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Diversity in Workplaces Raynau Holassie Jr

English IV Mrs. Jones 8 April 2014

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Diversity in Workplaces The increasing globalization in the world requires more interaction among people of different beliefs, backgrounds, or cultures than in the previous decades. Employees are becoming part of a worldwide competitive economy (Ozbilgin, 2009). It is as a result of these changes and increasing diversity in workplaces that both profit and non-profit organizations need to become more flexible, open to change and creativity. Diversity is defined as valuing, accepting, acknowledging and understanding among people of different gender, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, religion, class, age or sexual orientation (Harold, 2003). Despite the challenges associated with it, diversity in the workplace is useful because it brings out the best talent in a workplace, builds effective global relationships, driving business growth through improved understanding of the different people involved, the period that lasts in terms of resources that lasted. Advantages of Workplace diversity Companies are likely to favorably compete in a global economy through the easy formation of strategic partnerships with the best players or companies in the industry and attracting the best talent from different parts of the world. The successful management of a diverse workforce has resulted in innovative culture where creativity has no boundaries and ideas flourish. Diversity attracts the best talent that will directly contribute to the success of the

Holassie 3 business, especially when an organization has built a reputation for its diversity. The companies will also be able to develop synergies among employees and partners, market its products easily, develop and retain distribution partners through the varied backgrounds and experiences of its employees (Harold, 2003). Diversity enables an organization to build a globally competitive workforce through the development of skills that facilitates the company to effectively compete. I diverse workforce is a resource on its own because it brings different professional skills, languages and experiences into the office. Diversity also enhances problem solving capability and efficiency. It is possible to brainstorm on a business potential or challenge in a different continent with a diverse workforce. This is because a workforce comprised of people of different ages, gender, experience and education brings a pool of multiple solutions and ideas necessary for problem solving in workplaces (Robin 2001). Diversity in a workplace also increases individual performance and helps in retention of employees. The main cause of high attrition levels in organizations is an unhealthy work environment. Employees become more productive when they know their ideas and beliefs are valued and supported. They need to be treated fairly, without discrimination and with respect irrespective of the backgrounds, race, ethnicity or any other factor that defines diversity. Many company stakeholders demand that best practices that encourage low employee turnover should be encouraged. Rewarding team performance and empowering workers to express themselves also helps in motivating them and therefore boosting their productivity. The Reasons behind the rise of diversity in workplaces

Holassie 4 Globalization Globalization has resulted in the reduction of market barriers therefore allowing freer flow of ideas, products, services and skills among others. Globalization has enabled organizations to expand their operations to different continents. Many organizations were forced to expand by the increased competitions and availability of new business opportunities in other parts of the world. This therefore means that they have to work with different human resources and new types of consumers that most companies were unprepared to face. Aging Population The improved healthcare service, innovations has increased the number of aging citizens in most countries. This has also led to an increase in the median age of workers in workplaces. Productivity targets, career plans and work environment should therefore be adapted to fit the increasing number of seniors in workplaces. Economists in developed countries are predicting a shortage of skilled workforce and advise that there is a need to retain older workers with valuable skills in workplaces. This explains why many organizations are becoming increasingly becoming dependent on older people (Robin 2001). Migration Most developed countries have in the last few decades experienced low birth rates, the declining ratio of retirees and workers, and decreasing cohorts of young people in workplaces. This therefore demands that these countries will need to import immigrant workers. The situation in the developing world is the opposite; there is an unprecedented growth in the number of young people as a result of high birth rates, decreased infant mortality and improved medical conditions

Holassie 5 (Domhoff, 1998). This therefore means that the developed countries have to meet their manpower deficits through the employment of young people from developing countries, hence the increasing diversity in workplaces. Joblessness in the developing countries also forces many young people to seek jobs elsewhere. For example, Italy’s population, which is currently about 56million people is projected to reduce to about 41 million people by 2050. This therefore means that Italian organizations have to employ about 360,000 people yearly, from developing countries to meet their human resource demands (Chadwick, 2004). The same trend is expected in countries such as Belgium, France and Germany. This eventually leads to increased diversity in workplaces. The change in corporate structure has also resulted in diversity in workplaces. Competition is pushing many organizations to move their production facilities to developing countries, in an effort to get close to raw materials and enjoy cheap labor. The family structure and role of women has significantly changed over the last century (Taylor, 2001). Political diversity is also common in workplaces because employees have different political ideas and affiliations. This can lead to conflicts, especially if compelled to make decisions on crucial national matters such as public demonstrations, petitions or strikes. The number of active women in workplaces has considerably changed and some professions earlier seen as men dominated have seen many females joining. There are therefore new rules, regulations and processes that have to be developed as a result. Recruitment of Diverse Workforce

Holassie 6 Diversity is no longer just ―a good idea‖. It has become a vital part of organizations if they are to remain innovative, competitive and be able to secure a larger market share. The big question, however, remains how to recruit, retain and engage the diverse workforce. To effectively do this human resource managers need to identify perceived obstacles, common diversity mistakes, have examples of organizations that are successful in recruiting and managing a diverse workforce and use the information to determine what best will work for your company (Klarsfeld, 2010). Some of the common mistakes in diversity recruitment include a narrow definition of diversity and ―diversifying by numbers‖. Some organizations consider diversity using visible dimensions such as gender and race, leaving out other crucial factors such as geographic background, sexual orientation, religion, thinking, communication styles, disability and ability. When this happens the company loses out on innovation, creativity and new ideas associated with diversity in a workplace. ―Diversity by numbers‖ has the risk of having a diversified workforce at a lower level and not at the top-there is little or no diversity as you move towards management levels (Chadwick, 2004). The only thing that the company has to show for its diversity is the numbers, which are mainly made up of unskilled and production labor. Retention of employees in this case will be difficult because they will be seeking out employments in places where there is value for diversity at all levels. The management should therefore develop a strategy and implementation plan for a culture change and diversity. Create a diverse pool of candidates and avoid recruiting using the same methods and from the same places because there are high chances you will get the same type of employees.

Holassie 7 Human resource managers have to be more creative. One of the most effective ways of recruiting diverse workforce is by researching and developing a list of colleges and universities that are historically known to have large numbers of people from different cultures, race, ethnicity, gender or people with disability. The recruitment teams can start by attending career days, prepared to discuss the advantages of working with for your organization. Several contacts can be collected during the events (Klarsfeld, 2010). The recruitment team can then later contact some students in the campuses requesting them to suggest the best candidates for particular jobs. The organization can then start developing a relationship with the potential employees while at the same time sponsoring more events in the colleges and universities to identify more students. Such events can be organized to coincide with others, such as Chinese New Year, Gay Pride and Disability Awareness Month among others. The criteria of interviewing candidates for a job should be based on qualifications and not the nature of educational institutions they attended. The choices made during the meetings with students in schools should therefore not be used as a means of guaranteeing jobs. Further interviews and discussions need to be undertaken before recruitment. A diverse panel should also be set up to carry out the recruitment exercise. Diversity should be included as part of the company’s mission statement. The use of a more inclusive language and visuals in recruitment materials, rule books and orientation materials will also portray the company as a diverse workplace. In an industry like nursing, for example, all pronouns should not be female or male in others like law enforcement (Klarsfeld, 2010). Managing diversity in the workplace

Holassie 8 Effective management of diverse teams has been proved to outperform homogenous teams. This is because they tend to be more efficient in problem solving and more creative. However, poor management of diverse workforce can lead to worse performances than those of a homogenous team because it will result to a breakdown of communication and mistrust. Managing diversity in workplaces is therefore important because it will lead to inclusiveness, the feeling of being valued and rewarded. This makes employees more engaged and committed to organizational activities, thus improving performances. In addition, organizations that create harmonious environments, improve their reputation with potential employees, thereby attracting the best workforce in the market (Taylor, 2001). The effective management of employees also requires that organizations redesign jobs for individuals depending on the nature of diversity and maximize the use of technology to reduce physical requirements of particular roles that can be automated. It also requires managers to ensure that team are well diversified to comprise employees of different background, ethnicities, race, nationalities and other groups. Diverse teams allow employees to learn from each other, thereby boosting their productivity. The company culture and work ethos should be emphasized as part of the orientation program. An open door policy aimed at encouraging employees to raise their concerns, fears, challenges or ideas in the workplace should be practiced as a means of managing diversity (Klarsfeld, 2010). Carrying out diversity management assessment can be very helpful in evaluation and decision making in organizations (Domhoff, 1998). The assessment should be completed by business owners, departmental heads and human resource managers. It also tests the organization’s commitment to leadership and support of diversity in the various teams, staff

Holassie 9 recruitment, performance and development. Moreover, diversity management assessment helps the management in the development of policies that are aimed at creating harmony and inclusiveness, monitoring and tracking effectiveness in a workplace. The result of the assessment also helps in the identification of areas and gaps that need improvement in diversity management. Managers should demonstrate accountability and commitment to diversity in the workplace by frequently monitoring progress and identifying relevant performance measures. It can also be done through assigning resources towards initiatives aimed at diversity management. Secondly, communication is vital in the creation of a harmonious and inclusive workplace. Management meetings, informal sessions and organizational events can be utilized to articulate issues or messages on diversity in the workplace (Ozbilgin, 2009). Thirdly, managers should be role models for behavior expected among employees on diversity. They can do this by demonstrating inclusiveness and living by the company values. They can also actively participate in training initiatives aimed at enhancing and promoting diversity in the workplace. Managers should also raise awareness of the usefulness of a harmonious and inclusive workplace and liaising with human resource departments to understand the needs of different employees (Chadwick, 2004). Conclusion Attaining and managing diversity in workplaces is still a huge task for many organizations and businesses. Minorities are still grossly underrepresented in influential positions in leading corporations in the world. Recruitment and retention also still pose a big hurdle. Although events aimed at identifying individuals from diverse backgrounds to be employees

Holassie 10 bring potential employees and employers together, they do not guarantee that qualified candidates from different backgrounds will apply for the job or show up at the company. Such initiatives need to be supported by fostering partnerships with ethnic communities, minorities and companies that have succeeded in the recruitment and management of a diverse workforce. Employee referral programs can be useful in spreading information about a company. However, such programs need to be supported by other pro-active measures such as giving employees tips on where to find potential referees (Harold, 2003). A diversified workforce serves as a reflection of a changing world. Respecting individual differences will immensely benefit an organization through improved motivation, increased productivity and creation of a competitive edge.

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Reference Chadwick, K. (2004). Cultural diversity in management, firm performance, and the moderating role of entrepreneurial orientation dimensions, Academy of Management Journal. 47, 2, 255–266 Domhoff W. (1998). Diversity in the power elite: have women and minorities reached the top? New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Harold R. (2003). Managing employee diversity: perceived practices and organizational outcome NCAA, Division III Athletic Department. Sport management review Vol. 6 2, 147-168 Klarsfeld, A. (2010). "International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work: Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment", Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishers. Ozbilgin M. (2009). "Understanding Diversity Managers' Role in Organizational Change: Towards a Conceptual Framework". Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences 26: 244–58 Robin J. (2001).Cultural Diversity at Work: The Effects of Diversity Perspectives on Work Group Processes and Outcomes, Administrative Science Quarterly, 46, 229—273 Taylor C. (2001). Creating the multicultural organization. San Francisco Jossey: Bass Publishers.