Thanks to COVID-19 and seismic social justice shifts, the world has been in crisis mode since 2020. It affected — and continues to affect — businesses in profound ways. By examining their responses to the biggest crises from 2021, we can determine the best ways to move forward for 2022 and beyond.

 COVID-19 remains the biggest crisis. The illness impacts every area of life and business. Many industries have yet to recover from 2020’s massive shutdowns. A worker shortage is forcing companies to reevaluate conditions, policies, salaries, and benefits. The thriving companies remained nimble during the crisis, quickly shifting to remote work or implementing incentives for employees. 

 In 2021 as the world began reopening, misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines became a problem. In addition, the idea of mandates has people up in arms. Whether they’re for or against mandates and the vaccine, consumers are paying attention to businesses’ responses. Companies need to be careful with how they address misinformation and vaccines to avoid alienating their audiences.

 Cyberattacks, particularly ransomware attacks, reached a record high in 2021. In the first half of 2021, ransomware attacks increased by 62%, according to the FBI. Companies paid more than half a billion dollars in ransoms from January to July. Hackers attacked multiple industries. They hit the already struggling supply chain as well as high-profile targets such as JBS Foods and the Colonial Pipeline.

 The biggest takeaway for businesses moving forward? Increase computer security. This will reduce your vulnerability to attacks. Additionally, have multiple redundancies in place. That way if you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, you’ll still have access to important data. 

 Big Tech and social media transparency reached ahead in 2021. Meta — aka Facebook — received criticism after a whistleblower revealed that the company puts profits over their users’ well-being. The whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified before Congress. She claimed that Meta intentionally hid information from the public and government about how their products furthered misinformation. The increased scrutiny on Meta spread to other platforms, such as YouTube and Twitter.

 To gain and maintain the public’s goodwill, a business must build trust through ethical behavior and leaders. This means being transparent about the company’s policies.