The Aspects of Managing Diversity in the Workplace

There is a growing need for companies and businesses doing business at home or abroad, to take leadership role in developing strategies and goals that encourage diversity in the workplace. People from dissimilar cultures, religions, race, ethnicity, and gender are imbedded in the workforce, but not necessarily used to their full potential. Companies are expanding operations at home and abroad, and employing people from diverse backgrounds without taking the steps necessary to create work environments that encourage the existence of diversity. The benefits are valid for companies that allow diversity to flourish, leading to motivated workforce, and harmonious workplace that encourages innovation.

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Diversity is here to stay, and should be accepted by businesses because of the predicted trend in the direction of markets and business practices. For those who embrace diversity early on is bound to reap the benefits and enjoy prosperous business earlier than those who ignore the trends. Diversity should no longer be viewed as a burden, but as additional skills available to management, and increasingly beneficial when used strategically.

Abundant resources of workplace demographical census data are available, and much analysis has been produced to define reality in business. The workforce is becoming more diverse and requires a fresh look at this reality to re-define it more precisely and reflect the changes of the last decade, and the trend of the next decade. The concise reality of workforce diversity will enable managers to better prepare and deal with such emerging workplace environment. The systems approach, as described by Arbnor & Bjerke (1997), will also be used “to arrive at new ways of approaching or classifying reality” because “reality itself is a system-like” and all of its variation must work together to reflect cohesiveness. The workforce in today’s business is increasingly constructed from people of various cultures, believes, backgrounds, and experiences and must work together cohesively to produce quality products and services that withstand the scrutiny of the customer, and the antagonism of the competition, just like a system.

The operative paradigm of this research will be confined to fresh analytical analysis of existing data but from the perspective of the explosive globalizations of businesses, and the need for systematic and comprehensive look at the workforce diversity and the need to suggest workplace environments where all the employees are afforded the opportunity to excel and operate efficiently in a harmonious system of reality.

This combination of designs, similar to our combination of approaches is the strength of our research. It allows the researcher to be precise when discussing and analyzing data and perception of the management about the diverse workplace, but also allows the researchers to analyze the data and perception of the various groups within the diverse workplace, and the relationships that could exist between them and the make up of the whole (Arbnor & Bjerke, 1997). The weaknesses of the non-experimental design are in the area of validity, conformity, and believability. All will generate arguments among scholars and creators of knowledge, but experimental designs would leave much smaller room for arguments

There is a big relationship between workplace environment and diverse workforce performance. Today’s workforce is composed of people from various cultures, backgrounds, religions, age groups, gender, races, and experiences. These dissimilar people bring both talent and skill to firms conducting business at home or abroad, and must be stimulated to flourish.

The workforce is becoming more diverse and requires a fresh look at reality in order to re-define it more precisely, and to reflect the changes of the last decades and the trends of the next decades. Recognizing diversity in the workplace will enable managers and leaders to better prepare and deal with such emerging workplace environments. As businesses expand operations at home and abroad, the need to address the diversification of company policies and strategies is urgent and needed element in the voyage to global success. Improve employees’ performance results in increased productivity and benefits the company in improved competitiveness and product acceptance in unique and localized markets.

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Training is the process by which position-related skills are taught. The more complex and non-routine the skills needed, the more training is required. The specification of knowledge and skill needed to perform a position is a method of standardizing the performance (Nosse, L, 1992).

It is important to note that training alone cannot resolve other diversity-related issues or challenges that may exist in an organization. However, this specialized kind of training does play a vital role in the success or failure of a company’s overall diversity initiative. In essence, therefore, the following are some key guidelines to keep in mind when considering diversity training for an organization. They were developed by Lawrence Baytos, author of Designing and Implementing Successful Diversity Initiatives and Ann Perkins Delatte, director of education for Diversity Consultants, Inc. in Atlanta, GA:

  1. Determine your training objective(s)
  2. Have a broad diversity strategy
  3. Plan your initiative well; do not begin your training sessions prematurely
  4. Perform a thorough needs analysis
  5. Use a participative design process
  6. Test your training initiative thoroughly before rolling out
  7. Balance internal and external efforts
  8. Incorporate diversity training into your core curriculum

For many organizations, awareness and knowledge training is still the primary diversity training approach taken. This initial step serves as a training foundation and should be followed by skills-based training. “Rather than spending time and money on changing attitudes, companies are now focusing on changing behaviors. Training topics around changing behaviors often include how management can better handle difficult situations and communications skills. The value of diversity training is optimized when awareness training and skills training are consistently implemented” (Diversity Appreciation Training Management – DATM).

However, managing diversity, just like any other kind of efforts, need close supervision. It is therefore important to have realistic expectations. Training cannot change an organization. All the more, changing individuals will be long and arduous since that includes their individual perceptions and beliefs. In the same manner, training alone cannot change systems or remove organizational barriers. It has limits in terms of what it can effectively accomplish. However, what it can do is “create and raise awareness, impart knowledge, and hopefully teach some skills” (DATM). If one knows what to accomplish and if selects an array of individuals who reflects the population, one will increase the chances of being heard by attendees. As in any kind of training, if one continues to revisit goals and build in measurement and accountability, training efforts will improve.

References

  1. Baytos, L. Perkins, A. (1995). Designing and Implementing Successful Diversity Initiatives, Prentice-Hall & SHRM, Atlanta, GA
  2. McNamara, C., Diversity Appreciation, Training and Management, Teaching Diversity Appreciation Management, Diversity Appreciation Training and Management.
  3. Nosse, L, Friberg, D., (1992.). Management Principles for Physical Therapists. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore Maryland, USA.
  4. Arbnor, A., & Bjerke, B., (1997). Methodology for Creating Business Knowledge (2nd ed.). Sage Publications, Inc., CA.
  5. Trochim, W. M. (2006). The Research Methods Knowledge Base (2nd ed.).
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