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Business transformation expert and founder of Sullivan & Stanley, Pat Lynes, says small start-ups are redefining the role of business within our society.

Start-ups and fast scaling businesses are flying into every sector, creating new, innovative solutions, which are changing the world, how organisations operate, and the way we work.

As they dramatically and quickly disrupt the current business landscape, legacy companies are finding it hard to keep up.

This is because as the world constantly changes, customers and employees are evolving too. It is creating opportunities for smaller businesses, with agility at their core, to meet growing demands and offer end-to-end customer experiences.

With little to no shareholder and investor pressure (or investors with a long-term mindset), as well as the obstacle of outdated technology, there are fewer barriers to transform and innovate. This means it’s easier for smaller organisations to change fast, as well as work on things that matter.

Larger organisations have always understood the importance of ‘purpose’ and ‘change’ but have found it hard to execute in place of ‘business as usual’. A recent study by the Business Roundtable, which worked with 200 US chief executives, has turned this on its head.

As it redefined the role of business in society, it found that companies should no longer be putting the interests of shareholders at the top of the agenda.

Instead, they should be investing in employees, protecting the environment and dealing fairly and ethically with suppliers. This shift comes at a pivotal moment for large corporates, which are regularly challenged on their environmental footprints, treatment and retention of staff, as well as ways of working.

Customers, employees and investors, are looking for companies which deliver purpose, reflect their values and respects the way they want to work.

People no longer want to work for a brand that gives them the highest paycheck. They want more in return from their employer, whether that is working towards a greater purpose, or having the flexibility to work when they want, where they want.

Big corporates, with their outdated mindsets, are wasting time on long recruitment drives with the sole outcome of owning their talent.

Even when businesses get the right people in place, they don’t nurture or create environments for them to thrive in. Talent is placed in siloed hierarchies, with little investment, training or purpose helping them to grow. Unsurprisingly they become fed up of the ‘corporate way’ and leave.

People are instead looking to smaller businesses, who are purposeful, mission-led and driven by the variety in project work over time-based. This means they are attracting, retaining, and then when it’s time, releasing the best talent.

The corporate mindset won’t win the war on talent with the newer generations. If they want to survive the next decade, it’s time for the Goliaths to rip up the rule book and start again.

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