Research from The Economist Intelligence Unit finds that a new definition of workforce diversity is emerging. It’s no longer just about the standard metrics: race, gender, and/or sexual orientation.
Driven by the entry into the workforce of Late-Millennials (defined as born 1993-2001), “diversity” is broadening to encompass life experiences, perspectives, beliefs and values.
As one local businessperson told this writer, “I sense these kids don’t want to get trapped into the echo chambers in which they see us elders operate.”
Echo Chambers are, by definition, a metaphor for a situation in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system. The business literature is strewn with stories about teams of incredibly smart people inside incredibly impenetrable echo chambers who produced incredibly disastrous decisions.
These new challenges coming from Late-Millennials are impacting the employer/employee relationship. Joanna Torsone, Chief HR Officer at Pitney Bowes, says the test facing leaders is “creating an environment that lets very different people be who they truly are while maximizing their talent to support high performance.”
A recent survey by the international consulting firm Deloitte confirms this. Their research reveals 9 out of 10 millennials feel that differences of opinion allow teams to excel. Others are noting the emergence of this idea. Writing in Forbes magazine, the business economist Bill Conerly notes that a mixture of what one might call conservative and liberal perspectives provide a vital balance to a company’s intelligence.
Late-Millennials are the first generation raised in a Twitter and Instagram environment where they’ve witnessed, shaming of their peers as well as watched adults have their lives and careers ruined. Today’s desire by the young for a more compassionate and tolerant approach may be the logical response to the attack culture of social media.
In past generations, the strategy for professional success was landing inside an organization and aligning oneself with the company culture. However, an increasingly engaged generation, coupled with a rapidly morphing social media environment, is driving many new staff to change the culture of their workplace.
Our freshest employees bring a deeper yearning for the type of diversity that goes beyond the usual parameters. Just when we thought we had a handle on managing young employees, a new crop emerges to challenge us in more complex ways.
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