CEOs acknowledge that purpose – a clear reason to exist beyond making money – has become a key part of business strategy, according to PwC’s annual survey of global CEOs. Indeed, 61% agree that business success in the 21st century will be redefined by more than financial profit.
But CEOs definition of 'purpose' did vary. For some, it meant why their business exists; for others it meant more around what their businesses do or aim to achieve, or how business is done. And when asked to describe their corporate purpose, CEOs talked
about value for one or more of a variety of stakeholders, including shareholders, supply chain partners, employees, customers and society at large – as well as their business itself, in terms of things like growth.
The majority of CEOs (70%) feel their customers are most interested in cost, convenience and functionality. But more than a quarter (27%) of CEOs believe that their customers are seeking relationships with organisations that address wider stakeholder needs, the survey finds.This surges to 44% when CEOs consider what their customers will prioritise in five years’ time.
In the future it seems clear that CEOs believe customers will put a premium on the way companies conduct themselves in global society too.
PwC highlights that this beief isn’t just happening on the customer front. On the talent side it’s even more pronounced, it says, stating 59% of CEOs believe that top talent wants to work with organisations that share their social values and 67% feel it will be important in five years.
Meanwhile, 37% of CEOs believe their investors seek ethical investments and 45% believe this will be the case in five years.
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