Author Topic: Corporate Culture  (Read 34 times)

Offline MH

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Corporate Culture
« on: June 08, 2017, 05:48:59 pm »
The scene is a Townhall meeting at the bank (corporate) where I work.  The crowd is mixed... high diversity for a corp, I would say, including various ages.

I love the SVP but he is a young cheesy type.  A bit of a dotcom doofus but considering the usual herd of grey-haired zero-initiative executives, he is inspiring and a breath of fresh air.  But he comes across cheesy as I said.

SVP takes the mike, and I paraphrase:

"Thanks for coming. (Points to his bank-branded pride tshirt).  Who likes Pride ?!? (Polite applause with some tepid woo-hoos) Cause I'm going to be there on the weekend, and if you see me I *might* be scantily clad ! (nervous bourgeois laughter)"

He then told a story about diversity, and that they had 4 little girls visit that day and had to explain to them that women only make 75 cents on the dollar.  The closer was a call for all of us to do better for diversity.

----

Now, there were plenty of things you could pick at with this.  Financial organizations are about the worst in having women at the top levels, and he and his minion helping him out with this are dudes, but still... the message was given out.  I'm not sure if this situation would surprise people who don't work inside big corps, and I'm curious about that aspect, but this occurred to me:

It's a lot easy to be liberal and generous when you have money.  There's a lot of money in this town and a lot of Liberals.  Maybe if we just wrote cheques to the conservatives to shut up they would get on board with all of this stuff.

What do you think ?  If you have worked in a corp, as I have for many decades, how have you seen things change ?

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Offline kimmy

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Re: Corporate Culture
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2017, 05:41:56 am »
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What do you think ?  If you have worked in a corp, as I have for many decades, how have you seen things change ?

I have never worked in such an environment.  However, I have a hunch that large corporations who do business with the general public are very eager to  appear super-inclusive and concerned about fairness, regardless of how the fossils who run them personally feel.   I'm a little surprised that they couldn't find a female to help the SVP (Senior Vice President in charge of mid-west marketing? I don't know acrynyms) deliver his presentation, even if it was just Janice from the HR department.

A few years ago when the news broke about the Royal Bank trying to outsource jobs to India, I fired off an email to my banker asking what's the deal, and casually mentioned that I was thinking of taking my mortgage elsewhere.  She replied that she didn't personally know anything, but promised to pass my concerns along.  Later the same day I got an email from somebody with a higher-up job title, no doubt a form letter composed in response to thousands of other complaints like mine.  They promised to take my concerns seriously and to reevaluate the situation and so-on.   I think that overall the strategy is to get away with as much as they can, but dial it back just a little when the public gets mad at them.   Regarding their enthusiasm for Pride and for supporting female employees and so on, I think it's similar... it's something they can do to score some cheap PR points without actually spending any money.  It doesn't cost them anything to talk about how much they love gay people or how much they support working women.  They spend a few bucks to have their logo at Pride or other events?  Sure, why not?   Gay people have money and buy houses and buy RRSPs and stuff like that... sponsoring Pride might help generate some warm-fuzzy feelings towards their brand.  Big corporate support for gay people is still fairly new... gay people are used to feeling somewhat ignored or unloved, and vocal support from a big corporate entity is probably feels somewhat validating, especially for gay people who were older and grew up in a time when nobody supported them.  Dollar for dollar it's probably more effective than expressing their support for moms because everybody says they support moms and moms are probably numb to all these expressions of support by now.

I'm probably drifting away from your topic... but overall I suspect that the mindset is born from a marketing perspective.  Being seen as caring is good for business. 

Was the audience at this presentation mostly front-line workers? middle-management types?


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but this occurred to me:

It's a lot easy to be liberal and generous when you have money.  There's a lot of money in this town and a lot of Liberals.  Maybe if we just wrote cheques to the conservatives to shut up they would get on board with all of this stuff.

I'm not sure why being broke would be an excuse for being bigoted.  It's not like treating people with respect costs money (it might actually save you money, as Ezra Levant has discovered after his slander appeal was denied today.)


 -k

Offline MH

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Re: Corporate Culture
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 06:03:42 am »
   I'm a little surprised that they couldn't find a female to help the SVP (Senior Vice President in charge of mid-west marketing? I don't know acrynyms) deliver his presentation, even if it was just Janice from the HR department.


Oh, Janice was there.  She introduced him but he was the king of the rodeo.  Later presentations were done by an Indian Janice who will be a VP in 2040 probably.


Quote
A few years ago when the news broke about the Royal Bank trying to outsource jobs to India, I fired off an email to my banker asking what's the deal, and casually mentioned that I was thinking of taking my mortgage elsewhere.  She replied that she didn't personally know anything, but promised to pass my concerns along.  Later the same day I got an email from somebody with a higher-up job title, no doubt a form letter composed in response to thousands of other complaints like mine.  They promised to take my concerns seriously and to reevaluate the situation and so-on.   I think that overall the strategy is to get away with as much as they can, but dial it back just a little when the public gets mad at them. 

As somebody who works in the industry, I found that story fascinating.  First of all, outsourcing started during Y2K *preparation*, ie. 1998-1999.  My career at that time was ruined by Chretien allowing offshoring and I had to retrain and take a job with a 50%+ salary cut after 10 months of unemployment.  There was no mention of this in the media that I could see despite 1000s of jobs being affected.  CGI, a big Canadian consulting firm, just laid off people and told the rest to take a pay cut or suck it.

But if you threaten the dairy industry, close a factory or threaten culturally familiar jobs you will be on the front page.

Gartner Group declared offshoring 'dead' in 2013.  That meant that all the jobs that were going to Asia were gone there and our jobs would start to grow again.  So when this story hit the news, it was like hearing that Blacksmithing was under threat or something.

This is why - despite being left of centre - I think that our political economy discussions are bullshit and am now favour of global trade.  People wring their hands at the loss of 'jobs' but in fact they vote with their dollars.  It's a hollow concern to worry about "Canadian jobs".


Quote
Regarding their enthusiasm for Pride and for supporting female employees and so on, I think it's similar... it's something they can do to score some cheap PR points without actually spending any money.  It doesn't cost them anything to talk about how much they love gay people or how much they support working women.  They spend a few bucks to have their logo at Pride or other events?  Sure, why not?   Gay people have money and buy houses and buy RRSPs and stuff like that... sponsoring Pride might help generate some warm-fuzzy feelings towards their brand.  Big corporate support for gay people is still fairly new... gay people are used to feeling somewhat ignored or unloved, and vocal support from a big corporate entity is probably feels somewhat validating, especially for gay people who were older and grew up in a time when nobody supported them.  Dollar for dollar it's probably more effective than expressing their support for moms because everybody says they support moms and moms are probably numb to all these expressions of support by now.

I'm probably drifting away from your topic... but overall I suspect that the mindset is born from a marketing perspective.  Being seen as caring is good for business. 

Was the audience at this presentation mostly front-line workers? middle-management types?


No, as I said it was a mix of old/young, male/female, and races.  Don't get me wrong, I think that these people are actually liberal and not feigning it.  But as I said, they can afford to be.  Kindness is easy when you can afford it.



Quote
I'm not sure why being broke would be an excuse for being bigoted.  It's not like treating people with respect costs money (it might actually save you money, as Ezra Levant has discovered after his slander appeal was denied today.)


 -k

Being broke isn't the same as having lost status as a middle-class person.  People who have lost status are bitter and angry and look to blame others.  The American economic elite sold their middle-country manufacturing jobs to Asia, thinking that there was still some kind of resilient American spirit.  In fact, those people had become used to relying on a company cheque and were ill-prepared to rebuild as their ancestors did.  So we have opioid addictions, rust towns and Trump.

Offline MH

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Re: Corporate Culture
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2017, 06:15:20 am »
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2015/11/04/outsider-presidential-campaigns-thrive-disaffected-voters-but-one-city-story-shows-disconnect/9Gqp6WiCtSUtCDmcldvejK/story.html

Waterloo Iowa is an example of what happened to middle America.  Many thousands of jobs were lost in that town, and it took 30 years (!) for it to come back. When it did, it did so on the foundation of immigrants who were resilient and willing to work for less.  The promise of prosperity for Americans raised on the company cheque met the reality of global economics.

Thread drift ( sorry moderator  :P )

----

In any case, it's not the politics of this so much that interests me, or the citizens of Waterloo.  You can see in the article that independents are rejecting the mainstream parties.  The cultural effects will be felt on the backs of economic change.  For my division of the bank corporate (digital, tech) we are benefiting from the new economy so the people can afford a little liberal pity, both emotionally and economically.

Offline cybercoma

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Re: Corporate Culture
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2017, 12:32:29 pm »
Corporations are very concerned with appearing inclusive when their target customer population is diverse.

Offline MH

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Re: Corporate Culture
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2017, 12:44:44 pm »
Corporations are very concerned with appearing inclusive when their target customer population is diverse.

Nobody in our group is concerned about external customers, brand appeal etc.  These are truly liberal people, trust me.


Offline kimmy

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Re: Corporate Culture
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2017, 11:13:08 pm »
Nobody in our group is concerned about external customers, brand appeal etc.  These are truly liberal people, trust me.

Ok, I believe you. It doesn't seem improbable that a gathering of urban professionals in Canada's most liberal city would have a lot of liberals in attendance.   But you also said that banks are pretty much the worst when it comes to representation of women at the upper levels.

Why the disconnect?  Why doesn't the liberal corporate culture result in more women making it up the ladder?

 -k

Offline MH

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Re: Corporate Culture
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2017, 11:59:52 pm »
  But you also said that banks are pretty much the worst when it comes to representation of women at the upper levels.

Why the disconnect?  Why doesn't the liberal corporate culture result in more women making it up the ladder?

 -k

They have many thousands of employees.  There are many subcultures within the organization, but overall the people under the SVP are just middle class techies, so ... they are liberal.