In fact, an organization needs exclusiveness of every employee in the workplace environment. By focusing on diversity, the company concentrates more on individual qualities, which are different from other people’s behavior. Actually, the differences among the employees represent nationality, race, family status, work experiences, and gender. Besides, the disabilities, the educational background and physical appearance also represent individual differences. In order to practice diversity, the employer has to hire people without discriminating on such bases as cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, racial or religious background (Oyler& Pryor, 2009). Currently, the organizations value diversity in the workplace, since it implies the creation of an environment that maximizes the potential of every employee. Moreover, the diversity makes the employees feel as a part of the team. The paper explores the reasons for embracing diversity in the workplace, discusses both the benefits and the challenges connected to diverse workplace.
Diversity is a concept that continues to evolve today, as it focuses on the individual and contextual factors through societal constructs. Actually, the employer has to identify any significant differences that distinguish one person from another. Various qualities include personality, internal, external and organizational factors. In fact, personality encompasses traits, abilities, and skills. Moreover, personality describes a set of characteristics that portrays the identity of a person. In addition, there are diverse types of features an individual may represent through actions, behavior, and attitude. Thus, the management has to identify positive attributes that include patience, honesty, intelligence, trust, and reliability. Certainly, internal factors also include ethnicity, race, gender and sexual orientation; these characteristics influence people’s expectations, perceptions, and attitude towards other individuals. Conversely, external factors comprise nationality, culture, parental and marital status (Olsen & Martins, 2012). Actually, these dimensions represent the traits that allow people to have a certain amount of influence. The organizational factors, in their turn, cover department and position. The organizational aspect is significant to the company, as it includes such factors as unit or division, work field, management status, etc.
Notably, the diversity has a broad definition that goes further than the visible differences connected to the affirmative action. In fact, an organization has to move its thinking from the small affirmative action categories. In particular, the company has to go beyond gender and race, and recognize other diversity factors. Thus, the leaders need to expand their perspective regarding diversity to include other dimensions. Moreover, they must have a comprehensive managerial process for developing an environment that favors all the employees. By embracing diversity, the leaders gain a political value of inclusiveness that enables every staff member to be a part of the team that nurtures and fortifies positive relationships in the workplace. In addition, such a diverse environment will allow the employees to deal with potentially volatile issues that arise in the workplace. Intrinsically, the diversity concept incorporates the behaviors and the values that managers and leaders associate with respect and acceptance. Currently, diversity represent a contemporary alternative to the traditional equal opportunity approaches that is proactive and result-focused nowadays (Oyler & Pryor, 2009).
The managers and leaders have to incorporate diversity in the organization by defining the motives and interest and by identifying the ways to benefit the institution. In fact, the primary dimension of diversity, such as gender and age, brings the main differences among the individuals. The differences are easily noticeable and, therefore, they highly influence the ways people view the world. The secondary dimension comprises education, religion, income, and educational background. These qualities are not easily noticeable during the first encounter and are only visible after the interaction between the people (Dike, 2013). Actually, it is important to remember that nowadays globalization is triggering more interaction among the people of different backgrounds and cultures than in the recent past. Today, the societies are more open-minded, as the marketplace is facing competition from every country of the continent.
Reasons Why Organizations Adopts Diversity in the Workplace
Most organizations embrace diversity in their workplace in order to allow openness to change and creativity. The improvement and increase of workplace diversity is an important issue for the management today due to the changing nature of workplace environment. In fact, workforce diversity has become substantial that forces the institutions to embrace its concepts with the aim of increasing profit and productivity. In addition, workforce diversity is a method of attaining an integrated and diversified workforce. Diversity provides the management with a chance to correct injustice, imbalance and outright discrimination (Oyler & Pryor, 2009). Moreover, diversity brings awareness, understanding, appreciation and recognition of human differences to the workplace.
The management applies diversity in the workplace to gain a competitive advantage and to use the talents from a diverse workforce. Furthermore, diversity helps the firm to enter the international arena. Various teams enhance a rapid response and flexibility to change and increase creativity and innovation. The management of cultural diversity has become a social strategy that enables the management of a diverse workforce. The firm adopts a holistic focus in order to create an environment that allows the employees to reach their full potential while pursuing organizational goals. In fact, diversity brings the cultural impact to the organization in the form of changes in underlying values, beliefs, behavior and values of the employees (Olsen & Martins, 2012). Besides, diversity influences the technology transfer, managerial ideology and attitude, and enhances the government-business relationships. Moreover, a diverse workforce enhances creativity and innovation.
Advantages of Diversity in the Workplace
What is important, diversity brings a high level of productivity. One of the biggest challenges in the workplace is connected to increase of productivity. Since most organizations have unique objectives and structures, diversity may bring new ways to address challenges the company faces that may result in increased productivity. When a firm takes care of employee appraisal, compensation, and health care, the workers feel that they belong to the institution regardless of their cultural background (Dike, 2013). Moreover, the management encourages the employees to do the job to their highest ability. As a result, they remain loyal and hardworking by increasing the profit and productivity of the company. A diverse workforce increases profitability and productivity, as an organization uses a a variety of perspectives. Additionally, diversity enhances the creation of strong ties in the working teams. In fact, successful management of diversity does result in the committed and satisfied employees, who potentially improve the financial performance of the firm.
In addition, diversity comes with learning and growth and it creates an opportunity for the personal development, especially, when the employees face new cultures, perspectives, and ideas. Diversity helps the individuals to reach out and contribute to making a clear insight of the place and global environment. Besides, the time employees spend with several co-workers by discussing culture helps in breaking the mental barrier of ethnocentrism and xenophobia (Oyler & Pryor, 2009). Therefore, it encourages workers to become better members of the society. Gender heterogeneity and race can lead to diverse types of ideas and information that transform the decision-making process of the organization.
Diversity allows an exchange of ideas and teamwork. Today, organizations and businesses advocate the collaboration as a means of guaranteeing better outcomes and delivery of goods and services. An individual, who undertakes multiple tasks, cannot deliver the same quality a team is capable of. Therefore, each member has to work in a team to bring new ideas and offer their perspectives in order to deliver the best solutions. The organizations, which practice diversity management, have a wider pool of talent (Ferdman & Deane, 2014). In fact, they recruit the most efficient and qualified candidates that provides a competitive advantage to the organization. Similarly, the companies that actively promote diversity benefit from an increased retention rate.
In the case of effective communication, diversity can significantly strengthen the relationships between workers and customers. In addition, diversity can deliver business advantage by providing a diverse customer base, since the employees understand the requirements of the environments they operate. Moreover, it expands the perspective of an organization, the design of new operations, strategic tactics, and the assessment of trends that emerge in the business sphere (Dike, 2013). A diverse workforce is comfortably communicates regarding varying points of views. As a result, it provides a wider range of experiences and ideas. Thus, the firm can use various ideas to meet its business strategy. What is important, diversity helps in achieving the needs of their customers.
Today, the organizations recognize that they have the capacity to serve different customer groups in different market with a diverse workforce. Thus, they hire employees, who are fluent in the languages of the dominant dialects in the region. Moreover, the organizations offer products with various designs to attract diverse consumers. Globalization has made the companies to internationalize their operations. The prices of inputs vary that attracts the businesses to the countries with cheap inputs (Dike, 2013). In such cases, workplace diversity becomes a necessary measure for the companies, which seek to enter new countries.
Disadvantages of Diversity in the Workplace
Actually, diversity incurs high management cost. The organization may find it costly to manage a diverse workforce. One of the reasons for high cost is associated with mandatory diversity training on the ways of interaction with clients that is provided to managers, employees, and supervisors. In fact, some training does require high participation and traveling cost. Another major challenge of working in a diverse workforce represents discrimination by both employees and managers. Actually, it is a hidden aspect that arises in a poorly managed workplace. When an employee feels discriminated, he/ she does not perform well that raises the issue of litigation (Dike, 2013).
The incorporation issues also arise if the organization does not incorporate diversity to the maximum degree. The formation of independent social groups is a natural process; thus, the company has no control of the situation. Therefore, it tends to experience open divisions among the workers. In this case, different employees avoid contacting one another, when the work is over (Ferdman & Deane, 2014). The scenario does not appear fundamentally wrong, but it can reduce the success of knowledge sharing among the teams that reduces productivity.
Workplace diversity can also negatively influence communication. The company has to overcome both language and cultural barriers for the diversity programs to succeed. However, ineffective communication results in confusion, low morale, and a lack of teamwork. Consequently, the firm may experience a decrease in productivity and cohesiveness among the workers may dampen (Ferdman & Deane, 2014). Often, it is difficult for the leaders to control distinct first impressions and co-workers' orientation periods.
Although the premise that diversity is a mutual respect, it is burdensome to make the ways of accommodating each other’s requests. Actually, there are work constraints such as religion, race and gender that tend to be overwhelming. In some instances, the company may incur a loss, while accommodating the needs of different workers (Dike, 2013). For example, a Muslim employee may not work on Fridays, since it is their day for prayer. In this case, the employer may look for other worker to take their shifts.
In conclusion, diversity is a both a problem and a solution to an organization. In fact, it not only benefits the team, but also brings some disadvantages. The challenge for leaders and managers is to extract the essence of diversity and, therefore, tactically manage it to improve the employees and the organization. Workplace diversity emphasizes on identifying unique traits of employees and managing them in an environment. The organization has to acknowledge different races; it means that they recognize the fact that there are views of the world. Therefore, the institution will have diverse people, who work together to solve the problems in the same environment.