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As the end of 2022 draws ever closer, many organisations are looking to secure much-needed resources to handle peak-period pressures. Of course, maintaining daily service levels and meeting financial targets is critical, and I sympathise with the challenges many are facing in light of the well-publicised skills and resource shortages across our economy. Yet, I fear that in the face of these short-term requirements, too many are losing sight of the bigger picture.

It’s not hard to see how we have gotten here. The past few years have seen a catalogue of crises, and it’s easy to get caught on the hamster wheel of dealing with day-to-day operational challenges. Yet as hard as it is, the best leaders balance the here and now with where they want their organisation to be three, five and ten years down the line. Problems do not go away on their own – and if we fail to invest in the resources we need now, we risk finding ourselves in the same position not just next year, but for years to come.

I would urge you to consider the long-term strategic vision for your organisation. What levels of skills and resources need to be in place to achieve them? And what obstacles could we face along the way? Investing the time in strategic workplace planning will be critical to laying the groundwork and building the resilience we will need to see ourselves through the turbulent times ahead.

A resilient business needs a resilient workforce. Amid a scramble to find the resource we require, let’s not forget to look within. Taking the time to motivate committed employees, understanding what they want and need and thinking creatively about how we can adapt and enhance their skills to meet evolving organisational needs, will pay dividends in the long term.

Further still, it is the job of leaders to inspire – and that means ensuring our people are genuinely engaged with the purpose and long-term vision of our organisations. We will only achieve success if we are all pulling in the same direction, and whilst it may be difficult to consider now in light of severe recruitment challenges, purpose-driven, consistently-trained, fully-committed employees delivery multiple times more value to your organisation.

So let’s look enter the New Year with a renewed focus on the future – and that change starts now. By making the necessary decisions to lay the groundwork for the future, we can pull our service nation through this difficult period to brighter times ahead.

Jo joined The Institute as its CEO in 2009. She has driven membership growth by 150 percent and established the UK Customer Satisfaction Index as the country’s premier indicator of consumer satisfaction, providing organisations with an indicator of the return on their service strategy investment.

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