Using Pop Culture as a Tool to Bring Diverse Workforces Together

— July 12, 2019

Communicating to and seeking to inspire your employees will always be an exciting challenge. When seeking to inspire, it can’t be all business 24/7 or that message gets tuned out. So, you may be asking yourself, what tool will make your re-purposed information interesting, attention grabbing and appeal to your likely diverse organization? Consider pop culture.

The use of pop culture enables a common language between an otherwise diverse group of people. And this is just what most businesses employ – diverse groups of people. Diverse by generation, by gender, by background, by religion, by political ideology. Companies typically have employees who cover a broad spectrum of backgrounds, often linked only by their talent and knowledge for the industry in which they work.

Connecting with your employees through pop culture can become your greatest communications tool. Today’s workforce is the most connected workforce ever, and employees want to know their employer is just as connected. Why? Because there’s no reason not to be. Being connected is what drives our society for the good and the bad. By intertwining pop culture and your workforce, you’re finding an alternative way to speak with employees in a language they all understand.

By definition—and there are many definitions for pop culture – the term itself represents a collection of thoughts, ideas, attitudes, perspectives, images, etc., that are known to the mainstream population at a given point in time. In other words: solid points of reference which serve as a common denominator for communicating ideas. Among the most common pop culture categories are entertainment, celebrities, sports, news, politics, fashion and technology.

Finding communication avenues in which you make these references is even more important. How your employees receive your messaging and in what setting will also set you up for success. One recommendation is to develop an intranet if you don’t already have one. This will be your employee’s main source for everything news. By setting up a central hub for communication, you’re giving all employees the ability to connect with the organization. Here are three ways, through an intranet, you can infuse a bit of pop culture to make your message stand out:

  • Fun Quotes: Create different forms of messaging that will enable employees to connect through pop culture. For instance, have a fun ‘quote of the day’ and let employees submit a favorite (and business appropriate) quote. Quotes range from lyrical, sports, reality tv to movies. By creating this outlet, it’s not only simple, but also encourages employees to participate. Employees then can express themselves and connect with the organization through their eyes.
  • News Spotlights: Select weekly, newsworthy topics that need to be discussed, but put a spin on them. Throw a humorous pun in there. Reference something happening in the world. Connect it to a song lyric. Each week employees will be waiting for the new spotlights with a fresh outlook on internal communications. Repurpose those spotlights in a weekly email. Some employees are in the field more than they are looking at a computer screen. By sending an email, they can still stay connected with the organization in just a click of a button.
  • Leadership Blogs: How well do your employees know their leadership team? Do they feel connected and a sense of trust? Have your leadership team write quarterly blogs that connect life, work and pop culture together. Enable and encourage comments from employees. This can spark camaraderie, group discussion and relationship building among employees and your leadership team.

Need another avenue? Even though many see internal communications as the holy grail of connecting with their employees, there are still other avenues. One of my personal favorites is through music and intertwining a song with yearly business objectives. Don’t shy away. Use that song in everything. Mesh this theme at an annual meeting and how the meaning of that song will help the organization succeed that year. Use the song at a holiday party. Heck, play it at the beginning of meetings to remind employees what the goals are for the year. Music not only takes individuals back to a place or time in their lives, but it allows an otherwise diverse organization to connect.

In short, use pop culture to stay united with cultural shifts, your organizational values and most of all your employees.

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Author: Steven Handmaker

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