Research Paper: Diversity in the Workplace

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¶ … Diversity in the Workplace a Worthwhile Goal for Corporations?

The American workplace has been changing over the past decade. This change has moved from the Anglo-white male population to diverse segments of the population. Diversity includes the growing number of women in the workforce, people of different religions, people with diverse education background, Aging workers, and people from different ethnic groups as well as handicapped individuals. Companies and organizations must use and understand the human potential of workers of diverse qualities. Only those organizations that recognize people of diverse cultures will retain the best talent in the market. Diversity in workplace is a worthwhile venture for organizations due to numerous benefits including improvements in performance, organization image, productivity, and competitive advantage.

When one speaks of diversity in the workplace, thoughts of racial diversity, sexual equality, and affirmative action begin to emerge. However, workplace diversity is more than that since there are other important aspects to consider. For the case of prosperous corporations consideration have to be made on the contributions of women, aging workers, ethnic diverse workforce, handicapped individuals as well as people with diverse educational backgrounds. Therefore, diversity is an important goal for organizations in order to achieve corporate goals (Victoria, Stevens and Jeffrey 121). Diversity relates to language, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, as well as gender.

For employees in an organization to feel their needs are equally addressed by the management, the following aspects need considerations: all people in the workplace need to treat one another with respect and dignity, decisions are to be made genuinely and fairly, the corporation should provide a safe and healthy working environment and management should avoid discriminating against any individual. Diversity in organizations is the quality of being unique and different. Every employee has personal characteristics that distinguish them from the rest, and this is what the corporation needs to consider (P; Ilmakunnas and S; Ilmakunnas 223-228). Moreover, work diversity considers the basic principles of Equal Employment Opportunities. This principle maintains that employees are entitled to the same treatment in an organization despite their personal or physical qualities.

In the Australian Public Service, the work diversity related plans involve measures related to disadvantaged women, people with disabilities, and those of non- English language speaking backgrounds. The service is concerned with legal compliance of the corporation as well as their levels of fairness. There are laws and regulation set up by the service for organizations to follow in their process of recruitment and promotions (Bassett-Jones 169-175). Despite all the efforts and set backs of these policies, the aim of the service is to go beyond promoting equality in the workforce and rectifying past mistakes. The purpose of diversity in organizations is to improve the productivity thus remain competitive in the market.

It is a notion that the term diversity is associated with the need to have economic and social fairness and morality, but the real need of diversity is to increase productivity of corporations as well as creating an edge in the global arena. The need of diversity must stem from awareness of corporate implications relating to the needs of workforce teams, satisfying the needs of the community and maintaining a competitive stand. Organizations gain a lot from diversifying their workforce. It is a worth venture for any organization to diversify their workforce. However, corporations have to promote awareness of diversity within the firm, maintain, and develop skilled and effective workforce, where employees are provided with the opportunity to develop their potential by way of encouragement. Further, organizations need to have a supportive organizational culture that allows employees to juggle between work and personal living. Corporations also need to embrace harassment and discrimination free environment, as well as apply fair principles while recruiting and selecting workers.

Benefits of Workforce Diversity

There are many benefits in diversifying workers in corporations; these benefits not only benefit the corporation but the members of the community and employees. The benefits of diversity is not limited to efficient decision making, greater creativity, better innovations and improved decision making. These qualities lead to an improvement of product developed and even improved marketing. Therefore, an organization that promotes diversity of the workforce has a better global dimension. By linking up a variety of talents from unique individuals, the corporations provide better products and expand their markets with ease. Recognition of talents goes a long way in cultivating a culture of commitment within workers allowing them to contribute in a unique way (Bassett-Jones 169-175). According to the theory "Standpoint," marginalized groups of employees bring a different perspective to management of the organization. These individuals have unique characteristics, which challenges the status quo within organizations from that of dominant workforce.

Although this influence on the status quo may lead to conflicts, leaders should be in a position to give guidance to all teams involved. One should not ignore the fact that diversity may be a challenging task for corporations. Therefore, organization's management teams need to foster and include corporate environment that caters for divergent ideas and thoughts. The management needs to avoid prejudice and stereotyping, develop frameworks for decision-making, increase morale of teams, and improve communication channels. The organization need to increase its utilization of skills, abilities, and talents; provide a flexible schedule for family, work, and personal responsibilities. The team managing affairs of the organization need also to promote a fair and equitable staff selection, and provide a friendly and supportive work environment.

Strategies for Working with Diversity

Corporations must provide members of staff with skills to operate in a diverse environment. This means an employee must understand their personal cultures as well as other cultures. Through awareness and other forms of communications from the corporations, employees understand their values, attitudes, beliefs, weaknesses, strength and behaviors, as well as those of colleagues and communities. There are strategies to employ in creating a diverse working environment. Some of these strategies that corporation can employ are; offering educational and training facilities, creation of organizational policies that promote equity and fairness of employees, creation of programs for minority groups and develop performance appraisal programs that are non-discriminatory. However, application of these programs will not yield the desired outcome if there is no commitment from the management. Therefore, diversity is a worth venture for organizations since it leads to better management of activities, ensures creativity, and promotes innovations.

Gender Diversity

Results from empirical studies suggest that diversity may have a positive effect in the workplace. In respect to this, women have contributed a lot to the growth of economies in the world. In the past women held low responsibility tasks or temporary jobs in organizations. During this period, women's first responsibilities were that of taking care of families. Married women were likely to quit after becoming pregnant while unmarried women were likely to quit after being married (Barreto, Michelle and Michael 28). In addition, it was a belief that women were not either capable emotionally, physically or mentally as men. In today's workplace, there has been a growth in the number of women holding positions. Women no longer take temporal assignments and are seen as equals to men. This cultural shift in the workplaces has a great advantage to corporations. Gender diversity in workplaces provides an opportunity for learning; assists in achieving better performance and assists in connecting to a large range of consumers

Like men, women have the right skills, talent, and creativity. Organizations have to adjust to these changes where women hold high positions in organizations unlike in the past. Laws and policies to cater for women needs in the organization, and to control acts of discrimination against women are in practice in many organizations, however, there are women who still value their family first and this has made organizations strategize on handling such cases. Research by Barreto et al. suggests the creation of a program named "Mommy Track" (28). In this program, women whose families' are a first priority get flexible working hours that require them to work for lesser time in exchange for limited growth and lesser pay. This system recognizes the diversity of women employees and incorporates their needs in organizations.

However, feminist argue that the program licenses corporations to discriminate against women. They argue that women employees should be entitled to flexible working hours while having unlimited level of advancement. In corporation, women need to have equal opportunities as men, homosexual couples given the same treatment as their heterosexual counterparts. In Germany, gender diversity is a practice of big, medium, and small sized corporations. This trend in Germany is due to encouragement from other European countries that have practiced gender diversification (Barreto et. al. 32). In Europe diversification of the workforce, has resulted in an increase in productivity, improvement of corporations' image, raised employee motivation, and cause an improvement in customer satisfaction. Gender diversification in a corporation, therefore, promotes creativity, innovation and motivates employee towards achieving organizational goals.

Ethnic Diversity

Ethnicity in the corporation can help link the organization with its goals and customers.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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