As the world gradually returns to normal and businesses continue to recover from the pandemic, we find ourselves in an in-between world – a place of both risk and opportunity as businesses figure out what legacy systems and pre-pandemic practices they can merge with new strategies. This transition requires transformation, collaboration, and a focus on people and technology.
In this context, PwC Philippines releases its annual report, PwC MAP 2022 CEO Survey, which compiles the perspectives of 119 CEOs from different industries and examines how their companies have responded to the challenges of the pandemic and recent geopolitical issues. It provides valuable insight into their recovery priorities and how they are reshaping their business plans to accommodate future growth.
Co-developed with the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), the survey produced results presented at the recently held 20th MAP International CEO Conference on “The wins of change: Thriving in a World of In-Betweens”.
The survey found that CEOs are incorporating technology and digital upskilling (64 percent), talent retention and development (58 percent), and enhanced customer experience or CX (49 percent) into their business plans to prepare for post-COVID growth and recovery.
Businesses recognize the value of digital transformation and key stakeholders, putting technology, customers and people at the heart of their strategy.
Harness the power of technology
As we have learned over the past two years, digital transformation is a key factor in a company’s long-term success. Companies that made strategic investments in technology early on have been able to respond to changing market and customer behavior and even improve their sales and bottom lines.
While the digital transformation offers new growth opportunities, it also exposes companies to new risks. Scammers and criminal hackers have never been more active; and data breaches are now the order of the day.
In addition, companies must also keep up with the evolving regulatory requirements in the digital landscape. To ensure trust, integrity, and compliance, leaders must learn to balance convenience and accessibility with security by embedding cybersecurity and privacy into their digital strategies.
Win with customer experience
Digital transformation should focus on customer experience. Companies that manage to digitally transform to meet customer needs lead the market. As the pandemic has dramatically changed customer expectations, successful companies are turning to data analytics to better understand customer patterns and behaviors and adapt their services to customers’ ever-changing needs.
In a country where consumer spending is a key driver of economic growth, the right customer experience is everything. In a recent study, PwC found that customers are willing to pay more for a great experience. When customer expectations are met or exceeded, companies reap measurable business benefits—including the opportunity to earn a larger share of customer wallets.
The CEO survey also found that most CEOs would continue to invest in data platforms, artificial intelligence (AI) and contactless payment systems. As exciting as 3D printing, drones and VR/AR (Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality) are, companies need to invest in digitization where it counts – in improving the customer experience. Data platforms and AI can help improve customer profiles and develop more personalized marketing campaigns. Electronic payment and billing solutions can also offer customers a simpler, faster and more secure payment experience.
Retaining and developing talent
As companies continue to adopt new technologies, they also need to ensure their employees can complement and leverage the value of those investments. About 37 percent of CEOs identified work restrictions as one of the factors that will continue to affect their companies.
Employees need to be equipped with the right skills and competencies to meet changing business needs. Leaders must foster a culture of learning within their organizations and empower their employees to develop their skills through virtual education and training programs. Government and educational institutions also need to work together to ensure the national curriculum is updated to prepare our students for the future.
Aside from gaps in digital skills, the pandemic has also exacerbated problems with talent retention. According to PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, one in five workers is likely to switch to a new employer, with Gen Zs and Millennials topping the list.
A Harvard Business Review article noted that termination rates have been steadily increasing over the past 10 years, so the end of the pandemic would not mean the end of layoffs.
The issues that led to the Great Resignation (e.g., burnout, unfair pay) have evolved over a long period of time and may take even longer to resolve. To win the war for talent, business leaders must recognize the needs of their employees and understand that they must make changes within their organization to meet those needs.
PwC’s employee survey also revealed that retaining employees would require more than just pay, as they also consider purpose and fulfillment in their career choices. A corporate purpose grounded in human values and societal impact is critical to attracting, motivating and retaining key talent. Employees want to find meaning in their work. They must be able to identify with the company’s purpose, see how it benefits society and understand how their work contributes to achieving it.
As businesses face a multitude of challenges in the new normal, it is important that their employees are fully engaged to contribute to the organization’s success.
A corporate strategy for the future
The last few years have changed the way we do business. And to thrive in the next normal, businesses must act fast and embrace new ways of working. For companies, this means implementing a triple transformation focused on technology, customer centricity and talent management.
Digital skills that were once considered “nice-to-haves” are now essential because they can open up transformative opportunities. Technology introduces key capabilities that can improve operations, enrich customer experiences and increase employee engagement.
Businesses must also prioritize people and organizational transformation by investing in talent. Many have offered their teams ways to improve and optimize their use of digital tools. Others have also recognized the connection between purpose and talent retention, as they inspire their employees to take action for the betterment of business and society.
As market conditions and customer needs continue to evolve, companies must develop proactive strategies focused on creating long-term value. By incorporating the intersection of these three key components into their strategies, organizations can be better equipped to navigate tomorrow’s business landscape. – CONTRIBUTION INQ
Further business insights are discussed in the PwC MAP 2022 CEO Survey. Download the full report at www.pwc.com/ph/ceosurvey.
The author is a member of the MAP CEO Conference Committee and Vice Chair of the MAP Ease of Doing Business Committee. She is Deals and Corporate Finance Managing Partner of Isla Lipana & Co./PwC Philippines. feedback below [email protected] and [email protected]
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