Roundtable Case Study: Baxter International05/25/2015 03:22PM
Baxter International Inc. through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide. Baxter had 2013 sales of $15.3 billion and has approximately 61,500 employees.
Hispanics along with African Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders surpassed one third of the U.S. population in 2010. As their numbers continue to rise, they are on track to reach 54% of the population by 2050 – making them the minority-majority. Every day, Fortune 500 companies and leaders across all functional areas and departments are unknowingly creating tension points with their employees, clients and consumers. Why? Because they lack the cultural know-how to most authentically engage with them – and this is what’s making it so difficult to capture favorable and sustainable ROI.
The days of simply implementing a traditional diversity strategy and calling it a day are over. So is the current employee resource group model with its business case that has historically been mismanaged, misunderstood and not properly defined. As a result, good intentions have only created more internal employee fragmentation (silos), rather than integration and a deep understanding of the benefits that diverse thought can bring to strengthen business intelligence and know-how. Efforts to date have proven to be inconsistent and insufficient to say the least. Leveraging the cultural demographic shift calls for a business model and full-scale strategy that fully prepares an organization to leverage today’s reality of a rapidly growing diverse workforce and diverse consumer segments – and the previously unseen workplace and marketplace opportunities for innovation, economic growth, and global competitiveness associated with them.
CHL Academy believes that it’s no longer just about “diversity” per se and it’s no longer just a numbers/representation game. It’s about a seismic cultural demographic shift – with Hispanics at the forefront as the fastest growing minority group – that will impact business strategies and enable growth, innovation and opportunities as companies across all industries strengthen their talent and consumer engagement.
At its core, the cultural demographic shift is about change management and the influence it has on corporate business models. Across all industries, business leaders must now consider the strategic implications of cross-cultural intelligence, diversity of thought and the rapidly evolving insights from the changing face of America’s workforce and consumers.
Baxter International engaged CHL Academy to conduct a C-suite/senior executive roundtable sessions in help their top 16 senior executives better understand and provide greater content around the leadership, best practices and strategic thinking requirements to proactively prepare for the cultural demographic shift.
The goal was to guide leaders to understand, via both qualitative and quantitative data points that the old ways of approaching diversity and inclusion are not relevant or impactful enough to the business. That in order to most effectively design a business strategy that best leverages the inherent benefits of the cultural demographic shift, it requires the organization to identify and seek to understand the existing intelligence within the organization’s functional and departmental areas, amongst its external partners (“the ecosystems”), and how this intelligence can be utilized and fully leverage to best support a strategy that can strengthen its overall business model.
“This is a paradigm shift where it’s becoming less about the business defining the individual and more about the individual defining the business.”
It’s difficult for C-suite/senior executive leaders to take action and/or invest in solving for a business problem or opportunity when they don’t understand it, feel comfortable about it, or have difficulty measure the outcomes of a potential investment. To help them become more comfortable in understanding the requirements to prepare for the cultural demographic shift and beat their competitors to the punch, CHL Academy recommended a healthy diaglog around the following seven points to create a constructive conversation that would organically mature and evolve into tactical actions over time.
1. Become More Culturally Intelligent – Don’t guess.Be mindful of who your target audience really is because cultural sensitivity is critical. Employees, clients and consumer alike.
2. Get Comfortable Talking About Changing Cultural Demographics – Become more aware of how your brand can more effectively communicate to diverse communities of consumers and talent.
3. Recognize That Human Capital and Business Development Must Become Interdependent – Monetizing cultural capitalism is the new normal and the brands that do with dominate their industry for years to come.
4. Create a Best Place to Work Environment – Don’t segregate, integrate. This is how trust is built and performance flourishes.
5. Promote Authentic Best Practices vs. Inauthentic Initiatives – Convert diversity initiatives from the past into new diversity best practices embedded into the culture for your company’s sustainable growth.
6. Think Profit Center, Not Cost Center – When you view diversity as your new business growth enabler, opportunities will multiply as talent productivity increases and market share grows.
7. Focus on Significance, Not Just Success – Sustain a diverse culture in the workplace and earn culturally relevant relationships with diverse consumers for long-term business impact.
While America’s corporations are slowly coming around to accept the importance of the cultural demographic shift as a business imperative, a lot of awareness, education and best practice formation still needs to happen to ignite full-scale strategy development and implementation. It all begins with preparing leadership for the shift and demanding a new business-minded, employee and consumer centric approach. Corporations are on notice and must start paying attention to the multicultural demographic landscape – our new national mosaic – and its influence on everything from new markets and revenue streams, to new product and service offerings, branding and communication efforts, the impact on governmental and external affairs, community outreach, workplace culture and organizational effectiveness, employee recruitment, talent development and retention efforts.
As a result of CHL Academy C-suite/senior executive roundtable sessions, Baxter International top senior executives now better understand
• the greater role for the cultural shift plays in consumer research, education and outreach to the Hispanic and other communities as well as building relationships in both the private and public sectors to help develop solutions for the widening gap and existing disparities
• the urgency to shift away from the diversity management model and reinvent the requirements for business in order to recruit Hispanic and other diverse employees to become leaders, as well as loyal consumers who can influence brands and define new business models
• the importance of defining and telling their story through a new lens based on the intelligence uncovered and applied to develop new business models, and weaving key messages from the narrative into the organization's mission and programs to ensure enterprise-wide change management and thought leadership
“Thank you for the wonderful discussion/presentation this afternoon. We thoroughly enjoyed it. You provided extremely insightful perspectives that will make us smarter about our business.”
Joe Petty, Senior Marketing Manager, US Hospital Products | Baxter International
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