6 Reasons to Be an Inclusive Leader

Elevated performance, more innovation, and engaged employees are just a few benefits of inclusive leadership.

Seventy-eight percent of people believe diversity and inclusion is a competitive advantage, according to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends research. And 69 percent of executives rate diversity and inclusion an important issue (up from 59 percent in 2014).

Today’s leading organizations and forward-thinking leaders understand that diversity and inclusion is much more than a buzz word, it’s a business strategy capable of driving company performance, enhancing innovation, and engaging and retaining employees.

Inclusive leaders embrace, value, and provide a sense of belonging to all people. Inclusive leadership provides the competitive advantage necessary to outperform in today’s highly diverse and disruption-prone workplace and marketplace.

6 Reasons to Be an Inclusive Leader

1. Workforce diversity is accelerating

Forty-five percent of U.S. Millennials (the largest generation in the workforce) are minorities. And the post-Millennial generation, Generation Z, that has begun entering the workforce is even more diverse. And by 2023, people of color will be a majority of the American working class.

2.Generational diversity is expanding

The average global life expectancy of humans in 1900 was 31 years-old. Today, that has extended to 72 years-old. Due to advances in medicine and technology, humans are living longer, thus working longer. Longer careers will expand the number of generations in the workforce from five to six, seven, or eight.

3. Attract, retain, and engage Millennials

Eighty percent of workers indicate inclusion is important when choosing an employer. And 53 percent of Millennials would leave their current organization for a more inclusive one and 30 percent have left an organization for a more inclusive one. And according to Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, Millennials felt more engaged, empowered, and authentic when they believed their organization was inclusive.

4. Unlock more innovation

Eighty-five percent of enterprises agree that diversity results in the most innovative ideas. Non-diverse teams are likely to approach a problem from a similar vantage point, ultimately narrowing the possible solutions. Conversely, a diverse team is better equipped to approach a problem from various angles, likely shortening the time it takes to arrive at a suitable solution. Inclusive leaders can leverage their team’s cognitive diversity to be more innovative. (Read this to learn how to leverage Generation Z to be more innovative.) 

5. Outperform the competition

Companies with inclusive practices in hiring, promotion, development, leadership, and team management generate up to 30 percent higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors. Diverse teams led by an inclusive leader outperform.

6. Technology has streamlined

Ubiquitous connectivity has opened the door to a global workforce and various technologies have made employee communication and collaboration across countries effortless. Additionally, with the increased focus on the bias (conscious and unconscious) that exist in recruiting, many new technologies have emerged to reduce biases such as Pymetrics and HireVue. (Read this for other innovative tools to recruit Generation Z.)

This will be my last article for this column. Thank you for your attention over the years. You can continue to follow my work as a speakerauthor, co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies #1 asset—their people…and as President of Top Rock University, a digital university where students can earn a bachelor’s degree for a fraction of the cost and time of a traditional university all via their smartphone.

Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies’ #1 asset, their people.

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