Despite the trials and tribulations of last year, UK businesses have shown an ability to adapt, evolve and overcome. That’s the takeaway from our new report, The State of Growth. Our research finds that it is the organisations that can evolve quickly and efficiently that are best-placed to accelerate their path to sustained, consistent growth.
With disruption and lockdowns still ongoing around the world, it seems hard to imagine that companies expect much in the way of growth. Yet, we’ve found that businesses are looking to thrive, rather than just survive. Our report provides insights from 2,000 employees in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux, Nordics and the Middle East from across a range of industries and business sizes – here is what those employees told us.
The UK leads the way
The new report found that 83% of the UK businesses surveyed met or surpassed their growth target – the highest of any region within the scope. Almost two thirds (65%) of UK respondents are expecting annual revenue growth in 2021, while 15% expect revenues to remain flat. The report further found that businesses in the UK, Spain and Italy are more expectant of growth than those in Benelux and France.
The strong financial performances found in our research could be attributed to organisations’ ability to react – 81% of UK respondents rated their company above average for adjusting business priorities in response to COVID-19.
UK businesses appear to have rallied to adapt and meet their growth objectives, but many are aware that there are still challenges ahead. These will include ever-changing circumstances, evolving regulations and accommodating employees’ preferences to how and where they work once restrictions ease. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of UK organisations surveyed said they had to fundamentally change the way they communicate with customers over the past 12 months; eighty-two percent (82%) said the amount they sell online, as well as the number of channels they sell through (80%), had also increased to meet the changing landscape.
UK businesses were not all-consumed by the pandemic. Just 32% of UK respondents cited COVID-19 as their greatest external business threat, ahead of Brexit (31%) and increasing costs resulting from new tariffs (30%).
UK employees want a hybrid working model
The past year has solidified a change in how UK employees work, and their expectations for a more hybrid model moving forward. Of those surveyed, just 14% of UK employees plan to permanently return to company facilities full-time when restrictions lift, while almost half (45%) would like permanent flexibility to work remotely.
Nonetheless, it’s worth noting this doesn’t signify a complete shift to remote working in the future. Sixty-two percent (62%) of respondents expect to work remotely more than half the time post-pandemic, which is just 19% more than those (43%) that already did so prior to the pandemic.
What is also interesting to note for UK employers is remote working has not hampered their organisations’ ability to collaborate and problem solve. 42% of respondents said their collaboration capabilities have been unharmed in a remote working world, while 26% said remote working has improved their capabilities. Clearly, remote workers have adapted to their environment well, as 69% of employees surveyed do not miss being able to collaborate with colleagues face-to-face – suggesting that UK employees have found a rhythm that could fuel the remote working patterns of the future.
How does your business stack up against these findings? How are you planning to adapt, and thrive, rather than just survive? And what is your plan for keeping employees happy when restrictions end?
Download The State of Growth: Responding With Confidence to a World in Flux to learn from businesses like yours.