By: Jody Bell
Diversity is the language of the past; pushing for equal pay and equal representation is a given for this activist generation. They want more. They want equity.
Girls With Impact Graduate Kristen St. Louis, 17, hopes her future employers will “actively and intentionally mold spaces that are meant for people of varying backgrounds and experiences,” she said on the show, The GenZ Project with Jennifer Openshaw.
GenZ wants employers to be enacting policies that bring minority voices to the forefront, pursuing difficult company conversations and creating these policies to reflect this.
These are all incredibly large goals that can’t possibly be achieved overnight, so we heard from Girls With Impact graduates — GenZ CEO’s all under the age of 20 — on key ways that business leaders can incorporate equity now.
Avoiding the Diversity Quota Trap
Raina Jain, 17, is concerned about entering the workforce as a woman of color. She fears being offered a job simply to fulfill a company quota on diversity, as opposed to her “value brought to the company.” During the hiring process, executives must emphasize their knowledge of the applicant — not simply interview someone who fits the quota and fail to articulate why this applicant is a good fit outside of their race/gender. This same attention to detail must extend beyond the hiring process, ensuring that these voices are heard and not just there as diversity placeholders.
Retention Rates Over Representation
GenZ is examining retention rates of diverse employees to determine whether these companies have fallen into this “Quota Trap.” When retention rates are disproportionately low for women or minority employees, it says a lot about company culture. GenZ is no longer satisfied with knowing they are represented in the companies they aspire to work for; they want to know that they will be valued and happy — not replaceable employees.
As St. Louis, who is CEO of Mirror Me Diversity, puts it: “Diversity means absolutely nothing if your employees are not coming back.”
Benefits That Encourage Empowerment
Pushing for equity implies the understanding of a current inequity. The only way to truly acknowledge this and display this knowledge to your employees is through the empowerment of those at a proven disadvantage. St. Louis suggests professional development or financial literacy courses aimed at demographics that statistically do not have access to them. Including them as benefits is a great way to further communicate support towards these minority employees who must be brought to the forefront and empowered.
Avoid Greenwashing; Pursue Internal and External Social Good
To conform to social activism shifts seen within GenZ and Millennial consumers, many companies are adopting a “do-good” model that looks akin to social enterprises. However, for many companies, this is simply donating a portion of profits, and doing little more. This is often referred to as Greenwashing: doing some social good but promoting sales off the basis of this perception. Having a toxic company culture and unhappy employees whilst promoting themselves as a socially beneficial company is the “biggest turn off from any internship or any job I’ve ever held,” says Jody Bell, 18.
Time and time again this young generation is proving themselves as social and economic leaders at the forefront of this movement.
To learn more, download the report, What’s Inside the Minds of GenZ.
This content was originally published here.