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5 Diversity Changes That Come With More Millennial Leadership

Posted by | September 1, 2017 | Leadership, Workplace

Via Forbes : 5 Diversity Changes That Come With More Millennial Leadership

Millennials are starting to take control in the workplace. There are now more than 75 million millennials in the workforce, more than baby boomers (just shy of 75 million) and Gen Xers (66 million). Now entering their late 20s and early 30s, the oldest members of the generation are starting to take more leadership positions in major organizations.

Despite the fact that millennials are sporting one of the lowest rates of entrepreneurship in 25 years, 60% see themselves as entrepreneurs, and 90% recognize entrepreneurship as a mindset.

Combined with their natural tendencies toward independent thought and mild to moderate anti-establishment vibes, this is making millennials a strong force of direction and leadership—and an even stronger one to come in the next several years.

In these new positions of leadership, millennials are likely to lead a push toward new modes of diversity and inclusion. According to a recent Deloitte study, millennials describe diversity and inclusion much differently than the generations that came before, and as a result, once millennials are in a position of greater power, we’ll likely see these changes in workplace diversity:

1. Bottom-line quota numbers disappear.

A long standby for diversity and inclusion programs has been deliberately measuring representation in terms of demographics. Going from three minority employees to six minority employees was seen as enormous positive momentum. When millennials take leadership, those bottom-line quotas are likely to disappear; rather than focus on representation, millennials prefer to focus on unique ideas and participation. It’s better to have one person who’s actively involved in decision making than nine people who aren’t an active part of the organization.

2. Minorities speak for minorities.

Millennials also favor the opinions, ideas, philosophies, and perspectives of minorities—straight from their own mouths. They’re not interested in speculating about what would be good for other populations; they’re interested in hearing those populations speak for themselves. This will prompt millennials to put minorities in more positions of power and influence, which will allow more minority-originated ideas to prosper. Plus, despite only comprising 23% of the total population, millennials represent 27% of the minority population—in some ways, diversity defines the millennial generation, and they’re just as likely to represent it personally as they are to encourage it from others.

3. Opportunities for connection and collaboration increase.

Millennials are 71% more likely to focus on teamwork and collaboration, rather than integration and tolerance. Instead of trying to force people to integrate, millennial leaders will look for new ways to encourage their teams to collaborate on projects and learn from each other.

4. Business impact reemerges.

Previous generations have focused on the external visibility of diversity efforts, seeking a more positive brand image or looking to appeal to new talent. Instead, millennial leaders will turn their attention toward achieving higher business impact, measuring how many decisions were created or significantly contributed to by minority groups. This won’t be focused on a numerical statistic, but instead will focus on talking to individual representatives to see how they feel about their involvement.

5. Thoughts and ideas are more openly discussed.

The real value of diversity in the workplace is the presentation and exploration of new ideas, originating from different perspectives and viewpoints. Accordingly, much of their diversity programs will focus on allowing the introduction and open discussion of new ideas from the widest group of people possible. In addition to including representatives of different genders and ethnic minority groups, they’ll also start reaching to people from different levels of the organization. The more opinions you gather, the closer you’ll get to the “best” option.

Will these changes be a positive thing for American businesses? Do they represent a “better” view of diversity and inclusion?

These aren’t easy questions to answer, but there’s no question that diversity is essential for the profitability and future of organizations. Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their non-diverse counterparts, and gender diverse companies are 15% more likely.

With profitability, productivity, and image all at stake, it’s essential for businesses to reevaluate how they think about and address diversity—even if it takes the generational philosophies of millennials to get the job done.

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