Diversity is no longer about race, gender, and ethnicity, instead millennials are demanding that leaders foster inclusive cultures by building teams made up of people with the diverse opinions, experiences, and backgrounds necessary to achieve desired outcomes.
There is a growing generational gap in how diversity and inclusion is defined in today’s workplaces, according to “The Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion: The Millennial Influence” a new study by Deloitte and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. The research shows that Millennials see inclusion as vital to business success and believe cognitive diversity is critical to engagement, empowerment, business growth and competitiveness. In contrast other generations tend to view it through the traditional lenses of demography, representation, and assimilation.
The research also found that millennials believe inclusion is the support for a collaborative environment that values open participation from individuals with different ideas and perspectives and the unique factors that contribute to their personalities and behaviors. These generational differences could have major implications on the ways in which organizations seek to address diversity and inclusion. Additional findings from the research include:
- When defining diversity, millennials are 35 percent more likely to focus on unique experiences, whereas 21 percent of non-millennials are more likely to focus on representation.
- When asked about the business impact of diversity, millennials are 71 percent more likely to focus on teamwork compared with 28 percent of non-millennials who are focused on fairness of opportunity.
- Millennials are 33 percent more likely to disagree with the statement that their “work has an impact on the organization.” They are also 13 percent less likely to say they feel excited to go to work and that they are attached to their organization.
- However, 83 percent of millennials are actively engaged when they believe their organization fosters an inclusive culture, compared to 60 percent of millennials who are actively engaged when their organization does not foster an inclusive culture.
- Millennials believe that programs aimed at diversity and inclusion should focus on improved business opportunities and outcomes as a result of the acceptance of cognitive diversity, specifically individualism, collaboration, teamwork and innovation.
“With Millennials on pace to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 and as workplaces evolve, it is not completely surprising that there are stark differences in how generations view inclusion in today’s business environment,” said Christie Smith, managing principal, Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion, Deloitte LLP. “Our data makes it clear that diversity is no longer about race, gender, and ethnicity, instead millennials are demanding that leaders foster inclusive cultures by building teams made up of people with the diverse opinions, experiences, and backgrounds necessary to achieve desired [business] outcomes. It is important for organizations to recognize this shift and evolve their thinking or they may risk losing current and future talent.”