By Sangeeta Waldron
The Mahindra Group published the findings of its ‘Mahindra Good Business Study’, which surveyed over 2,000 respondents across ten tier 1 and tier 2 cities in India, in order to understand the perceptions of what actually makes for a good business and how it shapes people’s expectations and decision-making as consumers, investors and employees.
Out of ten metro cities, six are labelled tier 1 cities and include – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. While four are tier 2 cities and are – Coimbatore, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Lucknow. The study sheds interesting insights about city dwellers in tier 1 and tier 2, especially during these uncertain Covid-19 times. Respondents were a representative sample of people aged between 18-65 years, representing a wide range of business and professional sectors.
The study was commissioned as part of the Group’s 75th anniversary celebrations and reveals what constitutes a ‘Good Business’ and shows that the answers are deeply personal views, which are shaped by an individual’s values and life experiences. For businesses in India, being able to understand this, is no longer a matter of reputation, but instead a key business driver.
The findings show that from an employment perspective, people living in the tier 2 cities, look beyond pay and benefits, and instead focus on human resource (HR) policies and corporate social responsibility (CSR) contributions when defining a good business. As employees, the financial performance is the top criteria for respondents in both tier 1 and tier 2 cities. However, tier 2 respondents are more likely to look at other factors such as climate change agendas, HR policies, community and CSR contributions, compared to their tier 1 peers. Moreover, when it comes to selecting or rejecting a job, tier 2 cities are more inclined to reject a job offer if they do not consider the business to be a ‘good one’ compared to the tier 1 respondents.
Interestingly, while the most significant proportion of tier 2 (21 percent) respondents consider ‘good profitability and growth; financial performance’ the top measures for ‘good business, they also care about ‘equal opportunity and diversity in the workplace’ (20 percent). In tier 1, the figures are slightly higher, where 28 percent consider ‘good profitability and growth; financial performance’ the top criterion for good business, which is closely followed by ‘equal opportunity and diversity in the workplace’ at 27 percent.
Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group says, “The wider role, purpose and meaning of what constitutes ‘Good Business’ has never been more relevant than today. A company’s social and community impact is being discussed as loudly and frequently as its balance sheets; and by more people than ever before. I absolutely believe that these broader, more inclusive expectations – whether from customers, shareholders, employers or other members of society – can be perfectly compatible. The principle role of business leaders today is to find that mutually beneficial, common ground – for me, that is the essence of Good Business.
The research also shows that the profile of the typical Indian consumer is changing, where the price and product are also balanced by considerations for the planet and perception when making their buying decisions. The findings reveal that as consumers, people are increasingly demonstrating that their idea of a ‘good business’ means that the product and price alone may no longer be sufficient to secure the sale.
As 60 percent believe that it is important or fundamental for the company to be ‘good’ in their opinion if they were purchasing a product or service from it; 27 percent consider a brand’s reputation before making a purchase, ahead of considerations such as market leadership or product price. While 14 percent consider the environmental impact of the product/ service as constituting the idea of a ‘good’ deal and again 14 percent give the same importance to a brand’s contribution to society at large.
From a gender perspective, some differences also emerged and some interesting findings were that 39 percent of female respondents consider the quality of the product – features, functionality, and environmental impact, compared to 24 percent of the male respondents. While 81 percent of women would reject a job offer if they did not consider the business to be a ‘good’ one, compared to 74 percent of their male counterparts.
The data also looked at investments and found that while financial returns remains essential, it is no longer enough for many investors, as most respondents (70 percent) would never invest in a business they did not consider a genuinely ‘Good Business’ and that 20 percent consider the ‘Lack of Leadership and Vision’ as the top barrier preventing business from becoming truly ‘good.’
Now with businesses in India starting to get back on their feet while navigating the global pandemic, Anand Mahindra believes this to be the “most important conversation of the decade.” This research shows that people want to spend with and invest in businesses that care about the planet and who do better. Those businesses that ignore these conversations will start to see their brand value fall.
Sangeeta Waldron’s new book CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS NOT PUBLIC RELATIONS Is Available at Amazon India
(Sangeeta Waldron is the Founder, Serendipity PR & Media. Author of Corporate Social Responsibility Is Not Public Relations, published by LID Business Media.)