Over the past 10 years, I’ve had the opportunity to observe and advise on corporate diversity training. I always caution employers on their approach to diversity with members of the Millennial generation. In my experience, Millennials are bored, if not downright offended, by what they experience when it comes to diversity initiatives within companies. Here’s why:
- Most diversity classes focus on “difference” and the importance of the individual. Millennials would rather focus on what they have in common and the needs of the community over those of the individual.
- Millennials have a positive, unity oriented take on diversity where shared responsibility is key. They reject the polarizing outlook of older diversity trainers who tend to focus on rights and victims.
- As the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in American history, Millennials grew up with messages celebrating diversity. They see companies that have to talk about diversity as “behind the times.”
Employees make the decision to stay or leave a company within their first six months of employment. This is the time period when most Millennials attend their first diversity training. By 2014, the bureau of labor reports that Millennials will make up 1/3 of America’s labor market. Can your organization afford to polarize such a large population of your current and future workforce? Do you know the next steps to take ensure their commitment?
- Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group