Modern. Groundbreaking. Innovative.
Dated. Compliant. Analog.
It’s not difficult to discern which set of descriptors companies and employees find more desirable.
This is why my company, Reframe the Brand, is hard at work helping organizations find a modern approach to workplace change. Via our change management platform, we strive to answer the question, How do you modernize your workforce for today’s marketplace?
After a year-long study in 2016, we recently published the State Of The Total Market Industry Vertical Report. Through our research, we found that most Fortune 1,000 companies are two generations culturally removed from the new marketplace©. That is to say: brands are rarely equipped with the tools they need to reach a modern consumer, which leads to many of those facepalm moments we read about in the news.
In fact, most brands still use census-based marketing methods developed in the 1960s when looking at ethnic attitudes and behaviors. This means they break down the population as White, Black, and Hispanic, end of story. But that’s not how our country looks anymore. To be competitive, they must stop separating the traditional “general market” and the “multicultural market.” They must embrace diverse talent and focus on inclusion internally and externally. It is time to #CloseTheGap using cross-cultural insights. We call this the “Total Market,” a topic McKinsey & Company originally introduced in the 1960s.
The workplace has shifted with millennials as the dominant generation in the workplace (43% diverse). And the change continues to accelerate. When what is known today as the minority population (women and non-White) becomes the majority population, its diverse attitudes and behaviors will further shape the workplace. It's already happening. It is crucial for companies to wake up and adjust accordingly. Here’s how.
To get where you need to go, you first need to recognize where you are. Ask yourself: How prepared is my company for cultural acceleration? Employees and employers who are new to this topic may find a few of the introductory pieces in Reframe The Publication informative. From there, you’ll be better equipped to work with your talent and/or diversity and inclusion departments to understand your company’s level of cultural maturity. You’d be surprised to see where some of the companies we often think of as most progressive (namely certain big tech corporations) landed. Sometimes, when a startup scales quickly, it invests in perks that help retain employees in the short run, but it overlooks the importance of investing in understanding its employees cultural maturity and consumer insights. Self-awareness is key if you want to move forward.
Once you understand your company’s cultural maturity, you can use this information to plan for the future. To better serve all customer markets, you should explore the following questions: What training and education do you need? What recruitment efforts can you institute? Are there technologies you can utilize to help guide your evolution? What best practices will you put in place? How can you incorporate the company’s core purpose and values into the solutions you’re proposing? Be sure to think about where the challenges lie in improving the score. Could there be a blockage at the executive level? Are there enough resources at your disposal to make this shift? How much time do you have to devote to these efforts? Are your vendors and partners committed to this mission? This planning phase will guide your journey.
After a company has agreed to try something new, it enters a test phase. When the results come through, ask yourself and your team a few questions: Are they as expected? What were the pain points? What kind of feedback did you receive? Take these learnings and share them internally and externally, both to make others feel in the loop and to contribute to thought leadership that will benefit other employees and companies. If our research holds true, you’ll end up with more invested, engaged employees and customers alike. That’s a competitive edge for any company.
Image courtesy of The Jopwell Collection