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More Workforce Millennials Means More Diversity (and Art!)

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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More Workforce Millennials Means More Diversity (and Art!)

 

If you have millennials at your workplace, you need more diversity and inclusion.

 

And you need the arts.

 

Here at the pARTnership Movement, we’ve covered the expectations of the private sector taking a stand and ways the arts can tackle top CEO concerns. With a new report released by Deloitte and Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, The Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion: The Millennial Influence, we’ve got even more reasons for your business to partner with the arts.

 

The Radical Transformation outlines differences in the way that millennials think about and engage with ideas of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Within the next six years, this population will comprise almost 75% of the workforce, meaning the way they define values of diversity and inclusion will require businesses to adapt.

 

According to the study, “83 percent of millennials are actively engaged when they believe their organization fosters an inclusive culture, compared to only 60 percent of millennials who are actively engaged when their organization does not foster an inclusive environment.” This engagement stems from the millennial perspective that diversity is more than representation of folks from various communities and identities. Rather, diversity is about connection, understanding, and respect—it is about using the different experiences and ideas to create spaces and teams that push business towards innovation. Likewise, millennials do not view inclusion as acceptance and tolerance like older generations. Instead, inclusion means a vested interest in collaborating across diverse communities.

 

The report also showed that “millennials are less satisfied with their workplaces than members of older generations, and many point to a lack of leader emphasis on cognitive diversity and inclusion as a cause.” Moreover, millennials change jobs approximately every two years. Creating environments that take cognitive diversity into account would not only lead to more innovation and problem solving, but higher rates of retention.

 

How, you may ask, do the arts play into this conversation around diversity, inclusion, and the millennial workforce?

 

Data from our Business Contributions to the Arts Survey, conducted in partnership with The Conference Board,  shows that “the arts can be an important component of diversity and inclusion strategies because of the opportunity to support the cultures of minority employees, presenting arts organizations with a strong opportunity to form meaningful partnerships.”

 

Moreover, the arts can be used in cross-cultural communication and understanding. Don’t believe us? Check out how limeSHIFT’s workshops are invigorating the workforce. “The arts make up a significant percentage of how humans communicate with each other and see each other…Becoming aware of others’ mode of operating is essential to our own success. Understanding our similarities and differences is the foundation on which one builds healthy relationships.”

 

Still don’t believe us? Ask Floyd Green III how Aetna “uses the arts to drive diversity and inclusion.” The company “value[s] art so highly because it brings a different perspective to traditional ‘training.’ It helps to connect our employees to ideas in a creative and organic way.”

 

Not yet? Kindly refer to the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), who passed a resolution stating “that the United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms the value of the arts in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; and … that the United States Conference of Mayors encourages businesses to leverage arts-based partnership to achieve internal and external diversity, equity and inclusion goals.”  

 

The bottom line is that businesses need to change. As millennials become more prominent in the workforce, businesses need to adapt to shifting definitions of diversity and inclusion. One of the best ways to do so is the arts. By engaging employees in meaningful arts training and experiences with a diversity and inclusion lens, companies can develop more innovative individuals, stronger teams, and better bottom lines.

 

Photo: cover page of Deloitte and Billie Jean King Report The Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion: The Millenial Influence

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