Monday 28th October marks the beginning of National Inclusion Week 2020. This year’s theme, Each One, Reach One, highlights the duty organisations and individuals have to help others understand the opportunity of inclusion and connection.
Events this year have highlighted and exacerbated inequalities in our society – the increasing digital divide, systemic racism and the impact of a global pandemic on jobs and mental health, all under the loom of a recession. As we brace for the inevitable social and economic fall-out, it would be all too easy to tell ourselves that diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a luxury that we can revisit post crisis.
However, D&I is as important now – if not more so – than ever before and it is imperative that business don’t let it slip off the agenda. This rings especially true for Generation Z , who will emerge into the world of tomorrow, one which we do not yet know. For Gen Z, D&I matter. From social equality to climate change, this is a generation that takes decisive action.
When it comes to work, Intel conducted research which found that a majority of Gen Z — those ages 18 to 24 — in the UK would be hesitant to take a job from a company that does not have diverse representation in senior leadership roles. In choosing between competing job offers, a company’s stance on D&I are almost as important as the pay offered.
The dramatic workplace changes introduced in response to COVID-19 have provided organizations the opportunity to reset team dynamics, particularly as remote working is likely to become a mainstay for many businesses. This major shift can, and should, also serve as a catalyst to embed more inclusive practices and more effective leadership skills making the workplace more attractive to Gen Z in the future.