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Millennials and Diversity: Cultivating a Culture of Inclusion

Aha moment: Is your organization intentional about diversity and inclusion for Millennials?

The composition of the modern American workplace is changing.

The growth of Millennials entering the workplace is happening steadily and the impact can’t be ignored.

It is projected that Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce in the next ten to fifteen years.

This means that organizations will have no choice but to get on board or be left behind.

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In order to fully welcome Millennials to the flock, there has to be an understanding of the way they view the world, the workplace, and their place in it.

This is especially true when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

How do Millennials see diversity?

This group, born between the early 1980s and late 1990s, has a unique way of seeing the world, probably largely due to the fact that they are the most culturally and racially diverse generation to date.

While older generations tend to view diversity in terms of race, demographics, equality, and representation, Millennials have a different definition.

They see diversity as a melding of varying experiences, different backgrounds, and individual perspectives.

The same disparate views exist between gen-Xers, Baby Boomers, and Millennials when it comes to inclusion.

 

Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers look at inclusion as having a representative of different races, genders, and other demographics all in the same workplace.

But it’s a whole different ballgame for Millennials.

They view inclusion in the workplace as a supportive environment that gives a voice to all different perspectives on a given issue, from the leadership to the newest hires. It is their perception that this type of diversity is what fosters true innovation, which is one of the most important job skills to possess.

A Millennial-inclusive workplace

Why is it important to provide a workplace that’s supportive of Millennials?

Think back to that 75% statistic! They are the future of the workplace.

Here are some ways to cultivate a culture that makes Millennials feel welcomed and valued:

  • Open communication. Millennials expect transparency and are willing to be transparent in return. Keeping the lines of communication flowing will ensure that you fulfill the Millennial’s need for cooperation and collaboration.
  • Relationships are big. The constant stream of interaction fostered by social media has widened the circle of influence. Millennials have large and diverse groups of people they are interacting with on a regular basis. They thrive on collaboration. Nurture the feeling of comradery in the workplace, because Millennials are motivated by feeling part of the team.
  • Value authenticity. Gone are the days of trying to pretend to be something you’re not to impress a potential employer. This new generation of employees won’t leave their true selves at home just to get ahead at work. They view their individuality as the key to innovation. Allowing them to unleash their creativity is good for business, too!
  • Work that matters. According to Forbes, 55% of Millennials aren’t engaged at work. What’s missing? One aspect is the feeling of having a purpose. They want to feel like their work means something and that their skills are adding something to the workplace.
  • Be flexible. Many Millennials desire to break free from a 9-to-5 schedule. Allowing them to adjust their work schedules or to telecommute suits them well. Remember, this is a generation raised on technology! They don’t necessarily see it as inappropriate to Tweet or text during a meeting, to have their phone on their desk at all times, or to share their feelings about the company on social media.

The face of the workplace is changing. The next generation can bring exciting innovation to an organization that is willing to make an accommodating shift in their direction.

How is your organization accommodating Millennials?

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