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Growing your business in 2023, 5 tips for you and your people

Here we are at the start of 2023! Like the last few years it feels tumultuous with a lot of uncertainty. It’s hard to predict what’s around the corner, but there are some things we do know for sure. Here are five tips to consider as you make plans for your business this year.

Let's start your year off right

Brien Keegan

Regardless of the economy, hiring great people will be hard.

In 2022 we saw a return to precovid migration patterns, with more people leaving NZ than arriving, and experienced and skilled professionals overrepresented in those going offshore. Adding to this, the NZ unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in years at 3.3%. The fight for talent is getting fierce. The last time the unemployment rate was this low (2007-2008) we saw an increase with the onset of the global financial crisis, so if there is a recession we could see a growing candidate pool. In saying that, don’t become complacent about hiring. If the rate does increase, you may get more applicants, but there are no guarantees they'll have the right skills or be the right fit for your business.

Work smarter by developing your employer brand and employee value proposition so the talent you need finds you.

How we connect and communicate with our teams will become more important.

In the post-covid era it has become the norm for many NZ businesses to work remote or semi remote. Added to this are the many NZ businesses expanding overseas and accessing offshore talent. This trend isn't going away anytime soon so it’s more relevant than ever for employers to find ways to connect effectively with their teams. This requires proactivity, it’s not enough to set up slack, sync calendars and hope for the best. Effective communication and team work takes time and effort, but when you get it right it totally pays off.

Ensure that you are creating opportunities for your teams to connect formally and informally, both online and in-person.

Wellbeing will become more and more important for companies

Shifting economic environment, long covid, mental health challenges, burnout from fast business growth - there has been a lot to contend with in the last few years and it shows with an increase in stress and anxiety reported by NZ businesses. As a business leader you can’t afford to ignore the wellbeing of your team. You know the benefits; increased productivity, lower turnover, healthier happier people. If you’re not there yet we can help you create a positive, supportive workplace culture. Throwing money at it isn’t necessarily the answer, look beyond traditional benefits and get to know your team, find out what is meaningful to them and create a wellbeing strategy.

Build a wellbeing culture in your business, look at your existing benefits, are they meaningful? Could you replace them with benefits that better support your team’s (and your!!!) wellbeing?

Diversity, equity and inclusion has to be on your board agenda

Everyone knows greater diversity comes with many company benefits. It’s also just the right thing to do. However, we know that equality and inclusion is still an issue. Tackle it front on. Are you and your business doing everything you can to ensure that you are not biassed in recruiting, don’t have gender pay gaps, and don’t exclude those from different backgrounds, cultures and other minorities?

Be honest about your starting point as an individual and as an organisation, then take steps to improve. Be a force for good in your business and community, and we will all thrive together.

Be human, growing a business is hard

Wowsers, 2022 knocked me for six! It was the most challenging year I have had in growing Sprout. The environment has been unstable and as a business we’ve started to scale so we grew and changed a lot. I’ve made a conscious effort to acknowledge what’s been hard and talk about it with the team. It brought us closer together and I feel super lucky to work with a talented crew of amazing, highly empathetic people.

As a leader, when you share your vulnerability you create an environment where others feel comfortable sharing their own thoughts and feelings, leading to more open and productive communication. Your team understands that you are human. Be kind to yourself, create balance, look after your own wellbeing and happiness.

Do you still get joy from what you do? It’s a super confronting question, but it is worth considering. Make 2023 a great year for you and no doubt it will also rub off on your team.

It’s very difficult to predict what is in store this year, but there is a lot you can control. Take time to create a connected and inclusive environment, hire the right people, look after them and look after yourself, and you will be giving your business the best chance to have a great year ahead.

All the best for 2023!
Brien & the Sprout team

Written by Brien Keegan
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