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From Diversity to Inclusion: Being Relevant Matters

Aha moment: Creating a culture that’s Millennial-ready is good for your business. [Tweet]

Is your company culture ready for Millennials?

Is the environment inclusive of the ideas and innovation they bring?

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If the answer is “no” to either of those questions, then the time to make a shift is now.

The next decade will see the composition of the workplace transform.

It is projected that 75% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials.

As more of them prepare to enter the working world, it’s important to be ready to capitalize on what they can bring to the work table.

Diversity and inclusion are important qualities for rising generation, and they’re going to be looking for employment with a company that embodies these attributes.

As a company, it’s in your best interest to attract these open-minded innovators who could be the future leaders, CEO’s, and all-around talented assets to the business.

As the economy improves, more job opportunities will be available and talented workers will have choices about where they want to work.

The companies that have a culture of inclusion and that nurture Millennials in their ability to advance are more likely to retain their employees and have a hand in molding future leaders.

Keep the big picture in mind – a company is only as good as its employees.

You already know this:

Employing dedicated, talented people is good for business. In order to attract those dedicated and talented people, you must promote a culture of diversity that appeals to them.

Consider these statistics:

  • Companies that are gender-diverse surpass their rivals by 15%.
  • For companies that are ethnically diverse, the number is 35%!

It’s established that for Millennials to thrive in their work, diversity and inclusion are paramount.

The question is, how?

How to make diversity and inclusion work in your business

It’s one thing to talk about inclusivity, but putting it into practice can be more difficult. Here are some ways to implement these important principles:

  • Acknowledge the changing understanding of diversity and inclusion. Older generations tend to think of diversity and inclusion in terms of race, gender, orientation and protecting rights. Millennials have a far broader take. In addition to race and gender, they view diversity as allowing transparency for individual expression regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, generation, social responsibility, technology acumen, disability, and even personality type and style of thinking. They look for employers who champion an open system of collaboration where acceptance, not tolerance of one’s difference, is the rule. It’s wise for organizations to recognize the need for diverse thinkers who come from various backgrounds and are proud to use their individuality as a strength to drive growth.
  • Cultivate a workplace culture of inclusion. This can be achieved by giving weight to the opinions and voices of all different employees. Show that value is placed on what and how they think. Allow employees to draw on their own experiences and backgrounds to develop strategic plans and solve business challenges. Keep in mind that just creating a diverse workforce isn’t enough; the culture must be nurtured to deliberately include more voices in decision-making and leadership assignments. Employees need to see their work and culture celebrated within a team to inspire greater levels of performance, which ultimately allows the organization to thrive.
  • Realize that it’s a work in progress. Managing workplace inclusivity and diversity can be challenging. One way to overcome some of those difficulties is to implement new learning programs on collaboration and teaming that offer ongoing education to employees on how to unlearn biases. This will keep the company’s values and expectations at the forefront. Another way to keep the momentum going is allowing workers to voice their suggestions and/or grievances in a safe atmosphere that is directly connected to performance and leadership development. By using their voice, the employee develops skills, as opposed to derailing their career. Every company is different, but organizations will retain more of their talent when inclusion becomes a way of advancing employees and enriching the culture of high-performing teams.
  • Acknowledge that diversity and inclusion are driving forces for innovation. The force of different perspectives and ideas all coming together encourages creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. But organizations have to reward disruption and challenges to the status quo in how business gets done and ideas get generated  –  often brought on by Millennials  –  for innovation to have a fair playing ground. Keep in mind that the most creative solutions to generating positive revenue growth start by bringing the most widest perspectives to the table. Inclusion is necessary for innovation.

A growing and prosperous company of today is one in which plans are being put into place to create an environment where Millennials want to come and share their talents for the benefit of the business and know that their voice will be heard.

What measures have you taken to advance diversity and inclusion for Millennials?