Challenges and Benefits of Employing a Diverse Workforce

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Background Information

Globalization has increased the mobilization of human resources as people move from rural areas to cities as well as cross-border exchanges. Such shifts result in diverse populations and the workforce assimilated in different organizations. Similarly, as companies expand from small-scale outlets to global stores, they require labor from the local and international workers, thus increasing diversity. Diversity has a significant impact on business performance, making diversity management at the workplace crucial (Inegbedion et al., 2020). This presentation explores the challenges and benefits of employing a diverse workforce. It also focuses on primary and secondary diversity, assessing the differences with examples.

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Primary and Secondary diversity

Diversity is the variation of people’s social and cultural identities in a company or market setting (Saylık et al., 2016). Diversity is grouped into two dimensions, primary and secondary.

Primary diversity involves personal features that cannot be changed, such as sex, race, age, physical and mental abilities (Velten & Lashley, 2018). Primary dimensions are visible and form the basis of discrimination, prejudice, and stereotyping, particularly in companies with inexperienced workforce and managers.

Secondary diversity is changeable, modifiable, or acquirable personal characteristics, including parental status, religion, education, and income (Velten & Lashley, 2018). They shape the values, experiences, and expectations people have towards others. However, they are less visible to others, so they vary in degree of influence on a person. Primary and secondary dimensions shape the identity of an individual.

Role of impacting individual Perspectives

Diversity focuses on identifying and addressing the perception and attitudes people hold for each other. Therefore, managing diversity at an organizational level should begin with identifying and implementing policies aimed at changing certain practices. In a diverse company, people in one group are distinguished from another along the primary and secondary dimensions. The primary dimension influences an individual’s self-base image and ultimate worldview, thus significantly impacting a group’s position in the workplace. Additionally, secondary dimensions impact a person’s self-esteem and self-definition ((Khumalo & Zondo, 2021).

The existing differences in perceptions within a diverse workforce affect how relationships and unity are shaped. For instance, research by Starc and Erjavec (2017) noted that bachelor’s and master’s degree nurses discuss these two dimensions openly with their co-workers than those with secondary school or short-cycle college. This is because nurses with tertiary education have assertive communication and appreciate the difference in opinions, which affect the quality of nursing services. Similarly, Cho et al. (2017) noted that managers perceive diversity as a force that would help social enterprises succeed. Diversity could help with innovation due to the increased range of ideas from people with diverse backgrounds and meeting all consumers’ needs.

Primary dimension forms our core expectations of others within personal and professional setting. Secondary varies depending on environment, experiences, or stage in life.
Primary dimension forms our core expectations of others within personal and professional setting. Secondary varies depending on environment, experiences, or stage in life.

Benefits of diverse workforce

Changes in labor demographics created a massive difference in the workforce as people from different ethnicities, ages, educational attainment levels, and physical abilities work together.

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There are benefits associated with such a diverse workforce, as discussed below.

Diversity strengthens creativity and innovation because people from diverse backgrounds come up with new ideas, particularly when group members share similar preferences in values and goals (Velten & Lashley, 2018).

Increases customer satisfaction and rapid growth when venturing into new markets. As a company expands, hiring local workers based on their cultural background helps ensure consumer needs are met by integrating foreign and local cultures (Velten & Lashley, 2018). Integrating international and local workers also increase a firm’s adaptability because the community feels appreciated by people who understand their cultures.

Improves effectiveness and efficiency during project execution (Inegbedion et al., 2020). A diverse workforce involves an assemblage of people with varying skills, experiences, and competencies essential for solving different problems. As a result, the employees use their expertise to diagnose and address any difficulties quickly.

Organizational growth. As noted above, a diverse workforce has a unique way of doing things, which means organizations obtain varied and strategic ideas from each group (Cho et al., 2017). These new ideas help companies meet consumer demands and address social issues, thus promoting business growth.

The outcomes of companies in today’s market

McKinsey has been at the forefront in investigating the business case for diversity. Recently, McKinsey (2020) conducted a study involving more than 1,000 large companies based in more than 15 countries. The findings revealed that companies with more than 30% women in executive positions outperformed others in the same category with fewer women in executives by about 10-30%. This outperformance is in terms of profitability.

For example, Sodexo, a company with 55% of the total staff as women and 58% of board members as female, enjoyed a gross profit increase of 23% (SocialTalent, 2020). The focus on gender balance also enabled Sodexo to increase employee engagement by 4% points, and brand image strengthened by 5% points (SocialTalent, 2020). The article also indicated that for every 1% increase in gender diversity, the company’s revenue rose by 3%, and higher levels of ethnic diversity resulted in revenue growth by 15% (SocialTalent, 2020). The other examples of companies benefiting from diversity include Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Johnson & Johnson, Accenture, Kaiser Permanente, EY, and Novartis.

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Another example is the film and TV industry, which McKinsey (2021) estimates could unlock over $10 billion in annual revenues by addressing barriers hindering black people’s representation. This report argues minorities’ stories are not told and are not well funded, but the demand is there and could help the TV and film industry reap more income.

Challenges of diverse workforce

Diversity could also be a source of conflicts and challenges that negatively affect productivity. Organizations with a diverse workforce and inexperienced managers who cannot resolve possible conflicts experience multiple challenges that influence performance (Starc & Erjavec, 2017). For example, too many opinions without a consensus or any group willing to compromise could be a source of conflict.

Communication barriers (Inegbedion et al., 2020). A diverse workforce consists of people from different backgrounds, languages, and perceptions of things. Such differences affect individuals’ understanding of specific scenarios that increase barriers in communication, mainly when they speak other languages. For instance, a local employee receiving instructions in English might not fully comprehend the instructions and leading to a drop in productivity due to back and forth.

Discrimination based on these differences (Inegbedion et al., 2020). Humans are biased in nature, meaning they make decisions that sometimes fail to incorporate facts and logic. The unconscious biases could cause discrimination based on gender, race, or age, creating discord and distrust amongst the workers. For instance, local workers might be hostile towards foreign employees because of differences in cultural or religious beliefs. Such hostility affects the ability of people to perform their tasks.

Managing diversity

Failure to effectively manage a diverse workforce leads to the disadvantages such as miscommunication, tensions, conflicts, and hostility. Velten and Lashley (2018) argued that these challenges arise due to insufficient cultural competence amongst the employees. Therefore, one solution to solve diversity issues is enhancing cultural competency, which includes educating all workers. The company should also create and communicate an effective strategy for managing diversity. Such techniques involve promoting values that seek acceptance and respect for every worker as well as recognition of diverse differences (Inegbedion et al., 2020). Employees should be encouraged to seek clarification when in doubt about the instructions and attend diversity training or team-building programs intended to enhance collaboration.

Conclusion

Diversity takes place along primary and secondary dimensions, influencing attitudes, perceptions, and stereotypes of one another.

As companies become globalized and hire a diverse workforce, managers must recognize diversity in their business and design proper strategies to manage diversity.

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Enhancing cultural competency, team building and diversity training, effective communication, and promoting equality are some ways to improve diversity.

A company with proper diversity management enjoys multiple benefits of a diverse workforce.

References

Cho, S., Kim, A., & Mor Barak, M. E. (2017). Does diversity matter? Exploring workforce diversity, diversity management, and organizational performance in social enterprises. Asian Social Work and Policy Review, 11(3), 193-204. Web.

Inegbedion, H., Sunday, E., Asaleye, A., Lawal, A., & Adebanji, A. (2020). Managing diversity for organizational efficiency. SAGE Open, 10(1), 1-10. Web.

Khumalo, P. M., & Zondo, R. W. D. (2021). Perception of the influence of cultural diversity on business performance in the automotive component manufacturing in South Africa. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 19, 1-7. Web.

Saylık, A., Polatcan, M., & Saylık, N. (2016). Diversity management and respect for diversity at schools. International Journal of Progressive Education, 12(1), 51-63.

Starc, J., & Erjavec, K. (2017). Impact of the dimensions of diversity on the quality of nursing care: The case of Slovenia. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 5(3), 383-390. Web.

Velten, L., & Lashley, C. (2018). The meaning of cultural diversity among staff as it pertains to employee motivation. Research in Hospitality Management, 7(2), 105-113. Web.

SocialTalent. (2020). 9 companies around the world embracing diversity in a BIG way. Web.

McKinsey. (2021). Black representation in film and TV: The challenges and impact of increasing diversity. McKinsey & Company. Web.

McKinsey. (2020). Diversity wins: How inclusion matters. McKinsey & Company. Web.

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BusinessEssay. (2022, August 6). Challenges and Benefits of Employing a Diverse Workforce. Retrieved from https://business-essay.com/challenges-and-benefits-of-employing-a-diverse-workforce/

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BusinessEssay. (2022) 'Challenges and Benefits of Employing a Diverse Workforce'. 6 August.

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BusinessEssay. 2022. "Challenges and Benefits of Employing a Diverse Workforce." August 6, 2022. https://business-essay.com/challenges-and-benefits-of-employing-a-diverse-workforce/.

1. BusinessEssay. "Challenges and Benefits of Employing a Diverse Workforce." August 6, 2022. https://business-essay.com/challenges-and-benefits-of-employing-a-diverse-workforce/.


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BusinessEssay. "Challenges and Benefits of Employing a Diverse Workforce." August 6, 2022. https://business-essay.com/challenges-and-benefits-of-employing-a-diverse-workforce/.