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Diversity And Inclusion Matters To The Workforce Of The Future

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Diversity and inclusion is an important part of any workplace! About two-thirds of millennials in the workforce believe it is a company's responsibility to give back to society and foster inclusive environments. Check out this article by Forbes that talks about how this growing generation is impacting the workplace in a positive way!

By Nish Parikh, Forbes

The idea of diversity and inclusion has permeated the world of business. Everyone seems to be talking about it in the context of establishing a society where traditionally underrepresented groups get their fair share of opportunities. As the world moves ahead, the workplace will evolve — not just in terms of technological revolution, but also in terms of its human composition.

Over a third of today's workforce — more than 56 million people — is of the millennial and post-millennial generation, or Generation Z. By 2025, this group will make up nearly 75% of the workforce. Once we wrap our heads around these staggering numbers, it only makes sense to examine the impact this largest (and growing) segment will have on the future workplace, especially in the realm of diversity and inclusion.

Questioning The Status Quo To Establish The Rules Of Fair Play

Having grown up in an era of cloud, social media and mobile computing, millennials and Gen Zers are used to staying connected with everyone all the time. Distance is no barrier, and neither is the name or fame of the person they wish to engage with. Driven by intellectual curiosity, they will likely lead a human revolution toward establishing a just world of work, where qualified individuals with unique abilities will be able to advance their careers without being pigeonholed as disabled.

The Intelligent Choice

Forward-thinking technology, pharmaceutical, management consulting and various other companies have started hiring people with autism, ADHD and other disabilities, embracing the future that is around the corner. While many companies are adopting diversity, inclusion is what millennials are rooting for.

Nearly two-thirds of millennials take interest in an organization's corporate social responsibility. In other words, an increasing number of millennials believe that organizations have a moral obligation to give back to the society in ways that create an inclusive environment for everyone to participate and thrive, regardless of their disability status. With a fresh outlook on life and endless quest for excellence, millennials are acting more responsibly than any generation before to lay the foundation for a unified world in which divisions and barriers will give way to harmony and accord — a world in which the open-ended power of diversity will win over the fragmented notion of "differences." Young Americans want to lead by example, and to that end, they are not even hesitant to make personal sacrifices such as accepting pay cuts to work for socially responsible organizations.

This is truly one of the major changes our society has experienced in the past 18 years. The 20th century built the foundation for a human revolution that would be guided by principles of equity and supported by rapid technological advancements. The 21st century has made us more aware and knowledgeable than ever before. Discoveries in science and technology have empowered us to think differently, act quickly and purposefully, and explore more efficient ways to improve healthcare, education and employment for billions of people globally. By presenting innovative ideas for inclusion acquired through experiential knowledge and social networking, millennials are constantly pushing businesses to have their finger on the pulse of the changing dynamics of corporate social responsibilities

Creating Shared Values For Diversity And Inclusion

One reason might be that millennials and Gen Zers have grown up watching young millionaires participate in generous philanthropic endeavors to support the causes that members of the young generation relate to and deeply care about. By giving away hefty portions of their fortunes, successful billionaires have presumably spurred the young generation to think about the disparity in the distribution of wealth that exists across different ability and income groups, and how to be more mindful of it through the creation of shared values. In his Harvard commencement address to the class of 2017, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg discussed the need for this generation to create "a world where everyone has a sense of purpose," which he described as the sense that people could make a profound impact on the bigger picture, through which authentic happiness could be attained.

Now to put Mark’s thoughts into perspective, diversity and inclusion is all about creating shared values by working together for a common mission, taking one small step at a time. The mission is bigger and more complex than individual roles and responsibilities, as there are numerous moving parts in an inclusive hiring program. The members of tomorrow’s workforce are ready to be more purpose-driven than their predecessors, and it is for the companies to harness their positive and creative energy into executable actions in alignment with strategic inclusion goals.

Roles and responsibilities are great for day-to-day activities, but we must create something more for the workplace — more mission-driven or empathy-driven initiatives. Employee resource groups are taking the lead and pushing diversity to the next level. This will bring more innovative ideas and unique models within organizations. If the leadership team becomes more open to learning and bringing in innovative ideas from millennials, those ideas will help organizations to expand.

Today the world is becoming more knowledgeable about and accepting of individuals with unique abilities, which is generating an ecosystem of inclusiveness. Millennials are out-of-box thinkers who visualize beyond their roles. They are more open and accepting to inclusiveness in society, and they generally strive to think beyond the “norm.” This helps create a cycle where millennials’ growth contributes to the growth of the business, and this is a pattern that businesses hoping for a long future cannot ignore.


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