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Numerous sources have voiced the rationale for diversity in the workplace. There is significant evidence to include diversity as effectively an aspect of the mission statement within the corporations. This is beneficial to the reputation, recruitment and retention, productivity and risk mitigation in terms of legal compliance. Additionally, there are benefits to wider challenges, namely retaining existing trained staff and simultaneously attracting new skilled staff.
The key advantages for diversity in the workplace are the reputation of the organisation, its recruitment and retention profile and productivity, all of which have an impact on overall wealth taking into consideration factors such as;
- The willingness of customers to enter into business with the organisation
- The ability to attract and retain skilled staff
- The ability to nurture an innovative environment in order to increase productivity and develop innovative product lines
- The cost associated with recruitment and the loss in the skill mix when experienced staff move on to other organisations.
Courting a diverse demographic can enhance the reputation of a corporation. By attracting the optimum staff -the staff would want to be employed at the corporation thus the corporation can pick the optimum staff. Additionally, adapting a diversity policy and instigating it into the workplace sends a positive message to both staff and clients. It also contributes to the corporate social responsibility and engages the community as it seeks to make the most of the local demographic.
Examples demonstrating benefits of diversity and improved performance, recruitment and retention.
Companies such as IBM have adopted flexible working in order to widen the potential demographic especially the retention of elder staff who may wish to reduce hours to create a work/life balance. This allows retention of experienced skilled personnel and a realistic continuity plan. 55% of IBM employees have flexible working agreements. A survey of UK HR specialists demonstrated that 40% had concerns attracting skilled staff from the area. A significant number considered that flexible working would overcome this.
Despite evidence advocating diversity in the work[place, there are a number of hurdles. A key issue in the U.K is the withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) procedure which has lead to speculation regarding foreign workers. According to a report in the Independent newspaper, UK employers would have to pay a £1,000-a-year fee per EU skilled worker after Brexit under new government plans. This fee is already being introduced for employees outside the EU. Despite issues like this, pressure may cause the government to withdraw the suggestion. Some organisations e.g. Pret-a-manger have a 98% non-English workforce. Trends like this in light of globalisation are set to continue.
- Evidence exists to demonstrate that diversity is directly proportional to productivity and innovation
- Employees demonstrate increased performance and productivity in a diverse environment.
- Diversity in the group can encourage individuals to work together getting the best from their relationship creating interdependent high-performance innovating teams.
A key consideration are the risks associated with not adapting a diversity policy within the quality management system of the corporation. There is an increased level of bullying and harassment claims in corporations that have poor diversity practises. This has a knock on effect on increased levels of sickness among employees and an increased staff turnover rate. This directly reflects the reputation of the corporation.
Adoption of a pro-active diversity policy can yield numerous advantages. It attracts the most talented and capable employees and retains them. It can make a positive and strategic contribution to the successful operation of a corporation and the quality of the product range.
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