A familiar, but often forgotten or misunderstood term is on the minds and tongues of many economic developers in the wake of the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (aka, the “Son of CARES” Act) and the next round of major COVID-related stimulus soon to be distributed to state and local governments. Everyone agrees resiliency is a good thing, but differing definitions abound, and opinions vary on how to effectively achieve a resilient community.
At Ady Advantage, we were incorporating resiliency into our strategic planning process long before it became the buzzword of the moment. We understand resiliency can be both reactionary and strategic, and the best-prepared communities exhibit a mix of both.
- Reactionary resiliency is when a community responds to an active crisis. It is immediate, it is short-term, and consequently, it has limitations.
- Strategic resiliency is when a community is proactive, looking ahead and planning in order to better weather potential crises. It is deliberate, long-term, and intentional.
How do you ensure your community is resilient?
For reactionary resiliency, many communities benefit from the following tools and approaches:
- Pulse Surveys
- These differ from the standard BRE survey in length (shorter), format (online or telephone), focus (immediate needs), frequency (often repeated over a two-month period to capture trends and go deeper on hot topics), and audience (including community members and elected officials as well as employers).
- These community and employer needs assessments provide quantitative, factual information to drive decisions on recovery priorities and identify of barriers.
- Community Competitiveness Assessment
- These intensive, practical evaluations of your community assess readiness for new business attraction projects and provide immediate recommendations. From the sites and buildings to employer perceptions and your community’s rating on key location criteria, we turn around findings and final recommendations quickly so you can start implementing improvements right away.
- Communities find these evaluations jump-start awareness and interest in their core economic development programs as it creates momentum and buy-in.
- Sites and Building Readiness Evaluations
- This process zeroes in on your current and anticipated property inventory to help you prioritize them based on readiness to market. Also included are practical recommendations on how to tackle deficiencies to get more properties ready and how to reach site selectors with property updates.
- In the world of traditional economic development, your properties are your product, and if you don’t have any, or they are not ready for occupancy, then you have nothing to market. As the economy continues to pick up steam, communities need to be prepared in this area.
To address long-term resiliency development and planning:
Many communities are taking advantage of the disruption the COVID-19 Pandemic brought to reset their programs, focusing on additional areas (such as talent) and gathering community support for a shared economic development vision.
- Updating Target Industries
- COVID-19 had direct and in many cases, unexpected impacts on industries. EDOs need to understand what those impacts are in the short, intermediate, and long term.
- This process aggregates deep-dive data sources with real-time data and up-to-the-minute forecasts by industry. For those EDOs that don’t currently have a target industry analysis, it’s a great place to start. For those who have target industries identified, it’s a launching off point to review and prioritize them in light of the unprecedented changes occurring in the market.
- Talent Development
- Who would have thought that coming out of a pandemic, many employers in communities across the country would experience difficulties filling positions? If you follow the Ady Advantage blog, last May we predicted the talent shortages would continue to be a key barrier to growth regardless of the pandemic.
- Our suite of tools and services address talent issues, and our track record and proprietary datasets give your community the competitive edge. The Ady Advantage team helps you develop specific talent strategies based on factors such as future job growth within your targeted industries and automation; evaluating and executing talent recruitment campaigns; and more.
- Economic Development Strategic Plans
- Our ED Strategic Plans inherently focus on resiliency. They provide an objective, thorough assessment of your situation, consensus building on your community’s desired vision for economic development, and an action plan for achieving it.
- Unprecedented events such as a pandemic hit home the need for having a game plan. But EDOs endure smaller disruptions and distractions all the time. That’s why having a plan can ensure you stay on the right path.
As you assess any economic recovery needs, we challenge economic developers and community officials to push pause and reflect on the resiliency of your region. While no one could see the pandemic and its effects coming, many could have been better prepared. That foresight to prepare for the unknown is what eases economic developers minds and provides competitive advantage in the wake of crises.
Connect with us today to discuss a path to making your community be more resilient for the future.