The employment market is more important than ever, in all sectors of the Dutch economy. As shown by the Berenschot Strategy Trends Study carried out among 541 directors and senior executives in the Netherlands.
Sustainability too, is increasingly a topic of discussion in boardrooms and is used more and more to enhance an organisation’s ability to set itself apart. “In terms of awareness of their impact on society, it appears that businesses have reached a turning point.”
This year managers and directors have the employment market at the top of their agenda. Roughly 45% of the organisations taking part in the survey indicated that this theme is having a major impact on their strategic plans. “Organisations are in search of good people and retaining existing personnel is priority number one. Many organisations are anticipating growth but they need the right people for that. Specifically, people with higher education and who are technologically skilled. “Recruiting and retaining the right personnel therefore remains a necessary condition for consolidation or growth,” says Luddo Oh, senior managing consultant at Berenschot and one of the researchers.
Oh observes a shift in terms of the ability of organisations to stand out. “Product quality has been the top priority for years and innovation also remains important. What we see now is that sustainability is increasingly being adopted by organisations as a way to stand out from their competitors,” he says. “In terms of awareness of their impact on society, it appears that businesses have reached a turning point.” In other words, sustainability has permeated to the core of the strategy process.” Sustainability, in this context, quite often relates to the company’s own core activities and personnel. “Among a quarter of organisations sustainability also takes the external playing field into account: by helping customers to achieve sustainability goals and talking to them about it. Just a small number of organisations are focusing on making the entire chain sustainable, while often that is where the most impact can be achieved. Just think about the cooperation surrounding circularity,” Oh explains.
Strong growth expected
It similarly emerged from the Strategy Trends Study that organisations that look further ahead are better positioned to achieve their goals. As Professor Meindert Flikkema, senior managing consultant at Berenschot explains: “This applies to almost all types of goals, whether they be financial, strategic or in the area of growth. Such organisations are also in more attractive markets and are more capable of beating the market.” Despite geopolitical conflicts and supply chain stagnation, 90% of all the organisations expect to see growth, with business services, and manufacturing and trade, most optimistic. “It should be noted, however, that the Trends Study was carried out before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine,” says Flikkema, who identifies the key to success as: “Making clear choices, sticking to the long-term strategy, managing to find the right people on the employment market and successful innovation.”
More than 500 participants
A total of 541 respondents took part in this year’s Strategy Trends Study. The participants were drawn from leading organisations in the Dutch business community as well as from the semi-public, education and healthcare sectors. The organisations that the participants represent employ around 800,000 people, i.e. accounting for roughly 12% of the total number of jobs in the Netherlands.