They say we’re due for another one. That it could happen any day now. That there’s not much we can do to stop it. That it might be as big as the last one—or even bigger.
No, I’m not referring to a wildfire, an earthquake, or a hurricane (though I might as well be). The “big one” in this case is the next recession. Economists believe signs point to a major economic downturn in the next year and a half. Many foresee it happening before the 2020 election, and some believe it could be worse than the one we experienced a decade ago.
What’s a risk-conscious business to do? A recent article in The Wall Street Journal offers insights. The article explores the results of a Bain & Company report that was released in May and which “examined financial results for nearly 3,900 companies world-wide across a variety of industries to determine which characteristics allowed some companies to thrive during rough economic headwinds.” The key to survival in a recession, says Bain partner Tom Holland, who helped author the report, is to spend less time worrying and more time preparing. In other words, think of an economic catastrophe like a natural disaster and build your emergency kit now.
Here’s what Holland told the WSJ:
“The plain vanilla response to recession is often wait for bad news, and then start cutting costs. But the more successful companies cut costs early, before things slowed, and did so through smart steps such as automation, rather than sweeping emergency cost-cut programs.”
Come to think of it, that’s pretty good advice regardless of larger economic circumstances. By automating repetitive, energy-intensive processes, any organization can save time, minimize manual errors, and focus more resources on the things that matter. In terms of workforce compliance and risk management, automation also eliminates gaps, improves accountability, and provides leadership with better insight into programs and initiatives.
So, start building that emergency kit—and start with automation. If and when the next recession comes, you’ll be well-positioned to weather it out. And if we’re lucky enough to avoid a downturn, well, you’ve just saved your organization a whole lot of time and money anyhow.