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July 29, 2019
To Drive Diversity, Look To ‘The Breakfast Club’ For Inspiration (Yes, We Mean The 1980s Movie)
Alex Csedrik

You’re determined to create a diverse organization, so you gleaned ideas from various studies and speakers. Who knew, though, your inspiration could be a 1980s coming-of-age classic movie?

The fact is, your company could take a lesson from The Breakfast Club. The movie features five high school students who, although they have unique backgrounds and diverse opinions, become friends. Sound familiar? It should. Your team should recruit and hire top talent with both inherent diversity (traits you’re born with, like race and sexual orientation) and acquired diversity (traits you gain through experience, like speaking a foreign language from living in another country). The combination of the two is what the Center for Talent Innovation has dubbed as 2-D diversity.  

As researchers have found, 2-D diversity brings a host of benefits to businesses, and that kind of commitment to multi-dimensional diversity helps create a cohesive—and fully represented—workforce that delivers profound results, just like the characters in the movie. Here’s how The Breakfast Club can inspire your D&I initiatives.

Diversity Is A Major Boon For Business 

Your business is on a never-ending quest to increase revenue. Your path, though, may be the wrong one if it doesn’t start with diversity recruitment. Companies with a heterogeneous workforce are more likely to outperform their homogenous counterparts quite significantly in two key areas: market share growth (by 45 percent) and new markets captured (70 percent).

In The Breakfast Club, the characters expand their worldviews after hearing each other’s life stories. How does this apply to your organization, though? Well, a pastiche of personnel can address any group of potential customers’ needs, which is how companies enter—and win over—new markets. 

The question is, how do you attract early-career workers from all walks of life? These three tactics are just a few ways you get a more diverse group of qualified candidates. Though once you get more diverse top talent, your company needs to address other challenges as well. 

How Do You Unite All Your Workers? It’s Easier Than You Think

Your organization now has an influx of unique individuals. How do you get everyone to row in the same direction? People, unfortunately, are susceptible to group identification (an individual’s preference for a particular social, cultural, or subcultural group they’re a part of). So, while your company may now be a melting pot, our deep-seeded desire for familiarity may cause continuous culture clashes among colleagues.     

It’s critical, therefore, for your diverse teams to have one common goal to prevent hostility among employees. In The Breakfast Club, all of the characters united for two reasons: They collectively despised Assistant Principal Vernon, and they didn’t want to waste a Saturday in detention. Your workforce, similarly, can bond through a singular focus like completing a major project.

You will galvanize your organization and unite everyone with a strong shared purpose. Your employees, however, will only reach their full potential if your company addresses one more critical element of a varied workforce.

Create An Inclusive Environment With A Thoughtful, Dynamic Approach

Simply hiring unique employees and giving them a common goal won’t be enough to create a truly diverse company. Your organization needs to create an environment where all workers feel accepted and respected.

In the movie, the characters embrace one another when each person is allowed to be the fully realized version of themselves. To help your staff accomplish the same at work, Fortune provides the following measures to take:

●  Create employer resource groups for different communities

●  Give employees cultural sensitivity and unconscious bias training

●  Hold regular events that celebrate diversity

If you adopt these suggestions, you’ll help create an inclusive organization where every employee feels their voice is heard. Your employees, in turn, won’t be afraid to speak up if they see a solution to a problem. It’s another part of the reason heterogeneous teams capture new markets and increase revenue.

A company dedicated to hiring diverse employees won’t want to see its workforce in the simplest terms. Instead, your team will help create a 21st century version of The Breakfast Club, with diverse top talent becoming employees—and future leaders. 


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