Diversity and Inclusion - Expected Norms in Today's world?

Thankfully we live in different times to when many of us were brought up and these terms are often thrown around without a real understanding.

One way to understand these terms is through a famous saying we feel best exemplifies these concepts: “Diversity is being invited to the party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.” We believe this saying perfectly encapsulates how Generation Z would describe these terms, too. To them, unlike previous generations, diversity and inclusion are not bonuses—they are expected.

Statistically, Generation Z is the most diverse group of people in history. Looking at many categories regarding diversity, Generation Z truly has more diversity than all the older generations, which is partly why they likely value diversity and inclusivity significantly compared to leaders like us. We value being included and diversity, but in today's world, Generation Z is an example of why we must include diversity and inclusivity in our organisations.

Why Diversity Matters—To Generation Z and the World

Diversity is a significantly important topic, but one that has lasting implications even beyond what many imagined. You may think diversity is simply categories and records of the type of people working in your industry or your organisation, but it's so much more. Diversity can significantly impact the operations and productivity of even the smallest firms.

With an appropriately diverse organisation, you can encourage innovation, ensure a fair and just society, and even include multiple perspectives to find the best possible pathway for a project or task. If you have a group of people who think the same, grew up the same, and went to the same school, you're not likely to have many transformative ideas. 

However, expand the horizon to more schools, backgrounds, and even different income disparities among populations, and you'll see a breadth of opportunity to truly see all angles of a situation. And because Generation Z is so significantly diverse, as we mentioned before, they care significantly about how diversity is represented in the organisation and how it is dealt with, whether it is an additional feature or a given to the work environment.

How Generation Z Sees Inclusion and Its Impact on Organisations

Generation Z sees inclusivity quite similarly, seeing that it is an absolute requirement for organisations because of the increasingly diverse nature of the world. Inclusivity leads to a fair society, much like diversity, and ensures everybody can contribute. The days when people must wait to be in management to contribute are no longer. Still, Generation Z sees a world where everybody contributes, regardless of rank, experience, or background.

One example of the great inclusivity Generation Z would like to have worldwide is that statistics show that 59% of Generation Z want more gender options included on forums. Now, this is only one of several examples. Still, it further points to the desire for everybody to be seen for who they are and their unique individuality. This can significantly benefit organisations, at least when dealt with appropriately.

Why Do These Issues Matter to Generation Z So Much?

We have touched upon briefly why Generation Z feels so passionate about diversity and inclusivity. Still, we haven't truly explored how diverse they are and why they care so much about this topic. Statistics show that 83% of Generation Z state this is their primary concern with employers, and 75% would even reconsider a job if it weren't as diverse or inclusive as expected.

In the US Generation Z, only 52% identified as non-Hispanic white, while one in four Generation Z citizens are Hispanic, 14% are black, 6% are Asian, and 5% are two or more races. Generation Z is also the most educated out of every generation, and they are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to enrol in college, even complete a two to four-year degree. Remember. this generation has also seen many challenges, ranging from the Recession to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Not only this, but many Generation Z are also more open to diverse family dynamics, which may not be incredibly important for the workplace. However, it further shows how their diversity transcends into every area of their lives. Generation Z, with their expansive view of the world and the norms they abide by, values diversity and inclusivity because their generation is the most diverse. Therefore, we must do our best to incorporate these values into our work.

How to Improve Diversity and Inclusivity in Our Organisations 

So, with Generation Z focused on diversity and inclusion, how can we bring this to our organisations?

There are several ways that you should include diversity and inclusion in your organisation, but before you start with any implementation, be sure to identify any gaps and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you consider everyone’s point of view in meetings? Is diversity of thought a consideration?
  2. How diverse is your current team? Your organisation?
  3. Does everyone seem engaged, or do some participate less?
  4. What initiatives are working to promote inclusivity and diversity? Which ones need to be fixed?
  5. How do I lead others and model inclusive practices that recognise and celebrate organisational diversity?

Once you've answered these questions, you'll have a pretty good idea of where you stand, both in your leadership and the organisation. Don't just make this a tick-box exercise for diversity and inclusion.

Think about real change because whether we like it or not, Generation Z is the most diverse population in history. If they will lead the future industries and companies we are currently leading, then let them influence how we adapt our organisations.

Improve Your Management and Prioritise Inclusion and Diversity 

The future of industries and organisations requires diversity and inclusion as a paramount expected norm. If we can all contribute and adapt, we can help Generation Z become formidable leaders that will pave the way for progressive change. However, the only way to do that is to formally recognise their diversity and their value of inclusivity, which will only help us become better as organisations and leaders.

On April 4th, we have a new course launched in London, and we hope to see you there, as we will share important insights about managing and leading in today's society. You can read more about this here. Additionally, if you're looking for new reading material for 2024, our upcoming book, Decoding Gen Z : Bridging the Mindset Gap will be available this month.

Remember this generation is our future.

Claire and Ralph