In the run up to the 2020 national elections, which policy areas are capturing the attention of business leaders? How are they leading their organizations to address them proactively? Over 400 C-suite executives, including CEOs, CFOs and COOs participated in PwC’s survey. Here are the top four findings.
Businesses are not just standing on the sidelines. A huge segment is “very actively” seeking to shape policy outcomes. They’re also looking across the policy map, expecting to actively engage on an average 4.5 policy areas. Less than 15% are simply waiting for regulation to hit before making any plans.
Not surprisingly, data privacy, healthcare coverage and workforce policy are the top three areas that C-suite executives are most actively seeking to influence. Each of these policies has the potential to increase costs for organizations, regardless of industry. Meanwhile, antitrust regulation—which has been centered on Big Tech of late—garnered the least attention from executives.
About 97% of executives are looking to increase their company’s lobbying efforts and budgets across an average of 4.5 policy areas. They are also interested (albeit to a lesser extent) in publishing a position paper or joining industry lobbying groups.
Business leaders realize that collaborating with stakeholders, constituent groups and professional organizations can amplify and extend their reach. Developing a web of external champions and spokespeople can help disseminate relevant, persuasive points of view. Executives are engaging with legislators (local, state and federal), hiring PR firms, participating in forums and reaching out to consumers directly to help shape policy positions.
Many of these policy areas are seeing upheaval the like of which has not occurred in decades. Consider tax and antitrust: the shifting business model brought on by the digital economy is creating debate and change around regulations that have not moved in years. Both businesses and governments are now faced with the challenge of regulating emerging technology, even as the technology and its uses continue to rapidly evolve. Healthcare is one of the few areas that has consensus, leaders' views are divided over the amount but executives are split on just how to lower costs. Across all policy areas, business leaders are split on the amount of regulation that will be best for business.
It’s important to clarify your position because not only are issues complex, businesses are also divided in their views across the issues. Good command of the policy debates and persuasive skills are at a premium for effective policy influence.
While the US federal government is still seen as the most influential regulator by many business leaders, executives realize that they need to be watching lawmakers at the city and state levels as well. Regulation by governments outside of the US is also playing a part to inspire policymakers and is impacting organizations that have a multinational presence.
Power over final policy outcomes is diffuse across more regulators at different levels. This demands a multi-stakeholder engagement strategy tech-enabled strategies for monitoring developments in real time.
How will policy directions shift in 2020? And how can businesses prepare to shift in response? PwC’s third annual Top Policy Trends report provides business executives with an update on the policy landscape, ways to prepare and a closer look at the influencers to watch in each policy area.