Generally speaking, diversity can be defined as, “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements, especially the inclusion of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization.” From this definition, we can start to see how diversity can be broken down into different types.

The millennial generation is calling for greater diversity in the workplace. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the different types of diversity they’d like to see more of in the professional sphere:

  • Cultural & Generational Diversity – Cultural diversity refers to the inclusion of a range of characteristics, such as ethnicity, race, religion, language, and more. Generational diversity means various age groups are represented in one place. Today’s workforce is the most generationally diverse on record, with five distinct generations (from the Silent Generation to Gen Z) currently on the payroll.
  • Thought Diversity – People from different social and religious backgrounds, and people of different ages, all have different experiences and perspectives to bring to the table. This is called “thought diversity” and it is considered by millennials to be a crucial part of the D&I strategy for any organization.
  • Inherent & Acquired Diversity – An article on diversity and innovation by the Harvard Business Review suggests there are two different types of diversity: inherent and acquired. Inherent refers to characteristics that you are born with, e.g., race or ethnicity, while acquired traits are ones that you have developed through experience, e.g., working abroad and learning a different language.

The Millennial Impact on Workplace Diversity  

The majority of millennial workers are keen to improve diversity in the workplace – not just for themselves, but for all minority workers. Indeed, 76% of employees and job seekers said a diverse workforce was important when evaluating companies and job offers. They are putting pressure on companies to hire a more diverse workforce, promote workers of color, and to diversify their boards at the executive and directorship levels.

The National Association of Colleges and Employees (NACE) has been studying the increasing importance of a diverse workforce since 2008. In the first year, it was ranked 12th out of the 15 options, but in 2020, NACE revealed that working for an organization that values diversity had become more of a priority for new graduates. In fact, almost 80% of those surveyed rated it as “very important” when applying for jobs.

Even in the post-pandemic economy, millennial job seekers are keen to wait to find employers whose values match with their own. This means that, in order to attract the top talent in today’s market, organizations need to focus on creating inclusive cultures (not just advertising themselves as diverse workplaces).

How to Improve Diversity in the Workplace

Creating an inclusive workplace can have many benefits for your organization, including:

To improve diversity within your organization, you should focus on the following five areas:

1. Training

Diversity and inclusion training can help employees and executives understand how different types of diversity will change the dynamics and performance of your teams. Instructors may also be able to provide you with strategies to help you overcome diversity barriers and improve communication between team members. 

2. Collaboration

A collaborative workplace culture encourages team members to work together and, most importantly, to learn from one another. This helps to improve employee relationships and satisfaction across the board.

Data from a 2020 Glassdoor survey indicates that 37% of employees and job seekers are put off by negative satisfaction ratings among people of color. So, it’s important to pay attention to employee satisfaction to ensure you can continue to attract top talent from all quarters.

3. Culture

In September, we heard from EU alumna, Victoria Williams, who is currently serving as the Global Corporate Implementation Manager at American Express. In her address to students, she highlighted the importance of creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace where employees feel safe enough to be their whole selves.

In an environment where employees don’t feel safe, they are less likely to volunteer their ideas or speak up during performance evaluations. Creating a safe and inclusive culture within your organization will encourage all your employees to contribute to the evolution of your business practices and ensure that diversity flourishes within your teams.

Read more about how diversity and inclusion are changing the face of business here.

4. Language

Embrace cultural diversity and understand the benefits of hiring multilingual employees. Far from creating a barrier to conversation, having a diversity of languages on your team can actually improve the way team members communicate with one another. Multilingual teams will improve your employees’ interpersonal skills and deepen their appreciation for other cultures. This is not only of benefit to them, but it also benefits you and your customers, who will feel like they’re getting a more inclusive experience as a result.

5. Progress

Ensure opportunities for progression are accessible to everyone within your organization, irrespective of gender, race, age, religion, or class. This will lead to the creation of an inclusive workplace in which every employee feels that they bring value to the company.

Diversity in education

At EU Business School, we are proud to have been named the worldwide education leader in diversity by QS Global MBA Rankings 2019, achieving full marks in the categories for international faculty, student nationalities, and gender balance. Our student body is made up of people from over 100 countries worldwide, and our students speak an average of 3+ languages each.

Is diversity at school and in the workplace important to you? Do you want to study in an international environment where you can learn from and collaborate with people from all around the world? Do you want to experience a rich academic culture that encourages entrepreneurial thinking and leadership?

Read about our Mission & Values and explore our Programs page, to help you find the perfect business course for you.

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