It is unacceptable to not view diversity as an integral part of your business; in fact, your business will run the risk of missing out on the commercial benefits that diversity has to offer.
But lets look into the future…a future made up of an integrated society of workers who feel valued because their contribution to business sustainability is being recognised. A future where your vision of competition is based on your level of ethical and fair conduct as opposed to cutthroat tactics.
The thing is there is a problem with that vision.
The workforce of tomorrow will be made up of the young people of today. Young people who come from the diverse backgrounds and have the experiences and skills that will be integral to business success….but young people who feel that employment within many types of businesses, is not for them.
If this continues, the scarcity of not only adequate but also diverse staff will increase.
This will have a larger impact on the development of the business economy as a whole.
Through our youth development services, I have been able to get an insight into some of the reasons why many young people are turning to the creative industry, self-employment as well as negative means to meet their aspirational needs.
The younger generation have high aspirations for employment and seek people to inspire and motivate them but instead they feel that the unimpenetrable glass ceiling has been reinforced by a lack of cultural understanding and ignorance about them and their needs.
This seems to go hand in hand with their overall perception of business; a perception of successful business people being white, middle class and male.
Many believe the professional employment is not a place for people who are diverse, or even white, and from a working class background.
The lack of role models within positions of seniority across many sectors, seems to reaffirm their fears.
In our modern society, statistics show that more young people from diverse backgrounds are going to university because they need to compete effectively with their non-diverse counterparts.
However, many are already planning to use university as a foundation for entrepreneurship or work in other sectors because many believe they will not become successful working within the professional services sector.
This is because they feel that there is a lack of rapport, of understanding, of commitment to change in meeting both their employment and personal needs.
I myself remember that I was offered the chance to go to university but turned down the place on offer. This was because I believed that having practical experience would be more advantageous to me being from an ethnic minority background, than pure academic qualifications when it comes to competition in applying from jobs.
Companies within our sector need to ingest the understanding, that past generations within diverse communities have experienced all the things that our young people are going through. Stories are passed from father to son, mother to daughter as a tool of motivation for success.
What is de-motivating our young people, is the fact that even when they take the opportunities that their parents never had and increase their level of education, meet the criteria requested for jobs and feel they can do no more to achieve success, they look for support around themselves for people like them, and realise that things have not changed.
So what’s the answer? It’s very simple. Just ask yourself one question:
Are you diverse enough?
I don’t mean do your company statistics on ethnicity, older workers, disabled, women, etc. look good on paper. I don’t mean attend as many talks and seminars on the subject of Diversity to make yourself feel like your involved in the change process. I don’t even mean you must shout from the rooftops about how diverse you are.
If you were a young person thinking about finding the job that will kick start your career, the career that will take your family out of deprivation, the career that will enable your parents to come off state benefit, the career based on an acceptance of all you have to offer including new ideas, creative ways of thinking and access to new consumer markets, the career that will give your future children role models to be proud of, would you apply to work for the business you work for now?
As Founder and Director of Cultiv8 Solutions, I am committed to helping businesses in creating a culture of diversity through specialist recruitment consultancy and coaching.
But more importantly, I am committed to creating the future of tomorrow, a future that allows all businesses to become successful based on how they are not what they are.
Are you ready for tomorrow?
Source : Business 4 Brunch