The past couple years have had a dramatic impact on the way we do business. As we look to the future, our priorities have shifted and our perspective has changed. From the global Covid-19 pandemic to smaller incidents such as the Suez Canal blockage, we now know how important a local supply chain and risk management are to business. 

This coincided with a cultural revolution, with people re-evaluating their attitudes alongside their consumer habits. ESG has never been more important. Younger investors are choosing to buy stocks in ethical companies that prioritise the environment.

So, what does this mean for the future of governance? Time will tell, but here are 10 of our predictions for what will take priority in the coming years.

 

1. Re-evaluation Of Risk Management:

As mentioned, the worst-case scenarios have continued to show up again and again during the pandemic. What if global travel was suspended for months? What if the Suez Canal was blocked for days on end? What if Reddit users coordinated to buy GameStop Stock and bankrupt Hedge Funds? All of these events seemed improbable in November 2019.

Good governance now means planning for every possible scenario and having genuine incident management plans for every high-level risk. This may also mean re-evaluating which risks are “unlikely”, especially with growing concerns over the evolution of Coronavirus. You should also consider clearly defining your Key Performance Indicators when it comes to Risk Management. 

 

2. Hybrid Working:

The most pressing risk for most of your employees right now is Coronavirus. Despite the Government encouraging a return to the office, there are still many that would prefer to continue working from home. 

There are reasons to support working from home beyond Covid concerns. Some organisations have found that their employees are more productive when they are remote. The safety of your office and frontline workers should be your priority, but if there’s an added bonus of productivity then it is worth considering your future working model. 

With the development of technology, it is time to take advantage and ensure you have streamlined your processes as much as possible. 

Hybrid working can also save you money on office space and supplies, it also makes the most of your company’s investment on remote working capabilities during the lockdowns. A lot of organisations have purchased desks, laptops, or other home office equipment for their employees during the pandemic. Hybrid working ensures your company is economical. 

 

3.Renewed Focus On ESG:

The pandemic has forced everyone to slow down and reflect on their life choices. Once the pandemic job concerns fade, we are facing potentially the biggest wave of resignations ever. One way an organisation can prevent this is to shift their priorities to align with their employees' new needs. 

This requires a company to perform an internal review of the ESG practices. This is good for retaining employees as well as improving your company’s standing. Younger inventors are choosing to spend their money in ethical companies 

4. Sustainability:

In a similar vein to the renewed focus on ESG, there is also a need to be sustainable. This is both in environmental practices as well as economics.

The market can be volatile. In the past few decades alone we have seen a recession, a growth, a pandemic, climate disasters all impact the way we do business. It is more important than ever that any growth is sustainable. This does not mean avoiding all risks, but being sensible with the risks you do take. Do not bank everything on one decision!

This also means ensuring your practices are sustainable. Having a low carbon footprint and using technology wherever possible should be a priority! 

 

5. Board Diversity:

Part of the cultural revolution that has occurred is the recognition that diversity breeds innovation. Having a range of opinions, experiences and career progressions at the top level sets the culture for the rest of the organisation. 

This requires an active change in hiring practices. It is important to not recruit a Board Member because they feel familiar but rather to consider what they can bring to the table. 

Accessibility also plays a key role. If a Board is not accessible then it limits itself. Consider what technology you have in play that caters to people with different needs. If you fall short of what would be required, you should quickly update your existing systems.

 

6. Accountability:

With the news of the Enron Scandal turning 20 years old, a renewed focus has been placed on the transparency of business processes. This will look different in every company but audit trails, review processes as well as a push to update the Code of Governance to include more modern developments will be priorities.

To keep up with the trends, invest in software that will help you with any paper trails. You should also make sure that your Board Members have full understanding of their roles and responsibilities

 

7. A Return To Management:

During the pandemic we saw a trend of Executive Directors being more hands on and less managerial. As we ease out of crisis mode, there should be an important return to pre-pandemic hierarchies. 

Having a corporate hierarchy ensures there is accountability. This also guarantees that what takes up your Executive Directors and Board Members time is only of the highest importance. During the pandemic, they have been concerned with crisis management instead of strategy.

Planning for the future is an important part of a Board’s responsibilities, and is particularly essential in the current climate. We will see a trend back to tradition in the coming months. This will likely be found in a return to formal meetings and processes, rather than the informal catch-ups that take place on video calls.

 

8. Roles Redefined:

Despite the need to return to the status quo, remembering the lessons learnt is equally as crucial for business development. Many Directors will have a clearer idea of the structure of the organisation after the disruption the pandemic has caused which will allow them greater insight into the struggles everyone faces. 

This knowledge needs to be carried forward, alongside greater communication at every level. One of the biggest changes in the past year is access. During this time we have all had to be more accessible to others remotely. This makes it easier for there to be a stronger working relationship and camaraderie amongst different rungs on the ladder. 

 

9. Compliance:

It is important to ensure that you are always GDPR compliant. Lockdown has meant that there has been a greater move to online and remote working, which means information governance has sometimes slacked. For the safety of your organisation, compliance needs to be a priority at all times!

It is also important to be ahead of the curve and anticipate any changes to regulations. This means strong audit trails at all times. Having preventive measures will always work out cheaper and ensure that there will be a smooth transition. 

 

10. Innovation:

Once again, the pandemic has shown how we need to adapt constantly and keep developing more efficient ways to practice business. Technology plays a huge role here. The past year has taught us to focus on what is important and essential, and that there are shortcuts around what isn’t.

This is where Convene can help you! We are an all-in-one meeting solution designed to streamline your processes. From building your agenda to creating meeting minutes, a Board Portal can facilitate all your hybrid, remote, or in-person business needs. 

We are versatile, with the best security on the market, you can be sure that no matter where or how you access your Board Packs that your data is safe. If you would like to learn more please don’t hesitate to contact us or book a free demo!

Gabriella Mangham

Written by Gabriella Mangham

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