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Financial Services Case Study: H&R Block

05/25/2015 03:25PM

Working in collaboration with H&R Block, a Kansas City-based tax preparation company, claiming more than 24.5 million tax returns prepared worldwide, with offices in Canada, Australia, Brazil, and India, the CHL Academy developed tailored trainings to help the organization and their franchisees better lead their Hispanic associates and build their Latino businesses.

The Opportunity

As the workplace and business landscapes continue to evolve -- and with the cultural demographics of the U.S. marketplace shifting and the multicultural footprint expected to reach 54% of the population by 2050 -- corporations are losing their performance impact, influence and momentum. As such, cultural sensitivity is becoming a leadership and business imperative that can no longer be ignored. To be proactive, leaders must prepare themselves and their business model to incorporate this new layer of change management intelligence that the demographic shift represents. They must operationalize what it means to create and sustain a competitive advantage for their brands, employees and clients.

It is no longer enough to meet the numbers in terms of workforce diversity and to pursue ethnic product/service differentiation, as many companies have done at the minimum. Today’s business landscape requires you to see through a cultural lens and understand how to interpret and apply cultural sensitivity and its multiple dimensions to unlock opportunities previously unseen – and to best recruit and retain talent and enable incremental business growth and innovation in the next decade and beyond. Corporations are just warming up to the importance of multiculturalism as a business imperative, and a lot of work still needs to be done. It begins with leaders becoming more intelligent about the core cultural characteristics of the Hispanic population – which is leading the demographic shift in the U.S - and redefining their client engagement, business models and brand strategies.

With consumer purchasing power estimated to reach $1.5 trillion by 2015, Hispanics are an important part of business that makes up the fabric of American society – yet many brands are not sure how to start a relationship with an emerging Hispanic consumer base that originates from different countries with different experiences and customs. Herein lies the opportunity for companies across all industries to fully understand the mindset of Hispanics and how best to build brand loyalty by tailoring their business strategy, products, services, and internal culture to embrace a consumer base that will comprise 30% of the U.S. population by 2050.

The Objective

H&R Block desired to become a more Hispanic culturally proficient organization and brand. Their goal is to acquire cultural intelligence and apply this know-how to create required talent acquisition and retention best practices, educational tools and resources, retail operational protocols, client marketing and community outreach programs, and internal and external brand communication strategies.

The outcome of these trainings* was to most profitably create and sustain Hispanic talent and business development growth strategies and implementation tactics by:

• Strengthening recruitment and retention of top Hispanic associates in which the corporate culture is in alignment with Hispanic cultural values and how they naturally think and perform.

• Creating engagement and earning sustainable loyalty/trust with Hispanic clients where relationships and outreach within the community at-large is genuine, authentic and in support of their cultural values.

• Maximizing sales and building upon the “in-culture experience” across H&R Block’s 2,500 Latino designated retail locations.

• Educating and engaging franchisees about the opportunities associated with H&R Block’s Hispanic business goals and objectives

*Please read our article published in Forbes to review other important tension areas that we are solving for.

The Strategy

Across all industries everyone wants to engage with Hispanic consumers, yet industry leaders continue to unknowingly create tension points that continue to widen the gap to engagement. The truth is, it’s not just about the numbers, the data, or the analyses any more. The first step in capturing the Hispanic consumer is to reacquaint yourself with the opportunity – recognizing there is both an art and a science to its approach. If done correctly, Hispanics will yield a valuable incremental revenue stream for your business.

Begin to build a profitable Hispanic business approach by first becoming more culturally intelligent so that you understand Hispanics not just with your head (the data) but with your heart (the human component). Frankly, it’s the latter that will gain you an immediate opportunity to earn trust, loyalty and sustainable success for your business and it will help you translate and better understand the former – and the required intellectual capital that supports both.

While Hispanics may represent different countries, there are certain traits and values that transcend country boundaries – character traits that are deeply rooted in the Hispanic culture and that can be recognized and leveraged to better understand what motivates Hispanics in the workplace and the marketplace.

The fundamental mastery of Hispanic cultural sensitivity/intelligence requires leaders to become more aware and knowledgeable about the following most common Hispanic cultural characteristics and how to apply them to maximize engagement with your Hispanic talent – to recruit and retain them and your Hispanic clients and earn the required loyalty and trust to generate incremental sales and market share:

• See Opportunity in Everything

• Anticipate the Unexpected

• Unleash Their Passionate Pursuits

• Live with an Entrepreneurial Spirit

• Work With a Generous Purpose

• Embrace Their Cultural Promise

The Outcomes

During these trainings, non-Hispanic and Hispanic leaders gained an understanding of these six common Hispanic cultural characteristics and how to apply them to lead their Hispanic associates and build their Latino business as they:

• Familiarized themselves with the Hispanic mindset, how they think and their natural behaviors, to help increase associate productivity and client engagement, sales results, and market share.

• Understood the required tools and resources to build strong brand relationships with Hispanics by first learning who they are as people and how culture shapes their thinking and what motivates them to buy.

• Learned to create genuine relationships centered on trust and understanding where Hispanics feel they are authentically valued and respected.

• Gained proficiency in the multiple ways to build a Hispanic-led business and how it can organically accumulate its own intellectual capital over time that can be leveraged for success.

• Translated general market trends, avoid stereotypes and understand cultural nuances to maximize desired behaviors for their services and engagement with the brand.

• Learned to see through the Hispanic associate and client lens to consistently be more aware and culturally sensitive – to assure that they are not unknowingly creating tension points, before and during the relationship, that can threaten long-term loyalty.

• Unlocked the barriers and learned how to engage more actively with Hispanic franchisees more confidently to build trust and open up a dialogue.

Our program provided participants with the cultural insights needed to give the organization a significant competitive advantage and the intelligence to make the best strategic and tactical decisions. This training provided the cultural intelligence tools and resources to allow H&R Block to tap into previously unseen opportunities for Hispanic associate and business development success.

Client Testimonial:

“My perspective has been completely turned around ever since our first meeting. Your insights are simple yet spot on. You say the things that we are all thinking but don’t dare to say. Also, your virtual training is fantastic. It addresses reality and gives the tools to deal with if from a different perspective.”

Francisco Reyes - H&R Block Regional Director

To learn more about our Training Services, click here to contact us. 

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About the Author

CHL Academy

Training Academy

The cultural demographic shift™ in the United States is about the workplace and marketplace telling us that it is becoming less about the business defining the individual and more about the individual defining the business. This is exactly why Hispanics – both entering the workplace in search of the right employer who will allow them to be their authentic selves as well as those professionals who have been battling the gulf between assimilation and authenticity – are now ready to advance as 21st century leaders by activating their immigrant perspective; that is, the influence their cultural values have on the natural ways they think, act and are motivated to perform at work.