Throughout the pandemic, the worlds of Zoom and Slack have rapidly emerged as the primary means of communication. With the sudden shift to working from home, working conditions changed drastically. Companies that once lagged behind in technology soon had to make quick adaptations. In fact, “Over 50% of businesses in the MIT Technology Review's Global Panel are reprioritizing establishing new partnerships and accelerating the adoption of AI and automation during COVID-19” (MIT Technology Review 2020).
Business leaders had foreseen a tough transition to an entirely virtual environment, even prior to the pandemic. “Before the global health crisis hit, 92 percent of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey thought that their business model would not remain viable at the rates of digitization at that time” (Mckinsey 2020). While the pandemic exacerbated these concerns, it has also highlighted the importance of business flexibility and quick responses to changing dynamics.
Hireology, a software company that streamlines the recruiting process for employers, noticed the need to adapt at the onset of the pandemic. Though the company was rapidly growing before the pandemic, customers in various industries including automotive, healthcare, small/medium businesses, and hotels/hospitality suffered, creating a domino effect on their business’ growth. From May through July, an onslaught of hiring freezes emerged as businesses were uncertain of when to expect the return to normalcy. Kevin Knapp, CFO of Hireology, explained that"Customer Success" jobs, those that ensure customers get the most value out of services, are rising in importance at Hireology and other companies, and he expects this trend to continue post-pandemic.
Similarly, many other companies have had shifting business priorities. A Vice President of a Chicago-based construction company noted that the company was forced to consider smaller than normal construction projects when productivity fell roughly 15%.
Despite challenges, the pandemic has given us new insight into what makes a business successful -- both leaders noted the importance of agility in reacting to evolving times. Approaching obstacles in the future, the Vice President emphasized that we have to recognize that even though our “work environment and economy may be much more fragile than many would have imagined, our people have been far more resilient and capable.”