by Tisa Jackson
Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion
Union Bank, N.A.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, by mid-century, racial minorities (African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans) will be the new majority. As the U.S. majority population shifts into the minority position, the approach of diversity and inclusion professionals needs to adjust accordingly. We will need to shift our practices to reflect the new and changing demographics. What we define as diversity and how we measure diversity will differ because expectations have evolved along with our demographics. Companies must realize that changing demographics not only increase expectations to reflect customer diversity, but demographic shifts should also be reflected in their future talent pool.
“As the demographics in our country and our workplace evolve, diversity and inclusion professionals must remember that employee and customer expectations have evolved as well.”
Union Bank uses a multi-dimensional model adapted from Gardenswarz & Rowe’s four-layer model of diversity, which includes 25 dimensions of diversity. Personality is at the core of the model. Other layers include: internal dimensions (e.g., race, sexual orientation, disability, age), external dimensions (e.g., geographical location, education, marital status, religion) and organizational dimensions (e.g., business unit, tenure, level, work location). It is an inclusive model that reminds us that no two employees are alike, no matter how similar they may seem on the outside. As we recruit talent, market to our customers or build relationships with suppliers, we must remember that, fundamentally, their needs are basically the same; however, the way people expect those needs to be fulfilled may differ based on any of the aforementioned dimensions.
For example, African American employees of different generations may not view diversity and inclusion the same way. A Baby Boomer born between 1946-1964, who grew up in the Civil Rights era when affirmative action legislation was enacted, may have differing viewpoints on why diversity is needed and how it supports him or her, as opposed to an African American of Generation Z, born after 1991. They may be the same race, but their priorities and what they expect, want and need from the company could greatly differ.
As the demographics in our country and our workplace evolve, diversity and inclusion professionals must remember that employee and customer expectations have evolved as well. There is more diversity among our workforce and market as we manage multiple generations and increased ethnicities, and everyone is empowered to celebrate him- or herself as a whole.
Tisa Jackson, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion for Union Bank, N.A., has nearly 15 years of experience in this field as well as strategic human resources management, community development and organizational development. She is founder of the Professional & Technical Diversity Network (PTDN) of greater Los Angeles, a diversity consortium comprised of companies committed to diversity and inclusion. Union Bank is a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG, NYSE:MTU), one of the world’s largest financial organizations. Visit www.unionbank.com for more information.
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