The whole world is a community. The basic unit of this community is the individual and each has unique features and characters. Individuals differ in both the visible (seen) and unseen features. The visible features include gender, race, ethnicity, religion, culture and sexual orientation, amongst many other variables. The non-visible features may include talents and abilities. They also include disabilities, experiences and many more. The workplace, being part of this diverse community, has to reflect the same in its operations and very importantly, its human resources. The current political, social and economical events induce managers, entrepreneurs and politicians to regard diversity management as a priority of their agenda. LOCOG is supposed to hold a very significant event – whose success lies in the human resource output. In preparation for this event, the Human resource management highly recommends that this organization shifts its focus from the traditional training and recruitment of employees and instead, look into the issue of diversifying its workforce. This step would ensure maximization of LOCOG’s efforts and services. This report aims at acknowledging the importance of workforce diversity and showing how Human Resource Management (HRM) can contribute towards LOCOG’s broader objective of diversity.
Workforce diversity refers to the inclusion of individuals of all walks of life into the workforce. It also acknowledges that people vary in abilities, gender, socio-cultural, age and even in their experiences. The World Olympics and Paralympics is a global brand that would attract people of diverse nature and stature and it would be very essential to ensure that this diversity is ensured.
The benefit of enhancing workforce diversity is the fact that the organization would be able to use the similarities and differences among the individuals for the benefit of the organization. Workforce diversity involves including people from different geographic locations, different professions and educational backgrounds into the same area of work. These similarities and differences help in bringing in different ideas into the workplace. This way, people would be able to learn different things from each other. This also enhances dignity and ensures that the employees have respect for each other. With all these, the productivity and efficiency of the organization would be enhanced.
Importance of workforce diversity to LOCOG
Just as in the specialization and division of labor, individuals have been proven very resourceful in their areas of expertise and ability. The optimistic view describes the importance of embracing diversity. It argues that it leads to the introduction of various perspectives and methods that are useful in approaching a problem. This would in turn lead to greater creativity and quality of performance (Mannix and Neale, 2005). This step would ensure a pool of human resource capable of handling duties with an all-sided approach.
The benefits of workforce diversity have been advanced through three theories. These include similarity attraction, self and social categorization, and information processing (Mannix and Neale, 2005). Similarity attraction postulates that individuals with similar likes, dislikes, character and attitude develop a natural pull towards one another or develop interpersonal liking and easily attract. This, in an organizational sense, is vital for the social – and hence economic well-being – of this organization. In simpler terms, an example of similarity attraction is that of a disabled client who would relate perfectly with a disabled attendant. They would also both engage in a mutual interaction. This theory further states that an individual would show preference towards members of a certain group even though they might not be having any history of socialization of any sort. This can also be well termed as a primary cognitive process of categorization (Mannix and Neale, 2005).
The social categorization theory is more of a stereotyping procedure whereby the in-group members are differentiated from the non in-group members (Ely and Thomas, 2001). While the similarity attraction theory is based mostly on personal attributes, the social categorization theory is based on social attributes such as race, gender, values or beliefs. This theory would apply directly to LOCOG since it is faced with the task of catering for individuals from diverse social backgrounds. This would be very important especially in religious or socio-cultural aspects. In fact, a number of religious organizations have been reported not to touch food cooked by a person from a different religion. Since LOCOG is faced with such responsibilities as making food and accommodation arrangements, it would be appropriate for the company to have different people to perform specific tasks that would suit the particular groups.
It is argued that the information processing theory is a more optimistic theory since it advances the idea that individuals who interact diversely have a vast source of information. This is simply because the diversity carries with it a pool of divergent experiences which when shared, serves as a great fountain of knowledge for the group (McCuiston et al., 2004). In order to cater for the greatly diverse population that would be LOCOG’s responsibility, this organization would need a workforce that is well informed and able to handle any group of persons.
Apart from ensuring complete exploitation of employee abilities, proper diversity management can also contribute to organizational achievement by enabling access to a dynamic market (Shen et al., 2009).
How the HR plans to achieve work force diversity to LOCOG
The Human Resource department – in considering the great role the workforce diversity would play in ensuring the success of this organization – has come up with various propositions. The HR will look at the basic elements of workforce diversity, strategies and suggestions of various ways to arrive at the solutions. These basic elements include diversities in race, gender, abilities, disabilities, age, religion and socio-culture.
Firstly, the Human Resource would like to emphasize on the need to increase the workforce through recruiting new employees. The HR proposes that the employees should be selected not only on merit but also with much emphasis on ensuring workforce diversity. The organization will need to ensure that race, gender, age, disabilities and religion are highly upheld and well represented. Since the games will also include Paralympics. It would be important that this be reflected in the workforce. Paralympics, being exclusively for the disabled, LOCOG would need to ensure that their workforce consists of the disabled, just to lay the issue of similarity attraction to rest.
In order to achieve this, it would be necessary to carry out special interviews to come up with this select group of intended persons. This means carrying out separate interviews for the disabled, separate ones based on different religions, races, cultures, gender and conduct different and separate interviews for the disabled persons. To obtain the above candidates, it will be necessary to approach the various relevant groups. Apart from the recruitment of new employees, the HR should also purpose to train the already existing workforce to learn to uphold and appreciate diversity.
The Olympics and Paralympics games are global attractions and for the whole duration that this country is going to hold this historical event, it is going to be on focus. To bring it even closer home, LOCOG – as the organization entrusted to host the games – is going to be under scrutiny. The success of LOCOG lies squarely on the shoulders of its labor force. The organization will interact with the entire world through its employees, who will be in direct contact with active and non-active participants in the various fields and out of field events. The organization is faced with the challenge of dealing with a diverse group of people from all walks of life. To counteract and even overcome this challenge, LOCOG will be in a better position if it lays the much-needed emphasis on ensuring diversity in its workforce. Having a diverse workforce would ensure majority coverage, if not a complete one. Majority coverage would imply that a greater number of persons are catered for and that a majority would leave this place a satisfied and pleased lot.
Ely, RJ & Thomas, DA 2001, ‘Cultural Diversity at Work: The Effects of Diversity Perspectives on Work Group Processes Outcomes’, Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 46, no.6, pp.229-273.
Mannix, E & Neale, MA 2005, ‘What Differences Make a Difference? The Promise and Reality of Diverse Teams in Organizations’, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 31-55.
McCuiston, VE, Wooldrige, BR & Pierce, CK 2004, ‘Leading the diverse workforce. Profit, prospects and progress’, The Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 73-92.
Shen, J, Chanda, A, D’Netto, B & Monga, M 2009, ‘Managing diversity through human resource management: an international perspective and conceptual framework’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 235–251.