2021 Business Transformation Trends – What Companies Need to Know

After a whirlwind 12 months, lockdowns are now easing, companies are beginning their return to offices, business confidence is on the rise and we’re resuming a sense of normality. These factors are prompting many employers to kick-start plans for the future. To support your planning, we’re sharing the key trends directing candidate preferences and what companies should keep in mind when creating business transformation plans for 2021.

Trend #1: IR35 has come into effect and its impact is already showing

In the early part of 2021, an increased number of candidates were available in the job market, which positively impacted companies who have been able to secure focused skills within competitive salary ranges. This also enabled employers to be more selective in who they interviewed and onboarded, by concentrating on the specific skills that will set their business up for success in the year ahead.

We are, however, now seeing a tightening in the number of available candidates, due to the steady increase in hires throughout Q1. As a result, companies hiring within the new tax year will see a different resource landscape when they hire, compared to earlier in the year.

More recently, on 6 April 2021, the off-payroll working rules officially came into effect and have already had an impact on the market, for both companies and candidates alike.

An increased number of interim contractors have considered a move to operate inside IR35, where the day rate allows, while almost the same number are sticking to outside IR35 engagements, where they own the deliverable.

Trend #2: Candidates are valuing stability more than they have in the past

After a year of layoffs, furlough announcements and many other curveballs, including IR35, it’s not surprising that a number of candidates are now valuing permanent and long-term contracts more highly, and are reluctant to take 3-month initial contract terms or 6-month fixed-term contracts.

While workers may have prioritised career progression and salary in the past, we’re seeing a shift towards alignment with core company values, team environment fit and flexible working as key motivators for top salaried talent.

Companies need to keep all this in mind as they put plans in place. If they’ve budgeted for short-term salaried FTCs, they may need to re-evaluate as the economy opens and the skills shortage re-emerges.

Day rate or interim contractors will again be an option for immediate hires, but with increased competition for talent, rates will likely re-balance to 2019 levels.

Trend #3: While 2020 was about survival for many, 2021’s focus is on strategy

2020’s shift to mass remote working, the upheaval of normal business practices and procedures, along with general uncertainty saw businesses having to think quickly on their feet and make rapid business decisions.

As lockdowns ease and offices reopen, now is the time for businesses to think strategically about their growth plans. We are seeing that those businesses emerging strongly from the events of 2020 are investing in improved technologies and systems. Companies are increasingly moving to cloud-first strategies; focusing on connecting quickly to various third parties and onboarding new products to react to internal and external demand.

And transformation programmes are already increasing, which we don’t foresee slowing down any time soon.

Our Business Transformation practice is supporting resource planning and delivery across multiple programmes, covering finance system transformations and process automation, through to connected CRM systems, allowing for advanced marketing campaigns and sophisticated digital customer journeys.

Trend #4: Candidates and employees must be prioritised

The last year understandably required a lot of quick and reactive transformations. Businesses deployed programmes such as Microsoft Teams to all their workers in a matter of weeks, with little training in many cases, as adoption was fast and resistance to change was low.

But now that we’re moving out of the pandemic, companies are utilising an employee-focused change approach when deploying new processes and technologies to maximise adoption and benefit, whilst reducing the impact of changes.

After a tumultuous 12 months, now is a great time to evaluate the learnings from 2020 and embrace the opportunities 2021 has to offer. Deciding on longer-term business transformation projects now will set your company up for success, both in the year ahead and beyond.

At Experis, we have the specialist expertise and market knowledge to support your strategic planning and operations. Our Digital Transformation vertical specialists have a deep understanding of the delivery and change lifecycle, with excellent knowledge of all IT areas. Alongside contingent and staffing solutions, the Experis Academy “Train to Fit” solution delivers comprehensive training, which helps organisations build the talent they need to bridge the skills gap of the future. And our Project Services solution provides business-critical IT project expertise and the implementation of new solutions, delivering a wide range of technology-enabled change to organisations.

Learn how our Business Transformation service can help your business to get future ready, through streamlined IT processes and managing change to your culture, people and technology: https://www.experis.co.uk/disciplines/business-transformation

And if you’d like to discuss any of these trends in more detail, connect with Tom Iveson on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomiveson/