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Diversity leads to uniquely better ideas and a stronger workforce, so management should ensure that diversity is promoted and supported.
How Diversity Philosophy Leads to Success
When a group people come from the same background, race, gender, age group, etc., they tend to share similar experiences, thought patterns, and often times they come to the same conclusion (Ghosh, 2014). They also may have all of the same strengths and all of the same weaknesses. This is when a lack of diversity becomes a huge problem.
According to Dijk, et al. (2012), diversity in the workforce “lead(s) to increased creativity, higher quality decisions, more innovative solutions and various other positive team- and organizational level outcomes.”
Diversity means having a mix of people from different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, social classes, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. When you have a mix of people, they each bring their own unique experiences, strengths, and perspectives to the group setting. This means that they have different strengths and different weaknesses. Diversity leads no holes in talent and it ensures that role is filled. People from different backgrounds bring various perspectives to the group, which leads to enhanced problem solving.
Management of Diversity Issues
There are several issues that arise when managing a diverse workforce that may not be an issue when dealing with a more homogenous environment. First, diversity of opinion means nothing when employees refuse to be part of the conversation (McMahan et al., 1998). This means that it is important to encourage employee involvement at all levels. When people feel like they are in the minority, they may not want to be involved with discussions.
Harassment by other employees is also a risk of diversifying the workforce. Women, minorities, and those with a different sexual orientation are especially at risk for harassment or similar negative encounters (McMahan et al., 1998). Other issues include problems surrounding Affirmative Action, the need to value diversity, and management’s ability to manage diversity.
Analysis: Affirmative Action
Affirmative Action was a set of laws created to help increase the number of women, ethnic minorities, and disabled individuals in the workforce. Under Affirmative Action, women and minorities maybe hired through outreach or recruitment and those already employed may be offered support and managerial development (Leslie et al., 2014). While this has lead to an increase in workplace diversity, it has also caused some problems.
Workers who are not the beneficiaries of Affirmative Action may feel that they are at a disadvantage. Affirmative Action laws do not extend certain groups that are workforce minorities, such as elderly employees and LBGTQ employees. Finally, there is a stigma attached to Affirmative Action employees, other employees might feel that the Affirmative Action employees are undeserving of their position or incompetent and their jobs.
Analysis: Valuing Diversity
It is important for management and team members to value diversity. Unfortunately, prejudice often keeps employees, and even managers from fully accepting and working with a diverse team (Dijk, et al., 2012). There are several ways to help people overcome prejudice. First, employees have to get used to working with a diverse group of people on a daily basis. There must be some empathy training so that employees can understand each other’s point of view. Finally, employees must understand the value to the company that a diverse workforce offers.
Analysis: Managing Diversity
The best way to manage diversity is to start with common ground (Grözinger and Matiaske, 2014). While a difference in personality is what leads to creative solutions, it is more important that diverse employees see each other as equal and capable. Management can achieve this by giving a diverse team a single problem to work on together.
Employees need instruction on cultural and ethnic sensitivity, and anti-harassment training (Grözinger and Matiaske, 2014). It could be that employees do not even know that that they are acting prejudice or insensitive. Employees should also learn that diversity isn’t only about race and gender. They should learn about other types of minorities, such as the LBGTQ community, disabled individuals, older workers, and religious minorities.
Strategic Action Plan
Our approach is what is known as a “Multicultural Approach” to diversity management (Liberman, 2013). This differs from other strategies, such as the “Color Blind” approach that encourages employees to ignore differences. The Multicultural Approach is best because the goal is to use diversity to foster creativity and to promote inclusion.
This is a four-part strategic action plan for enhancing and valuing diversity in this organization. (1) Using Affirmative Action standards to guide the hiring, support, and promotions process. (2) Hold employee programs geared toward valuing diversity and promoting sensitivity. (3) Create diverse work teams who cooperate to solve operations and management issues. (4) Ensure that the process is successful through a series of benchmarks and employee surveys.
How this will Address Diversity
There are several potential outcomes that will enhance the companies overall profitability and its diversity initiative. Using the Multicultural Approach, differences between staff members will be acknowledged and celebrated (Liberman, 2013). Employees will feel like they are valued members of the company, regardless of their minority status.
Potential Issues and How They Will be addressed
The Multicultural Approach has the possibility to foster feelings of exclusion (Liberman, 2013). For example, a group could feel left out or excluded if they are not part of the minority that is being celebrated. This will be addressed by ensuing that every group is represented, even majority groups such as Caucasians and men. Another problem, which was discussed earlier, is the idea that recipients of Affirmative Action initiatives do not deserve their positions. Hopefully, training in recognizing and eliminating personal prejudice will address this problem.
Strategic Organization and Implementation
Human Resources staff will receive training on Affirmative Action practices to help them create a diverse environment. Every employee will be asked to participate in online training modules that teach about diversity awareness, eliminating personal prejudice, and anti-harassment. Employees will receive certificates upon completing each stage of the training.
Multiculturalism will be promoted through cultural understanding initiatives. Every month will represent a group that is represented in the company and representatives are responsible for teaching employees about their group. Every month there will be a party/meeting to teach more about this group. Possible groups include African Americans, Hispanics, disabled people, LBGTQ, Muslims, and women. So that they do not feel left out, we’ll need to make sure that every person is included in at least one monthly group celebration. This may mean creating groups such as Irish Americans or Christians.
When creating work groups, managers should use Affirmative Action rules to make sure that the groups are diverse. Also, there will be quarterly surveys that determine the office’s current level of cultural acceptance and the staff’s attitude toward the multicultural initiatives.
Leadership and Control
Every department will have someone who is the “Diversity Leader” in charge of ensuring the completion of activities related to the multicultural initiative. This leader does not have to be in a managerial position. The quarterly surveys will alert management to progress toward goals. The system will be adjusted as needed with employee feedback from the surveys and input from the Diversity Leaders.
Reflection and Discussion
This system may not be perfect and there are plenty of ways that the strategy could fail. Employees could refuse to participate in the training, human resource personal could ignore Affirmative Action, and Multicultural celebrations could fall flat.
Hopefully, the surveys and the appointed diversity leaders are enough to ensure that system starts up and continues working. The choice of Diversity Leader is especially important because they need to be enthusiastic and understanding. Diversity Leaders should also be able to accept the responsibility of the position.
It is in an organization’s best interest to embrace diversity. Diverse organizations have a larger pool of knowledge and experience to draw from (Ewoh, 2013). Unfortunately, some employees are not properly trained to deal with people from widely different backgrounds. Celebrating Multiculturalism will lead these employees to explore the world through the eyes of other people. This will motivate them to work together to create a better organization and a more understanding world. The company will likely benefit, but not as much as the individuals who learn how to function in a multicultural world.
Böhm, C. (2013). Cultural Flexibility in ICT Projects: A New Perspective on Managing Diversity in Project Teams. Global Journal Of Flexible Systems Management, 14(2), 115-122.
Dijk, H., Engen, M., & Paauwe, J. (2012). Reframing the Business Case for Diversity: A Values and Virtues Perspective. Journal Of Business Ethics, 111(1), 73-84
Ewoh, A. I. (2013). Managing and Valuing Diversity: Challenges to Public Managers in the 21 st Century. Public Personnel Management, 42(2), 107-122.
Ghosh, A. (2014). Culturally Competent Behaviors at Workplace: An Intergroup Perspective for Workplace Diversity. South Asian Journal Of Management, 21(3), 73-95.
Grözinger, G., & Matiaske, W. (2014). Managing Diversity - Introduction. Management Revue, 25(
LESLIE, L. M., MAYER, D. M., & KRAVITZ, D. A. (2014). THE STIGMA OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: A STEREOTYPING- BASED THEORY AND META-ANALYTIC TEST OF THE CONSEQUENCES FOR PERFORMANCE. Academy Of Management Journal, 57(4), 964-989.
Liberman, B. E. (2013). Eliminating Discrimination in Organizations: The Role of Organizational Strategy for Diversity Management. Industrial & Organizational Psychology, 6(4), 466-471.
McMahan, G. C., Bell, M. P., & Virick, M. (1998). Strategic human resource management: Employee involvement, diversity, and international issues. Human Resource Management Review, 8(3), 193.
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