Diversity can be defined generally as the act of acknowledging, understanding, celebrating and valuing the differences that exist among people. This should be undertaken with a lot of respect given to the person’s ethnicity, both mental and physical ability, age, gender, class, race, personal spiritual practices, sexual orientation and their assistance status in the public (Kelli et al., 2009). Each person is diverse in their own way. As a matter of fact, differences spanning through a range of issues can exist amongst people who might be acting, looking or sounding alike.
Diversity that is nowadays ever present in almost every single work place out there is an issue that directly affects people and has its main focus on the similarities and the differences brought by people to their various organizations. This diversity in places of work is usually broadly defined including dimensions not specified statutes of non-discrimination. Thus it is not a surprise that diversity is actually an inclusion of everyone. Actually, in so many ways initiatives of diversity do complement programs that are designed to fight discrimination. All these do lead us to a point of taking diversity as an opportunity of learning from those that you consider to be different from you and thus advantageously grasp their perspectives of diversity (Woods, 2010).
Diversity in Gender
Women were in the past given low responsibilities in the workplace. They would either be employed part-time or temporarily. This was due to the fact that these women were considered t have a priority of family well-being being placed higher than the job responsibility. Additionally, women that were yet to get married would most likely leave their jobs as soon as they got married. Married women on the other hand would also resign from their positions on getting pregnant. Women with children were no exception s they were known to be more concerned about the well being of their children than working.
However now days, this perception is slowly drifting away as more women are ending up in workplaces and actively competing for potions that previously were predominantly male dominated. Despite these, there still exist those women who put the family first ad thus there needs a diverse environment created for them. They could for instance be given lower pay with flexible working conditions coupled with a growth in career that is limited. Eventually, they would still be working thanks to implanting diversification to accommodate their needs (Miller, 2002).
Through the accommodation of diverse genders in the workforce, the organization becomes assured of attracting the best workforce it can ever have irrespective of the gender and hence outperform its competitors. It also ensures that the organization has a higher pool from which to make its choice f employees. However, this increased diversity allowing more women into the workplace comes with it more management complexities. This is because these could be inevitably an increase in sexual harassment, the men changing or getting taught on how to manage interpersonal communication and more complications in compensation scheduling.
With a current record of having up to 4 different generations sharing a place of work, this ought to be treated with a lot of diversity. However the advantage that it comes with it is that there are also as diverse customers on age as there are employees. Thus organizations would become successful if they can implement their diversity in age to their advantage. They would eventually retain immense talent existing from the diversity of employees within the generations.
A few of the notable benefits associated with diversity in age or generation include the creation of awareness towards understanding the relationship between background in generation and style of communication, leadership or teamwork (Salkowitz, 2008). It also leads to more understanding of difference and similarities in the generation. Most importantly however, it leads to creation or development of effective strategies while interacting with generations that are different.
This is most commonly referred to as multiculturalism. It simply entails the ability to accept the diverse cultures that people do have while working for an organization in this case. On the other hand, class diversity tries to bring unison in how different people in the same organization get treated and viewed irrespective of whether one belongs to a working class, middle class or capitalist class (Miller, 2002).
Other Forms of Diversity
There are various other forms of diversity that exist at the work place. One such is diversity in education which tries to bring some common ground when interacting with different individuals of varied educational levels working in the same organization. It also ensures that even those who are considered to have low wages can get heard and respectively treated. There are just so many forms of diversity out there and it all depends on how an organization enforces them in the work place. Some of these include religion, race and how physically able a person is. I.e. whether disable or perfectly normal.
Impact of Diversity in the Work Place
Competitiveness and eventual successfulness of an organization heavily depend on the very organization’s ability to realize and embrace the diversity along with its many benefits. If organizations do manage to asses how they handle the diversity at their places of work, then they will go along into developing and seriously implementing the plans that affect diversity, various benefits will surely come its way.
One of such benefits is the increase in adaptability. This is simply because with the presence of a diverse workforce, various solutions to various problems can b forged right from the employees themselves. These problems could include but are not limited to resource allocation, service delivery or sourcing of any item. Individual talents are brought on board from their diverse backgrounds. Individual talents coupled with immense and varied experience in idea suggestion that are flexible enough to adapt demands from the market and customers.
Another importance is the availability of a broad range of services which become available. The diverse collection of experiences and skills will enable the company to provide greater services. This will in fact make the organization become globally acceptable in terms due to having global diversity. With viewpoints that are varied, the workforce will provide an immense pool of ideas just through communication. This lucky organization can then get this huge pool of ideas enabling it meet it’s the strategic business needs. Thus in the long run, the needs of its diverse customers would be adequately served.
With diversity encouraged in the workplace, workers usually become more challenge and encouraged to perform to their highest possible levels of expectations. With strategies executed at a company wide level, productivity of higher magnitudes can be achieved. Eventually, this would lead to increased returns that were invested and translate to higher profits.
With workers in the organization feeling freer in their working environment, they become less likely to quite their jobs. This would eventually lead to a drop in the rate of turn over, i.e. number of workers leaving the organization. This eventually leads to a reduction in the amount of money and also time invested towards recruiting new employees. Let it also be noted that further expenses ate incurred on these new employees while training them.
Diversification would also lead to a reduction in the rate of workers becoming absent. This is because if diversification does exist, then the workers would most of the time is in high spirit and would end up loving their places of work. This would eventually make an employed worker be absent only when they really have to because other than other things, they would miss their colleagues at work.
To sum up all the benefits of diversification then maybe an analogy of a fruit salad would do the trick. Assuming you is to take a friend out on a date and you were to make different fruit salads for that friend of yours, then it would be better if you had about 5 different types of fruits from which to make your salad. Assuming you only had one type of fruit from which to make the 5 typed of salads, your friend would not have much of a varied taste. This is the same with diversity, with different people of different personality comes a rich flavor organizational picture. This would make it more competitive in the market.
Challenges to Diversity
As always, there will always be some workers who might not be receptive enough to embrace diversity. To them, they are used to ding things their own way and are not ready to accept the changing cultural and social workplace makeup.
Diversity can also lead to emergence of more conflicts between works. This is usually due to existence of poor communication channels or other barriers of communication like language that might exist. This can be a lot more profound in cases where workers are from diverse cultures and develop hard time communicating. They will eventually develop a hard time when trying to solve their issues amicably and hence lead to creation of tensions and general dislike to one another (Wilson, 1997).
Despite the above challenges, the complete removal of diversity in work places is just not feasible. One ought to try and understand more about diversity should they face challenges while trying to implement them at their work places. Good knowledge of what diversity entails should be sought to ensure that they correctly applied.
Diversification can be defined as an activity that adds value to an organization. It improves the rate of solving problems and also enhances the ability of workers to perform critical analysis while they are trying to solve any kind of problem. Further still, diversity leads to improved innovations and creativity just by the same workers. It is no wonder that companies that have eradicated sexism, classism and any form of racism continually tend towards having a workforce with high respect towards gender and race. These workers are also always taking steps towards creating work teams that are heterogeneous. In not so many words, the impact of diversification at workplaces is just immense and any organization that would not tap into it is missing out on a great benefit.
Kelli, et al. (2009). Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and the Required Managerial Tools. Web.
Miller, F. (2002). The Inclusion Breakthrough: Unleashing the Real Power of Diversity. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Salkowitz, R. (2008). Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age Gap. Mississauga: John Wiley & Sons Canada Limited.
Wilson, T. (1997). Diversity at Work: The Business Case for Equity. Mississauga: John Wiley & Sons Canada Limited.
Woods, et al. (2010). Workplace Diversity. Web.