What does it mean to thrive in 2023? With the year being defined by substantial inflation and the looming presence of economic downturn, numerous teams have undertaken a singular objective: streamline costs while still maximising expansion opportunities. 

It goes without saying that this isn’t an easy task, especially with customer demands evolving at a rapid pace. Businesses demand greater results with smaller budgets, consumer-facing companies are facing reduced basket sizes. The unstoppable march of generative AI is also influencing decisions, for better or worse. 

Attaining what business leaders frequently describe as efficiency is becoming increasingly challenging. In a world full of pressing digital issues, efficiency starts with being able to quickly diagnose the problem and prioritise where to focus based on business impact. 

All too often, however, the goal keeps shifting, and a process that seemed efficient yesterday might not appear the same today. Here are practical steps to create an environment for employees to thrive: 

1. Tackle escalation inefficiencies  

One of the biggest inefficiencies facing today’s workforce is the process of escalation. This is a huge digital distraction which can take time away from what matters most to both the business and the customer.

How many times have you raised negative website feedback, only for it to remain unresolved, or a response to return much later than required? It has been found that these escalations can cost digital teams a day each week. Even though only 25% or less of those digital issues have an actual impact on their business.  

This is a huge loss to any business. Wasting time escalating problems is not just inconvenient but will have a significant impact on cost savings and business stability. The digital leaders we surveyed reported improvements in mean time to resolution could save them more than $1M per month.  

2. Keep pace with rising customer expectations 

Customer expectations are also rising rapidly. If their experience doesn’t hit the mark, they will find a competitor who surpasses it. Yet escalations – along with misalignment and distractions – are causing digital teams to spend less time on new innovations, and most digital leaders (77%) have had to push off planned innovations to next year. These same inefficiencies have also prevented most digital leaders (51%) from dedicating more than a quarter of their weekly priorities to their product roadmap. Address the problem by streamlining the escalation process, ensuring that only impactful issues receive attention. This can save digital teams significant time and resources. 

3. Empower every team member 

It’s common practice in most businesses to have a hierarchy of employees, with the business leaders having the final say on most decisions and ideas. Because of this, the voices of employees at the bottom line can be drowned out and dismissed, meaning many issues can often go unsolved. In addition, employees’ potential for growth and success becomes hindered when businesses remain fixated solely on decisions made by executives. 

Empower all team members with the right tools and digital expertise to act quickly and independently. This not only minimises costs, but also shifts digital teams focus from simply reacting to challenges, to being proactive to customer needs. Doing so is one of the quickest ways in which businesses can meet their core objectives, too. 

4. Foster alignment around central goals 

To move faster, with confidence that each action will impact the business, digital teams need to build alignment around a central goal. For too long, multiple siloed teams using a myriad of data tools have caused bottlenecks that interrupt digital project flows without realising how it impacts the business or customer. Foster alignment by ensuring every team understands how their work impacts key performance indicators (KPIs) and prioritise projects accordingly. 

5. Close the expertise gap 

It goes without saying that this understanding isn’t just created overnight, however doing so requires closing the gaps in expertise seen across digital teams today. We found that 47% of digital leaders see less than half their members as digital experts. At the very heart of digital inefficiency is hard-to-find expertise. A high reliance on the specialised proficiency of just a few team members hampers a team’s ability to respond to every digital issue, fast. If teams experience turnover, the problem is exacerbated by new hires needing time to build up enough job expertise to efficiently troubleshoot digital issues on their own. Encourage knowledge sharing and mentorship to bridge this gap.  

6. Focus on customer-centric efficiency 

Digital efficiency isn’t just about building leaner teams and processes; it’s about exceeding customer expectations while minimizing costs. It’s about focusing on what matters most to the business – exceeding customer expectations – all while minimising costs. Creating an environment where employees can thrive involves practical steps that not only drive cost savings but also enhance customer satisfaction. Empowering your teams with the right tools, expertise, and alignment is key to achieving success in a rapidly changing business landscape. Nurturing a conducive environment for employees to thrive not only paves the way for their success but also wins the hearts of customers. 

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