Successful businesses anticipate shifting trends and take proactive steps to seize the initiative. We’ve been working with lots of clients that have done exactly that in 2020, despite the pandemic.They have continued to operate full-steam ahead, and they are looking forward to doing the same in 2021. Why did they succeed where others didn’t? They are resilient. They are agile. They have the ability to pivot as needed to align with changing market conditions. Even if you have been unsure of what the future holds because of the pandemic, prepare to pivot. The time has come to take advantage of opportunities as they happen, to focus on the present and look toward a brighter future. If you are done with wait-and-see, then get ready to seize the day! 

The Year of Wait-and-See

In this incredibly unusual year, many of us have been in wait-and-see mode, unsure of next steps or outcomes in dealing with the pandemic. Since March, we have been waiting and watching as steps were taken to flatten the curve, get past the first wave of the pandemic, then the second and now a third. In the interim, we waited for civil unrest to ease, to get past the election, and to get the good news about the development of vaccines and therapeutics. In every situation, it seemed we were waiting for things to happen, with little to no control over outcomes. Here we are, heading into a new year, still in a holding pattern, and the pandemic is still with us. When it will end remains a bit murky, but many of us have reached a point where we want to unstick the pause button on our lives. Today, we are armed with knowledge about the virus, resources to combat it and keep people safe, and the determination to get on with life. We are primed for action in our personal lives, our business lives and our communities. 

Recognize Trends and Leverage Opportunities

When the pandemic hit, it played havoc with business norms. In a matter of days, businesses closed their doors, workers were sent home, schools went silent and streets emptied of traffic in communities across America. In reaction to the pandemic, some companies downsized as business demand contracted; others upsized at new opportunities surfaced. Many organizations shifted to a full or at least partial virtual model. Still others adjusted work schedules and workflow to allow for social distancing and safe on-site work spaces. Children switched to distance learning. In other words, people coped, but most actions tended to be reactive rather than proactive. 

As we all learned to adjust to our changing circumstances, certain trends began to emerge that can fuel new business opportunities. With the right strategy, these trends can be leveraged to promote innovation, grow market share, streamline business processes and drive operational efficiency. For example:

Trends We have Seen

  • Global supply chains have been disrupted. [Source: Deloitte] Buyers are now looking for more local sources, which can drive higher local demand.
  • Technology adoption and digital transformation have accelerated. [Source: McKinsey] Businesses may be more open to accepting technology solutions over traditional ways of doing business.
  • Workers in certain industries, especially consumer-driven sectors, such as hospitality, travel and retail, lost jobs. [Source: University of Chicago] Employers can tap new local talent pools to take advantage of skills learned in one industry that are transferrable to another, e.g., customer service.
  • As business revenues slowed, some internal functions, such as sales, marketing and recruiting, underwent downsizing, with selected roles eliminated. [Sources: SHRM,, The New York Times]  As business picks up, rather than rushing to rebuild decimated functions, look to local staffing partners to help fill in with temporary talent and take advantage of experienced professionals not normally available.
  • Many unemployed workers switched from traditional employment to contingent and freelance roles. [Source: AARP] Businesses can become more agile and responsive to local market shifts by blending contingent talent with traditional employed roles.
  • Despite high unemployment, skill gaps continue to challenge employers. [Source: HR Daily Advisor] Partner with a local recruiting expert to boost your ability to source hard-to-find talent.
  • The prevalence of remote work increased worker expectations for better work/life balance. [Sources: Gallup, HCM Technology Report] Look for ways to give workers a greater sense of control, e.g., self-scheduling technology, and get the bonus of enhanced retention.

Partner with a Local

When you are looking to expand your workforce, you need to identify a local resource to help you find the talent to support your growth. When you hit a downturn in demand that forces contraction, you should partner with a local workforce expert who can help identify new job opportunities for your displaced team. When you have a narrow window of opportunity that requires you to respond with unprecedented speed and agility, you need a local partner who can provide an immediate boost to your recruiting and staffing capabilities. As a well-established recruiting and staffing firm, with broad-based knowledge of the people and businesses operating in the local market, Spherion can serve as that local resource to help you navigate prevailing trends.

We have all been impacted in highly unusual and unexpected ways in 2020, but a new year brings new opportunities. If you are ready to change your future, gear up to seize the day, so we can all come out stronger in 2021. Let’s work together to bring back our jobs, grow our businesses and promote prosperity and good health in our local communities.

Contact your local Spherion office to get started.