HRM Workplace Diversity

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EFFECTS OF WORK-PLACE DIVERSITYIntroductionWorkplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people in an organization. That sounds simple, but diversity encompasses race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more. Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves, but how they perceive others. Those perceptions affect their interactions. For a wide assortment of employees to function effectively as an organization, human resource professionals need to deal effectively with issues such as communication, adaptability and change. Diversity will increase significantly in the coming years. Successful organizations recognize the need for immediate action and are ready and willing to spend resources on managing diversity in the workplace now. The world's increasing globalization requires more interaction among people from diverse cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds than ever before. People no longer live and work in an insular marketplace; they are now part of a worldwide economy with competition coming from nearly every continent. For this reason, profit and non-profit organizations need diversity to become more creative and open to change. Maximizing and capitalizing on workplace diversity has become an important issue for management today. Supervisors and front-line managers could benefit from reading this paper. Supervisors and managers are the targeted audience because they need to recognize the ways in which the workplace is changing, evolving, and diversifying. Since managing diversity remains a significant organizational challenge, managers must learn the managerial skills needed in a multicultural work environment. Supervisors and managers must be prepared to teach themselves and others within their organizations to value multicultural differences in both associates and customers so that everyone is treated with dignity. This paper is designed for managers to effectively manage diverse workforce populations. It provides a general definition for diversity, discusses the benefits of diversity in the workplace, the challenges of managing a diverse workplace, and presents effective strategies for managing diverse workforces.

Diversity DefinedDiversity is generally defined as acknowledging, understanding, accepting, valuing, and celebrating differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice, and public assistance status. The term diversity has a very broad connotation and includes many facets of differences, apart from disparities in race and gender. In the context of a workplace, diversity gets manifested in many forms such as - age, gender, ethnicity, physical attributes, sexual orientation, educational background, income, marital status, geographical location, spiritual practice, parental status, work experience, job classification and the like. With the advent of globalization, diversity in workplace is getting increasingly pronounced. All the same, an organizations success and growth rate are also determined by its ability to welcome, understand and manage diversity in an effective manner. It is only when people of different background and beliefs work together as a team that the company can hope to progress and 1

grow. The main key to achieve this is by working towards valuing diversity. Read on to know about the advantages of diversity in workplace and also learn about managing issues related to it. Demographic changes (women in the workplace, organizational restructurings, and equal opportunity legislation) will require organizations to review their management practices and develop new and creative approaches to managing people. Changes will increase work performance and customer service.

Benefits of Workplace DiversityAn organization's success and competitiveness depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits. When organizations actively assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported such as: Increased adaptability: Organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands. Broader service range: A diverse collection of skills and experiences (e.g. languages, cultural understanding) allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis. Variety of viewpoints: A diverse workforce that feels comfortable communicating varying points of view provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences. The organization can draw from that pool to meet business strategy needs and the needs of customers more effectively. More effective execution: Companies that encourage diversity in the workplace inspire all of their employees to perform to their highest ability. Company-wide strategies can then be executed; resulting in higher productivity, profit, and return on investment Diversity is beneficial to both associates and employers. Although associates are interdependent in the workplace, respecting individual differences can increase productivity. Diversity in the workplace can reduce lawsuits and increase marketing opportunities, recruitment, creativity, and business image. In an era when flexibility and creativity are keys to competitiveness, diversity is critical for an organization's success. Also, the consequences (loss of time and money) should not be overlooked.


Advantages Of Diversity In WorkplaceWhen employees come from diverse backgrounds, they bring individual talents and experiences with them. This invariably contributes to an organizations overall growth. Diversities in a working environment add a unique richness to the workplace. There is a special kind of challenge - every individual within the organization feels like putting in extra effort to overcome these individual differences. Such united opinions, in fact, work for the betterment of the company or the institution. Embracing employees with different skills and cultural viewpoints helps in understanding the needs and requirements of the customers, on a global scale. Diversity in workplace leads to a wide variety of viewpoints and business ideas. This helps an organization formulate the best business strategy, with its large pool of different ideas and solutions.

Challenges of Diversity in the WorkplaceTaking full advantage of the benefits of diversity in the workplace is not without its challenges. Some of those challenges are: Communication: Perceptual, cultural and language barriers need to be overcome for diversity programs to succeed. Ineffective communication of key objectives results in confusion, lack of teamwork, and low morale. Resistance to change: There are always employees who will refuse to accept the fact that the social and cultural makeup of their workplace is changing. The "we've always done it this way" mentality silences new ideas and inhibits progress. Implementation of diversity in the workplace policies: This can be the overriding challenge to all diversity advocates. Armed with the results of employee assessments and research data, they must build and implement a customized strategy to maximize the effects of workplace diversity for their particular organization. Successful Management of Diversity in the Workplace: Diversity training alone is not sufficient for your organizations diversity management plan. A strategy must be created and implemented to create a culture of diversity that permeates every department and function of the organization. Individual versus Group Fairness: This issue is closely related to the difference in divisive versus better i.e. how far management should go in adapting HR programs to diverse employee groups. Resentment: Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) was imposed by government rather than self initiated. The response to this forced change was in many cases grudging compliance.


Group Cohesiveness and Interpersonal Conflict: Although employee diversity can lead to greater creativity and better problem solving; it can also lead to open conflict and chaos if there is mistrust and lack of respect among groups. This means that as organizations become more diverse, they face greater risks that employees will not work together effectively. Interpersonal friction rather than cooperation may become the norm Backlash: Some group in the organization feels that they have to defend themselves against encroachments by those using their gender or ethnicity to lay claim to organizational resources .Thus, while women and minorities may view a firms cultural diversity policy as a commitment to improving their chances of advancement. Retention: The job satisfaction levels of women and minorities are often lower than those of majorities. Therefore it becomes difficult to retain such people in an organization. Competition for Opportunities: Already, there are rising tensions among the disadvantaged groups jockeying for advancement. Employers are being put into the uncomfortable position of having to decide which disadvantaged group is most deserving There are challenges to managing a diverse work population. Managing diversity is more than simply acknowledging differences in people. It involves recognizing the value of differences, combating discrimination, and promoting inclusiveness. Managers may also be challenged with losses in personnel and work productivity due to prejudice and discrimination and complaints and legal actions against the organization. Negative attitudes and behaviours can be barriers to organizational diversity because they can harm working relationships and damage mo