Inflation. Climate change. A lingering pandemic. Risk abounds for business as we reach the mid-point of 2022. Here are 10 issues business leaders should be reviewing as they prepare for the hard-to-predict months ahead.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have witnessed substantial change and, maybe, some of us have changed ourselves. These changes have impacted our environmental, health, personal, financial, and professional choices. In turn, I am seeing business leaders and managers taking new initiatives to adapt to myriad new issues and challenges. This article reviews the top 10 legal issues for business leaders to consider in overseeing and managing their businesses through 2022.
- Workplace Safety. Public health agencies
in the territories have ended their public health emergency orders,
which leaves companies on their own to decide whether staff should
continue to practice social distancing and wear masks at work.
Business leaders should be reviewing municipal directives in
addition to their company policies and procedures to align them
with best practices and legal obligations to protect the health and
safety of staff.
- Return to Work Plans. What is your
company's policy for returning to work? Is everyone coming back
at the same time and full-time in the office? Leaders should ask
these questions and document a principled approach to return to
work. They should develop clear and well-articulated policies and
procedures on expectations as employees make their way back. They
should also be clear about when and if staff are required to attend
the office in person as well as matters such as the company's
- Electronic Meetings. If staff are permitted to
work remotely, business leaders must set expectations around
attendance, confidentiality, and cyber security for online work.
Some leaders may consider providing laptops and other electronic
devices to staff to allow for remote working and online meeting
- Board Oversight. Boards need to be aware
of the challenges raised in this article and set the tone and
culture of the business. Pressing issues include CEO succession
planning, reassessing the business' crisis prevention plans,
human resources management and readiness efforts, and skill and
- Insurance Coverage. As the territories
are exposed to new environmental threats, insurance coverage should
be reviewed to determine whether it covers flood, fire, cyber
security breaches, pandemics, and other unexpected or expected
- Cyber Security and Data Privacy. Business
leaders should re-examine the application of their technology and
controls to protect their networks, devices, and data from
cyberattacks or breaches. This examination may involve retaining
independent consultants or bringing in staff to assess, monitor,
and test a firm's IT systems, technologies, and networks.
Again, policies and procedures must be reviewed and updated.
- Recruitment and Retention. We are seeing
low levels of unemployment across Canada, resulting in ample
employment opportunities for workers. Recruitment and
retention strategies must pay close attention to these changes and
adapt to employee requests to work remotely, have flexible work
hours, see increased salaries, and have diverse workplaces .
- Force Majeure in Contracts. When
businesses sent employees home at the start of the pandemic, work
either stopped or slowed down. Many leaders looked to their supply
contracts to determine whether the force majeure clauses included
pandemic events to cover the cancellation of the supply of services
and goods or the stopping of payment during the pandemic. Business
leaders must ensure their force majeure clauses reflect unexpected
and uncontrollable future events.
- Rising cost of products and
services. Inflation has hit both goods and services
globally, which means that all business leaders should carefully
examine the costs of the goods or services they purchase and
produce. Inflation impacts many aspects of running a business,
including salaries, procurement, insurance, and information
technology. Rising costs make conducting business more expensive
and raises questions on how to deal with these costs.
- Environmental and Social Changes. We live in unprecedented times regarding climate change and rapid social change. Business leaders should turn their attention to improving reliance on green energy and making meaningful contributions to environmental impact. Additionally, employees, shareholders, and community stakeholders demand more of their business leaders in providing safe, diverse workplaces and contributions to the community.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic and social changes over the last couple of years have changed many of us personally and the businesses we lead. Here's one question every business leader should ask themselves as we navigate our new contexts: How can we make these changes meaningful and impactful to ourselves, our businesses, and our communities?
This article was originally published in Up Here Business - Issue 2 2022.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.