My guest, Pranam Lipinski, has co-founded several innovative organizations whose missions are to serve diverse groups. He is the co-founder of Work with Gen Z, an organization devoted to educating employers on practices for creating effective work environments for the next generation of workers. He also co-founded Door of Clubs, an online platform that connects employers to diverse college student organizations. He has surveyed 15,000+ Gen Z’ers about the future of work, and held hundreds of focus groups with college student organizations. Pranam is passionate about bridging the understanding gap between Gen Z and other generations to create more empathy and effectiveness in the workplace.
This has long been a topic of great interest to me. I have so often in my training and coaching of leaders had to challenge harmful stereotypes around age and generation, and more often than not it is targeting younger employees.
Now some of this is human nature – you can go back centuries to ancient philosophers and hear the same messages ringing through history. In fact, there’s a quote I love that came from the Greek poet Hesiod in 700 BC:
“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.”
That quote could easily have come from many of the organizational leaders I coach these days!
For the workforce of today and tomorrow, a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is not just a nice to have. It’s a requirement. In a survey conducted by Glassdoor in September 2020, 76% of employees and job seekers said a diverse workforce was important when evaluating companies and job offers. Nearly half of Black and Hispanic employees and job seekers said they had quit a job after witnessing or experiencing discrimination at work. And 37 percent of employees and job seekers said they wouldn’t apply to a company that had negative satisfaction ratings among people of color.
the expectations have steadily increased in importance as well. In 2008, a survey conducted by the national association of colleges and employers found that new graduates ranked the importance of a diverse workforce 12th out of 15 options. In 2020 it was ranked 7th out of 19 options and 80% of respondents said it was very important to them.
Not only are Gen Y and Gen Z employees and job seekers interested in DEI, they have very egalitarian expectations about how employees should be treated. In order to maximize the talent and potential of the new workforce, employers must create cultures that foster openness to divergent thinking, transparent and courageous conversations around identity, and a commitment to sustainability in terms of contributing to an equitable, prosperous, healthy planet for all.