No Match Found
By Martina Crowley, National Business Leader, PwC Private
If you were to fast-forward to 2030 and look at the fastest growing private companies, who would you see on that list? Probably, several names you haven’t heard of yet. Possibly with products or services that don’t yet exist.
What we do know, however, is that everyone on that list is likely to have three things in common.
First, they’ll be ahead of their peers when it comes to digital transformation. Second, they’ll be adept at managing environmental, social and governance (ESG) outcomes. And third, they’ll attract and retain the very best talent thanks to their strong sense of purpose.
These are the qualities we consistently see among the fastest growing businesses we work with. And like a Venn diagram, these qualities are interrelated and overlapping.
The good news is that any of today’s startups, emerging companies, or private businesses can accelerate their growth by focusing on these three areas. In fact, private businesses sit at a sweet spot when it comes to growth – they’re robust enough to tackle the world’s most complex problems, but nimble enough so that they just might solve them.
Take digital transformation, for instance. PwC’s Family Business Survey found family businesses with established digital capabilities had access to timely data and flexible systems when the pandemic first struck, making them well-placed to change course at short notice and adapt to stakeholder needs.
However, 59 per cent of family business owners don’t yet have strong digital capabilities, and fewer than half the respondents saw digitalisation, innovation and technology as a top priority.
Make no mistake: for any organisation in a hurry for high growth, digital transformation cannot wait.
That’s because digital transformation and agility go hand in hand, and the right technology and processes allow owners to obtain real-time insights, identify trends and make informed decisions to propel the organisation forward.
To enable that to happen, businesses need to radically simplify existing services and processes, and this includes ensuring business is future-fit and using technology specialists to overlay the digitisation program. That’s how you’re going to keep pace with the likes of the fastest growing companies. .
Speaking of pace, the rate of change that’s required when it comes to ESG considerations is rapidly increasing, especially when it comes to the global energy transition.
Stakeholder expectations around ESG are rising swiftly. Our survey, for instance, found 43 per cent of consumers expected businesses to be accountable for their environmental impact. Meanwhile, our data shows that integrating ESG considerations into your strategy improves access to finance and boosts talent retention, and all while leading to long-term value creation in deals, divestment, and growth.
In fact, the CSIRO says the push for decision makers to consider trust, transparency, fairness, and ESG is a major global megatrend that will shape the next 20 years.
How, then, can ambitious businesses build their ESG credentials?
Certainly, not with an occasional ‘greenwashing’ side project. Instead, what’s needed is to truly embed ESG in your operating model, so that it becomes part of everyday decision-making. Next, you should measure your performance using ESG metrics. At PwC, for instance, we routinely use the World Economic Forum’s framework for consistent reporting on ESG. Think of ESG as a chance to differentiate your business and deliver impact for stakeholders. Then you’ll have an ESG story worth telling.
Which brings us neatly to our third and final predictor of success: the ability to attract and retain the best talent. It’s no secret that Australia’s labour market is as tight as it’s ever been. Nor is it a secret that meaningful employment matters to employees.
Fulfilling work is important, and we found 75% of staff want to work for an organisation that makes a positive contribution to society - such as an organisation that leads on ESG - meaning powerful storytelling is vital for winning the war for talent.
So too is a first-class employee value proposition. We recently surveyed 1,800 workers from organisations right around the country, and found that remuneration and wellbeing top the list of things they value most from their employers, while 38% of all respondents revealed they plan to quit their jobs this year.
This tells us that employee value propositions are falling short of the mark, but despite this, almost half of all executives say they have no plans to re-imagine theirs. In an era where the war for talent is hotter than ever, this approach needs a rethink.
So, whether it’s communicating your ESG credentials or expressing your organisation’s ‘why’ – or perhaps you’re explaining your digital capabilities to attract new skills – your organisation’s narrative must be authentic.
That’s how we’ll read your story as a fast growing company of the future.