April 14 | 2021
Normalising Diversity: Get ready to be held accountable
Recently, the majority of a panel of seasoned reputation experts in The Netherlands have declared it a moral duty for corporates, brands, and communication departments to increase diversity as diversity directly influences a good reputation1. The panel however also made it clear that there isn’t enough diversity in those very departments, whereas the studies underlining the competitive and creative benefits of diversity are literally everywhere2. So, even though it’s good to have a seniors’ perspective, let’s explore what our future colleagues have to say about this.
We asked our SuperHeroes Gen Z-panel what their 2-cents are and the results are quite straightforward: Gen Z will actually expect these departments to be diverse already. They unanimously deem it a dealbreaker in their choice of work environment if there is not enough representation. This new generation of marketers and creatives has a sense of diversity to an extent that it should be commonplace normalcy: The issue of needing to establishing diversity is old news to them and really, a no-brainer.
What these Gen Z’ers presently see in advertising does not link to their normalised diverse view of society: 85% are not happy with the level of diversity they see visualised. “It’s still a big deal when corporates choose diverse representation, I hope that normalises soon” (21yo creative graduate). “I feel like I’m constantly getting an overdose of stereotypes” (20yo marketing graduate). “There is more minority representation but not enough to accurately represent society by far” (24yo communications graduate).
These fresh talents will bring diversity as an internalized value to the workforce: “The more diverse the better, we need access to world-views that go way beyond the straight-white-middle-class-man’s perspective”(21yo graphic design graduate). “My generation understands the importance of diversity at a deeper level” (21yo creative business graduate). “We are open-minded and less traditional” (20yo graphic design graduate). “We’ll be the first generation with a normalised sense of diversity as opposed to it being something special (…) It won’t be a big deal anymore” (24yo arts graduate).
If brands and communication departments want to keep attracting talent, they can’t just wait for diversity to happen. The curve is way in hindsight. They need to take action now, as they actually should have done yesterday:
Include this new wave of thinkers, do not rely on experts alone. Bring in diverse talent, respect and nurture them to retain them and give them a seat at the table when it comes to decisions about diversity. But above all, don’t make the need for diversity a big deal. It’s not.
‘LITERALLY EVERYWHERE’, MEANS:
2 Some examples of ‘literally everywhere:
- 3 key insights when preparing for Gen Z according to a study with 3k Gen Z respondents:
1. In-person connection trumps virtual.
2. Get ready to be held accountable for Diversity and Inclusion.
3. Ethics are non-negotiable.
“Gen Z represents a tipping point as baby boomers move out and Gen X and Y move up (…) Gen Zers are eager to contribute and make their mark. The key is to respect them, nurture them, and focus their energy and enthusiasm. Companies that embrace Gen Zers and step up retention efforts will be rewarded with their hard work, good ideas and passionate engagement”
Get ready for Generation (study by Robert Half & Enactus)
- “Gen Z and millennials are the most diverse groups in history. Only 56% of the 87 million millennials in the US are white, as compared to 72% of the 76 million members of the baby boomer generation. (…) Many have personally experienced discrimination as a result of gender, ethnic background, disability or sexual orientation, and are seeking career opportunities that align with their ethics and social values (…) Companies must accelerate their efforts to create diverse, inclusive workplaces to meet the expectations of a generation who will be making career choices as much on values and sense of purpose as pay and progression.”
Diversity will be a workplace deal-breaker for Gen Z
- 68% of employees would consider quitting their current job to work for an organization with stronger viewpoints on the social issues that matter most to them.”
How Diversity And Innovation Drive Great Cultures In The Future Of Work
- “There’s something about deeply understanding and learning about another culture that’s transformative (…) even the simple act of reflecting on one’s deep relationship with a person from another country caused a temporary boost in creativity.”
Creativity And Diversity: How Exposure To Different People Affects Our Thinking
- “When members of a group have a lot in common, with similar points of view and shared biases, it’s likely that unconventional ideas will be disregarded or not even surface. But a team made up of people with widely different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can consider a problem from many angles. And with leadership that values difference, team members will feel empowered to explore approaches that would, otherwise, never be considered.”
Is Diversity the Key to Creativity?
- “A McKinsey & Company report found that firms whose executive teams were in the top quartile of gender diversity were 21% more likely to outperform others on profitability. And companies whose executive teams were in the top quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.”
Why Diverse Marketing Teams Possess A Competitive Edge
- “Eliminating the word “normal” is part of our Positive Beauty strategy to end discrimination in beauty, drive gender equality, and improve health, wellbeing, and inclusion.”
No more ‘normal’ in Unilever marketing