How to Shift Your Business Model in an Ever-Changing Environment
Nearly a year into the pandemic, experts have gathered data on shifts in consumer behavior to inform critical business decisions. Roughly two-thirds of Americans say that their spending habits have changed in the last year. Nearly 4 million leisure and hospitality jobs have been lost since February 2020, an astonishing blow to an industry that once employed over 15 million people. Now, this same workforce finds itself under pressure amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases. According to the Labor Department’s latest report, 498,000 leisure and hospitality jobs disappeared in December 2020, with three out of four of those lost being in restaurants and bars—a key industry for our company, Jitjatjo.
Jitjatjo is an on-demand staffing platform that leverages AI and empathic intelligence to match quality, vetted talent to some of the largest organizations in the world. The pandemic massively impacted our clients’ operations and in turn our own. Particularly in the early months, information on restrictions, transmission and public health guidance was changing constantly, and it was quick action, implementation and flexibility that helped sustain the company.
What we’ve seen since the onset of the pandemic is a need to leverage our business model and be agile in expanding the services we offered to adapt to the changing market conditions. This was essential in order to maintain our commitment to supporting our community by providing jobs, income and success for our talent and business clients.
As a business leader, there are a number of things to consider when faced with external threats like an unstable economy and a public health emergency. While there’s no precise road map that will create success for every business and every industry, the following tactics have proven successful for us, teaching us along the way and helping keep Jitjatjo on a successful path as we enter the next stage of the pandemic.
Put Your Weight Behind the Need
We created an entirely new business division, CleanDisinfect, which offers on-demand cleaning and sanitization services. It’s allowed the company to maintain steady work because it met a need and was able to mobilize quickly. While our talent was not being called to work at a hotel or restaurant, they were able to get trained and certified in cleaning and disinfection and become part of the solution, as CleanDisinfect has been hired by offices, galleries, restaurants, and more to sanitize the space. We’ve also seen education and health care facilities under pressure to adequately resource their operations, and we’ve been helping them overcome these challenges through this new business division.
Reassess Your Staffing Models
Transforming labor models to be more flexible allows better alignment between business needs and staffing levels, reducing labor costs and improving ROI on human capital. If your organization is not already thinking about how to adapt, identifying ways to become more agile—especially as it relates to staffing and budgets—will help set you up for success.
With COVID-19 infection rates and guidance changing regularly, it’s necessary to stay educated and continue adapting business strategies. When New York State announced opening status for restaurants, museums and more, our team got in front of those operations to ensure they knew the Jitjatjo CleanDisinfect service could help them prepare for that reopening and maintain a safe place so they can stay open.
Invest in Training and Safety
Jitjatjo launched a free COVID-19 Awareness and Hygiene Training program and accreditation in early March 2020 for our talent. Updated regularly based on guidance from the WHO and CDC, the training covers everything from what COVID-19 is to best hygiene practices, so both employers and employees feel comfortable. This not only helps minimize spread in the community, but it also helps reduce business disruption by minimizing exposure in the workplace.
Retool and Reskill Talent
Examine how to repurpose resources and understand their strengths. Take passionate individuals and provide them the tools to learn new skills. For example, at the onset of the pandemic, we sought to empower hospitality professionals to understand the value they bring to roles outside the industry and pursue those roles. And to have businesses and industries across the board, those who needed extra hands, proactively look to the hospitality professionals to fill their shifts. We launched a website called hirehospitality.org to spotlight how out-of-work hospitality industry professionals can safely translate their skills into some of the big need industries. From there, we focused on giving our talent the tools to pursue such jobs. Jitjatjo partnered with AthenaWise, a professional development agency, to offer talent free access to dynamic workshops designed to empower job seekers. These workshops include persuasive resume writing and remote interview training to reskill and/or find a new job.
In a time like no other, we have to think like we never have before. When we look back, success will not only be defined by how much money was made or if the business was still standing when this historic period ends, but also by the impact that was made on the people in our circles and the consumers of our business.