Office of Culture and Experience

The New Diversity & Inclusion

August 9, 2017 • Leadership, Values

When I hear the word Diversity, I immediately think of groups of people that we’ve all been taught to recognize and ensure there’s inclusion.  This is basic and almost innate in our thought processes and actions, especially in higher education.  Then, I begin to think deeper about what diversity and inclusion is really meant to accomplish.  Diversity is not just based on physical characteristics or qualities but also diversity in thought, diversity in approach, and diversity in ideas.  Each and every person brings a different perspective and it becomes our opportunity to embrace the differences.

For the first time in history, five generations are working together in the workplace, each with different leadership, communication and career development styles.  This fact alone can lead to collaborative opportunities that are unparalleled.  Even though each generation may approach work differently, in many cases the end goal is the same.  At the recent SHRM 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition, Scott Lesnick presented seven core values that all employees have in regard to their work environment, no matter what generation they identify with:

  • Feeling respected
  • Being listened to
  • Having opportunities for mentoring
  • Understanding the big picture
  • Receiving effective communication
  • Receiving positive feedback
  • Experiencing an exchange of ideas

While these values may look or mean different things to different individuals, the core need is the same.  Leaders will need to adjust their approach to different individuals based on their specific needs while encouraging the blend of thought, approach and ideas.

Within my own team, providing perspective and challenging ideas is encouraged.  Our thought processes are all different, and we each bring a different viewpoint to the table. This collaborative environment ensures we are best serving our customers while still considering all aspects.

This to me is the new diversity and inclusion.  It doesn’t matter what “group” you associate with.  We all have value to add based on our backgrounds, life experiences, culture, education, personality, and skills.  It’s up to everyone to embrace the differences and learn from them.

Marjorie Derven, author of “TD: Talent Development” states it simply, “Diversity means inviting a mix of people to the party.  Inclusion means everyone dances together”.  As leaders, let’s make sure our teams are not just slumped against the wall, but are out on the dance floor swaying to the music.


Meagan Voorhies

UNTHSC Campus HR Manager

2017 HSC Fellows Candidate