Millennials Seek an Inclusive Work Environment, Study Says
Millennial employees find themselves more motivated by their personal values – such as having an inclusive work environment – and less by their employers’ goals, according to a recent study by respected consultant and audit specialists Deloitte. When those motivations fail to align, millennials are more likely to make changes in their career path.
This tendency has become more relevant in the workplace as millennials recently surpassed Gen Xers and other generations to become the largest in the American labor force.
A diverse generation
A report from the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers shows that millennials are not only the largest generation of Americans, but also the most diverse. This is due to:
- A large number of children born to immigrants.
- A greater number of citizens born in foreign countries than at any point before 1910.
This has created a more diverse population that places a higher value on the acceptance and value of diversity and the importance of inclusion in their daily lives, education, and workplace.
Ben Brooks, CEO of PILOT, a tech startup helping managers retain their best talent, explains, “Legacy diversity and inclusion was about quotas and compliance. Millennials see diversity as reality and the kind of world they want to live and work in.”
Importance of change
Many of the challenges of creating inclusive environments are most easily seen in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
- Females face gender bias in the National Institute of Health grant process.
- Bias based on gender has been identified in the paper publication rates of female astronomers.
- Racial discrimination still hurts minority income.
A lack of inclusion and diversity has created company cultures that have been historically hostile to women and minorities. Harassment and discrimination were once accepted as part of being active in the workforce.
Steps continue to be taken to address the issue in leading STEM industries where the lack of inclusive policies has been especially pronounced.
- New legislation addressing harassment and abuse in STEM research.
- Grants to promote partnerships and alliances in STEM fields for underrepresented populations.
- Conferences designed to generate new ideas on inclusive policy.
- STEM giants such as Google and Intel actively working to increase diversity within their companies.
Benefits of an inclusive work environment
Numerous studies have shown that companies benefit when they have a diverse and inclusive work environment.
- Mortality rates decreased for patients treated by female doctors.
- Companies led by women had higher rates of diversity.
- Increased accessed to talent.
The United States Office of Personal Management (OPM) further notes:
- Increased levels of innovation.
- Higher return on investment of workforce.
- Better ability to serve diverse communities.
Companies that wish to remain competitive in a global economy must become more diverse in their hiring and promotion policies.
Determining workplace diversity
One of the easiest ways for technologically minded Millennials to determine the diversity of a potential workplace is to complete digital research on those companies they are considering as employers. Company profiles on sites such as LinkedIn, published diversity policies, and individual initiatives and mandates that have been publically outlined are excellent places to start.
Organizations such as Fortune maintain annual listings of companies that are doing the most to promote company diversity and an inclusive work environment. Among the top performers in this review were:
- Texas Health Resources
- Delta Airlines
- Navy Federal Credit Union
- Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
- Ultimate Software
Lauren Hamer, a career expert with a disability, created Launch Point Resume to help other millennials find the perfect job that would honor their unique abilities and vision and inclusive work environment. Her advice to young job seekers is to investigate the company background and ask hard questions during the interview process.
She explains, “Their mission statements may say they support inclusive and diverse environments, but if they aren’t able to provide details on how that happens, then the statements are just empty words.”
Supporting evidence of a diverse and inclusive company culture may include:
- Demographic breakdown of employees.
- Demographic breakdown of those in management positions.
- An official management position for inclusion and diversity initiatives.
- Mentorship programs to promote advancement from within.
The Brookings Institute has found diversity is the defining characteristic of the millennial generation. In part this is due to the growing ethnic diversity of both the generation and the nation as a whole. As millennials move into the workforce in greater numbers, they will be reshaping the landscape of corporate America and the policies those companies promote.