Facing the Challenge Presented by Inflation: Businesses, It’s OK to Make Plans Again (We Think)

Joel Landau
5 min readJun 5, 2023

Many businesses have had to fly by the seat of their pants to some degree in recent years, while the pandemic has wreaked havoc with plans and made agility paramount. Now, with the worst of COVID-19 apparently behind us, it is time to not only solidify strategies but attempt to build momentum in the face of the challenge inflation presents.

The question is, how do businesses go about doing that? And the overarching answer is that they need to be forever cognizant of employee engagement and customer experience — the latter because consumers have come to expect personalization, the former because the rise of remote work has heightened the challenge of keeping teams on the same page — while at the same time maintaining flexibility, understanding that another calamity might be right around the corner. It’s just a matter of what form it might take, given the extreme weather resulting from climate change or the certainty among medical experts that another pandemic will occur.

Nick Fischer, CEO of Cadilus Inc., wrote for Forbes that enterprises would do well to outline goals, map out how to achieve them and understand who can help you get there. Those are constants, the very bedrock of business planning since the dawn of time. Fischer did add, however, that there are two accepted approaches — traditional annual planning and continuous planning. The first involves making plans according to monthly forecasts, while the second involves continuous reassessment. Certainly both have their merits, given current realities.

In another Forbes piece, Katherine Calvert, CMO at the customer software engagement company Khoros, wrote that change is the one constant in business (as in life). Understanding that, and preparing for it, are vital.

Drilling down further, experts suggest performing a periodic SWOT analysis, an acronym for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.” That involves leaders asking questions about all ranges of the operation — from communications to customer service, from culture to the competition — and being honest in their self-assessment. It’s a matter of self-awareness and holding oneself accountable. Certainly it’s a matter of having emotionally intelligent leadership in place — i.e., those who are not the least bit hesitant to step back and look at themselves and their operation in an objective light.

Then it’s a matter of acting on what they’ve found — understanding what the best possible route might be, going forward. And as mentioned, a SWOT analysis must be performed every six months or so, just to understand how the mission is proceeding and what adjustments might have to be made to the plan.

And again, the North Stars need to be customer experience and employee engagement. Certainly the latter’s importance was underscored in 2021, when the Great Resignation saw an average of 3.95 million American workers depart their jobs each month, an all-time high.

A Gallup poll from the first half of 2021 showed that just 36 percent of U.S. employees were engaged in their work, and that 15 percent were actively disengaged. Further, a previous study, undertaken by the Corporate Leadership Council, revealed engaged employees were 87 percent less likely to depart their positions.

Bridging that gap has become an even greater challenge for leadership than it had been before the pandemic, given how scattered the workforce has become. Yet it is crucial that the attempt be made. That means keeping the lines of communication open and actively listening. That means rewarding employees’ successes and creating a path for career advancement. And, sadly, it means cutting ties with those who don’t perform up to expectations.

But a big part of engagement, again, is establishing a vision. Where is this company going, and how is it going to get there? Those are the questions every employee needs to have answered, and the ones that need to be addressed by the denizens of the C-Suite.

The customer needs to be central to that vision, since their expectations have likewise been raised. Specifically, they have grown accustomed to a personalized experience in the Age of Amazon, where their wants, needs and purchases are tracked and their future desires are made readily apparent to them. Increasingly, that has led companies to provide an omnichannel experience for their customers, where offerings are presented across all platforms.

It is a sound approach in an era when Americans are almost constantly engaged with various forms of media, usually through their phones but also via various other means. Because of the pandemic, each U.S. citizen spent an average of 1,300 hours on social media in 2020. That computes to 58 minutes a day on Facebook, 53 minutes a day on Instagram, and 50 minutes a day on Snapchat.

The issue of engagement is somewhat different in a network of nursing homes, as is the case with The Allure Group. Our management team regularly tours all six of our facilities so that we are fully cognizant of staff and resident concerns, and can act on them in a timely fashion. Moreover, we have resident councils at a number of our facilities, which keep us abreast of developments and allow us to nip any potential problems in the bud.

Our overarching mission is to be on the forefront of technology and innovation, and to that end we monitor industry news and the approach taken by competitors; both can offer insight into the course we might favor. One example is our use of Vis-A-Vis technology, hand-held devices that enable clinicians to track the vital signs of recently discharged patients, and for those patients to stay in touch with clinicians in the event of a problem.

Another example would be our installation of Samsung tablets at each of the 1,400 bedsides in our facilities. They provided entertainment and relaxation for our residents before the pandemic, and during the worst of the outbreak enabled them to remain in touch with loved ones when governmental lockdowns were imposed.

It’s important to note that we have a thorough vetting process for any idea that is developed by the management team, the result being that we reject five for every one we accept. We give each and every one of them a trial run, and only implement only those we believe will be of greatest benefit to our residents.

The result is that our staff will be engaged, and our residents will be assured the best possible experience. That is always the goal, just as it is in other businesses, in other sectors. Every company needs to understand that and needs to make that a central part of their vision. But it is no less important to have a firm understanding of all that can go wrong, especially in this day and age. Leaders must always be cognizant of risk and understand how their enterprise can weather the storm. Contingency plans are an enormous part of the new normal. Emergency preparedness is everything nowadays, as it will ensure not only that your company can survive, but flourish.

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Joel Landau

Joel Landau (http://joellandau.com) is an experienced healthcare professional in the NYC community.