Fewer than 20 years ago, virtually no books were available pertaining to the topic of workplace diversity. Journal articles on the topic were just as rare. Today, things have changed considerably. Hardly a day goes by that a national newspaper, magazine, blog or social media site doesn’t run a story on an aspect of the increasing diversity of the U.S. and other international workforces.
Since Millennials are quickly becoming the largest presence in the workplace, it is imperative that public relations agencies cultivate strong relationships with culturally diverse Millennials in order to continue the growth of the company and industry. Cultural diversity in the workplace improves problem-solving and decision-making, leads to new consumers and enhances product development.
An article in the Harvard Business Review stated that minorities who advance the furthest all share one characteristic — a strong network of mentors and corporate sponsors who nurture their professional development. In order to be effective mentors, they must embrace a multitude of roles — such as that of coach, advocate and counselor — to help the young professional progress and understand the challenges race can present to his or her protégé’s career development and advancement. The mentor of a minority professional must also understand how minorities tend to climb the corporate ladder differently than others.
Guidance from authoritative figures will help minority students become well-acclimated and prepared for what the industry has to offer. Millennials thrive on achievement and making the most of what they have with the least amount of effort. While this attribute causes the vast majority to coin them as being lazy, Millennials are highly driven and interested in seeking knowledge from those who have worked in the field and know how to attain success.
The saying that “creativity thrives on diversity” implies that a company with a diverse staff can experience higher levels of inventiveness and innovation. Organizations should take more chances on hiring and mentoring these young men and women as they enter the field full of innovative knowledge and the skills to make a difference.
What do you think public relations companies can do to make Millennial minorities more comfortable in the work environment?
Rashidah C.R. McCoy is a second year graduate student at West Virginia University (WVU) studying journalism with a concentration on international pubic relations. McCoy is the public relations director for her PRSSA chapter at WVU and writes for the monthly newsletter distributed by the chapter. Add her on LinkedIn.