Retailers must prepare their corporate culture to embrace and keep pace with a rapidly changing future accelerated by a consumer-driven global economy. While I certainly don’t know all of the requirements to success in this upcoming era, I do know bright, creative people will increasingly be a competitive differentiator. Your workers will not only need to respond to the speed of change and innovations in technology and consumer communications, but they’ll also have to lead companies through change, be more culturally sensitive and think more globally.
On-the-job training likely won’t be enough. Employers will need to invest in the varied knowledge, expertise and experience of men and women all along the spectrum of today’s multi generational, multicultural workforce. A talent base that’s a salad mix of skills, experience, backgrounds, races, generations, nationalities and genders working in a culture that empowers emerging leaders through training will be critical to attracting and retaining workers capable of successfully managing our Companies.
Through his pioneering efforts in workforce diversity, Safeway CEO Steven Burd recognises what a study by the nonprofit group Catalyst has confirmed: Women are good for business. The study, cited on the website for the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference hosted by PMA Foundation for Industry Talent, reports that return on equity and total return to shareholders were 34 percent higher in companies with the highest numbers of women included in senior positions. Thanks to his diverse team of minds, Burd, knew long ago what would be important to Safeway’s sustained success.
Managing talent diversity also means finding common ground and bridging the gaps in the generational divide to help attract young talent. Traditional business culture stands to change significantly as companies redefine how they do business to combat challenges in attracting the next generation of leaders. Let’s be honest: Students these days don’t typically view retail grocery as a career. Long hours, on-call requirements, lack of formal training opportunities, and reluctance to adopt new technologies are just some of the barriers. Changing our business culture to broaden and educate our workforce not only helps secure the diverse expertise needed in the modern marketplace, but also helps to attract people seeking full-time, long-term work in the numbers required to ensure development of future industry leaders. This culture change isn’t a bad thing.
As Seth Mattison, a millennial guru and one of the presenters in PMA Foundation’s Young Professionals Webinar Series, says: “All of a sudden, this new generation comes into the workplace, and they want balance and fl ex time. There’s resentment on the part of older generations who had to slog it out no matter what was happening on the home front. But wouldn’t it be great if this new generation just opened the door for all of us?”