As the United States rapidly grows more diverse, it’s only logical that our workplaces follow suit. To make more representative businesses a reality, two-thirds of companies have implemented strategies to create more diversity among their employees. Although these initiatives attempt to remove bias from the hiring process, they’ve actually introduced a different kind of discrimination as hiring managers are compelled to recruit from only specific demographics.
This rigidity narrows a company's chances of finding the best new employees. Rather than increasing diversity by hiring a man, woman, Hispanic, Asian, or any other category for that matter, businesses should turn their attention to increasing inclusion. Being inclusive means keeping an open mind and approaching hiring holistically; it’s about bringing on people who offer great skills and unique perspectives that enhance the company’s culture.
Inclusion means truly accepting and integrating the differences that diversity brings. This practice involves giving every new perspective a voice in order to create goals that are beneficial for everyone. Because our world is now multicultural, business that reflect this will naturally do the best.
Yes, Millennials Need to be Included Too
When people think about diversity, the first things that come to mind often center on gender, sexual orientation, religion, and race. However, an important factor that often goes ignored is age. The oldest millennials are currently around 37 years old and many are ready to take on executive management positions. However, due to the lack of appropriate training and opportunity, promotion isn’t happening as quickly as it could.
This lack of inclusion for millennials stems from the cultural differences between them and the baby boomers. These differences often create some tension between the generations, as baby boomers tend to view millennials as lazy or incompetent. However, it’s inevitable that millennials will succeed their predecessors, and baby boomers in senior management roles need to embrace this fact and promote inclusivity. If older millennials continue being promoted slowly – if at all – they will likely seek other jobs.
It isn’t just millennials, though; everyone needs to be given the opportunity for career progression. One great way to do this is for companies to hire from within and provide adequate training to all their employees to create the next generations of leaders.
Education is Key
Most companies that promote inclusion offer diversity awareness training programs, which help to mitigate people’s unconscious biases. Like the term implies, most people aren’t even aware of their own prejudice. For that reason, it’s worth the investment to hire quality, professional trainers to reshape your team’s perspectives on inclusion.
Through proper education programs, companies can become more synergistic and productive, increasing their capacity to communicate and set mutually beneficial goals. These programs allow both the organization and the employees to get more in return for their time as they learn to be more effective through considering diverse perspectives.
Fostering Diversity and Inclusion
We no longer live in a world that is one color; we’re a blend. Having a company that represents this blend is the key to not only reaching the highest number of customers, but creating a more balanced workplace as well. However, creating this balance of cultures is not easy.
Focusing on diversity is only the first step. Doing so without eye for inclusion will foster a workplace where people have a hard time understanding one another due to their differences. Thankfully, through mindfulness and education, inclusion can be promoted in order to create an environment where our differences are no longer our biggest hurdle, but rather our greatest asset.