• Differentiating Between Diversity and Inclusion

    September 21, 2015 by

    The workforce is filled with people from all walks of life. Employers hear about diversity and inclusion, and choose to either embrace it or ignore it. Perhaps employers who choose the latter need more information about diversity and inclusion. For example, how can they differentiate each idea?

    To help explore these issues, College Recruiter is hosting a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29th at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco. Join us.

    Prior to that event, we’ll publish the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. In today’s article, Anne Fishman differentiates between diversity and inclusion.

    ann fishman

    Ann Fishman, President of Generational Targeted Marketing, LLC

    Diversity is simply what makes you different, such as your gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, or religion. I think the most critical diversity in today’s workforce has been overlooked. This is the first time in America’s history we have had so many generations working together. Knowing and respecting generational differences could eliminate many problems associated with diversity in the workplace. Generations are neither older nor younger versions of ourselves. For example, Millennials (1982-2000) grew up in a 500-channel universe. They can watch TV, talk on the phone, text, and Tweet all at the same time, so that makes them great at multi-tasking. But, it also can make them terrible on long, drawn out projects. Once you know this, you simply break down longer projects into smaller pieces.

    Inclusion is simply a company culture that makes you feel as if you are part of a team and are working in a nurturing environment. This is key with our two younger workforce generations: Millennials and Gen Xers (1961-1981). They will quit and move on if you don’t get them. Picture this: A new Gen X employee walks into your office on day one. It’s two hours into the morning of the first day on the job, and the Gen Xer offers you, the boss, a new idea. You may be a Baby Boomer (1943-1960) who feels as if the Xer needs to pay dues before a change is suggested. However, if that boss gives a knee-jerk no, the Xer is already thinking about looking for another job where new ideas are at least considered, no matter what. Why? Xers were the first generation to value the concept that it is the quality of the idea alone that should matter. I call it “Internet thinking.” Gen Xers grew up visiting chatrooms on the Internet. Chatroom visitors did not know the age, education, sex or experience of other visitors, so it was only the quality of the ideas being chatted about that mattered.

    Knowing the strengths and challenges of America’s generations shows respect for what makes employees different (diversity) and gives those employees a chance to love their jobs (inclusion).

    Ann A. Fishman was awarded four U.S. Senate Research Fellowships to study generational trends and taught generational marketing at New York University. She is president of Generational Targeted Marketing, LLC, a specialized marketing firm providing insights into the preferences, trends, and buying habits of each of America’s six generations. She is the author of Marketing to the Millennial Woman.

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