VUCA is an acronym developed by the U.S. Army War College in the late 1990's to describe their view of the future strategic environment.
It stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity and we think this group of words does a pretty good job of describing today's business environment.
We also think this operating environment explains why a lot of small businesses are not hiring additional employees. Things are simply too uncertain and too volatile to take on additional risk.
What's interesting is the two biggest responses both relate to VUCA. 31.7% of the respondents are worried about the economy in general and 21.7% are more risk adverse due to the Great Recession. Also interesting is the 3rd largest response, increased efficiency.
Combined, these are what I think of when I hear the term "the new normal". The business environment has become so uncertain and volatile that companies are going to be very hesitant about adding traditional employees. Instead, they are increasing efficiency and automation and using outsourcing and temporary workers.
Unfortunately, we don't see this changing anytime soon.