to be essential in 2016 and beyond.


2. Embracing Millennials. They aren’t going anywhere. Deal with it.

This is a bitter pill to swallow for anyone accustomed to how business “used to be done.” A new generation of employees will now be responding to job posts and filling your open roles, whether you like it or not. As Baby Boomers retire, you can wave goodbye to your workforce of employees who put their head down, did their jobs and were happy to do so.

Sounds awful, right? Maybe not.

THEY’RE JOB HOPPERS! While the Millennial generation has gotten a bad rap for job hopping, being flaky or entitled, all of these qualities can greatly benefit your company (and will whether you like it or not). Millennials will soon make up more than 75% of the job market, they have options and they know it. Job hopping is not done out of disloyalty, but out of finding new opportunities - provide opportunities for your team to challenge themselves, and they are more likely to stay.

THEY’RE ENTITLED! The Millennial mindset is not one of entitlement, but of a desire for growth. They want to grow their career and add to their skillset. Giving your employees the freedom to take more responsibility, learn a new part of the business or take on that new role keeps them motivated and willing to succeed. This can hugely benefit your business as now, instead of having a workforce of people who each have a very specific skillset you can have many employees with a wide range of skills. Having a well-balanced team of cross-trained employees breaks down communication barriers and business silos, and increases the opportunity for innovation.

THEY DON’T VALUE OUR GREAT BENEFITS! Your company may offer a fantastic 401k plan, health and vision insurance and two weeks paid vacation, but that is no longer enough to reign in the Millennial prospect. Just as consumers want more of a connection with their brand, so too do employees. Millennials want to feel that the work they do has meaning beyond just coding for a website or filling out spreadsheets. They want to feel that the work they put in every day is impacting a greater cause beyond themselves. This can provide an immense opportunity for your customer relationships to succeed. If your team finds value in helping your customers win, they will be more engaged and satisfied in their roles.


3. Playing to Their Strengths

No one likes to fail, and those who are failing do not want to be reminded of it. However, traditional management and performance reviews seem to negate these facts. Until recently, most companies practiced something coined the “Annual Performance Review” which, at first glance would indicate that a holistic representation of one’s performance was going to be reviewed for both the positive and negative. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

The traditional performance review is often structured in a way that focuses on helping employees to overcome their weaknesses. Focusing on someone’s failures, rather than successes, misses a crucial opportunity to monopolize on an employee’s natural strengths. People are not motivated by negative reinforcement. The threat of job loss or repercussion more often than not will cause an employee to become actively disengaged and resentful of leadership. However, focusing on an employee’s strengths can increase productivity, engagement and results.


4. Having a Little Fun

The average human attention span is eight seconds, this has decreased by four seconds over the last 15 years. That’s pretty scary as goldfish have an attention span at nine seconds. . .

Thanks to our ability to have information constant and on-demand, we no longer have to read an entire news article to get the important information. When we need an answer to a question, we don’t have to pull out an Encyclopedia Brittanica, we Google it and 10 seconds later have the solution. Because of this, companies have to be impactful very quickly.

One easy way to hold your prospects’ attention, is to have some fun with them. Gamification, or the process of turning a desired action into a game, has become increasingly popular with the adoption of application based technology. Popular traffic app Waze rewards its users with points that mean nothing, and yet people are still excited about racking up their miles and collecting “road goodies.” Dunkin Donuts recently released a new app that rewards users with discounts on coffee and doughnuts for collecting points, referring a friend and posting on social media.

This gamification process increases immediate and long-term engagement with consumers. Making an every-day task (like buying a coffee) more fun will increase the chances that they will return to your coffee chain over another brand. People like doing things that are fun and enjoyable, and odds are better than not that if you don’t make your industry more engaging, one of your competitors will.


5. Educating the Masses

The most successful companies will be those that proactively educate their prospects. Consumers now do more research before a purchase than ever before. Is it because they care more about the pillow, television or piece of furniture they are looking to buy than before? Maybe, maybe not. But, for the first time ever this information is readily available to them. From the swipe of their smartphone screen, consumers can search everything they want to know about your product, brand, competition, price, etc. Today’s buyer wants to feel well informed and confident in their purchase, and because that information is so easy to access, why not search your competitors benefits?

So, what can you do about it?

Educate. Provide your consumers with the information that they’re looking for, and save them the step. Creating impartial places for other consumers to rate and review your product, will instill more confidence in your brand. Tell your customers all about your strengths, but be candid about where you aren’t strong.

For instance, we provide a fantastic employee engagement platform - it can survey your employees, provide a place for idea suggestion and innovation, it increases collaboration with your team, it’s very easy to use and there are even a few gamification features (see #4).

BUT, while we are great at getting your team trained, up and running with the platform, and we provide plenty of support to keep the tool running smoothly, we can’t fix your culture. We are not management consultants, we make no guarantee that if you have a rocky relationship with your team, Vocoli will make all of those problems go away and all of your dreams come true. See? Candid. Know your strengths, and educate prospective clients about them, but be straightforward about what services you don’t provide . . . your clients will thank you in the long run.

2016 can easily be a great year for your business and your brand, and following these 5 tips will help. And if your company is in need of better innovation, idea management or engagement, then it’s time to give the Vocoli team a call. . . but not management consulting, because we don’t do that (see #5).


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