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Creating and Promoting Diversity Management through Human Resource

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Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, the world is submerged in a wide range of demographic trends which have the potential to radically change the demographic, cultural and ethical mixture of the population in many countries within just a few decades.

Top managers often say that their company’s people are its most important asset. In a tight job market and a global economy a company that puts people first – regardless of their race, religion, gender, age, sexual preference, or physical disability – wins.

Companies, especially big multinational players which have to deal with these changes, are growingly forced to react. Employees, once a homogenous group in many countries, are increasingly diverse and need to be integrated within and into working environments. Diversity can present an immense source of opportunities but it can also mean the opposite, a big threat.

Diversity management is a managerial approach in response to these trends and can help companies to effectively and efficiently manage their personnel diversity, i.e. personnel made up of diverse and multifaceted people. The text argues that a diverse workforce can be regarded as an instrument of sales promotion, a marketing tool to induce customers to buy certain products or services.

To be successful at creating workforce diversity program involves attracting and retaining the highest quality individuals in the talent pool. For the HR professional it means looking beyond obvious recruitment methods and venues for good people, then learning how to manage human potential sensitively. It requires an ever-increasing awareness of how people from different backgrounds deal with authority, communication, overall business etiquette, and relate to their communities of affiliation.

Promoting workforce diversity is a process that takes place in many stages and on many levels. It requires HR professionals first to recruit a competent and qualified staff, then to accommodate individual needs within the context of the work team and the organization.

In today’s world of cultural diversity, our business can’t thrive unless we implement a workforce diversity initiative. Besides tapping into the unique abilities and talents of people from different backgrounds, we can improve our image in the community by opening up a place of business to anyone regardless of race, color, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability.

1.2 WHAT IS DIVERSITY?

Diversity to us means all aspects in which people differ from one another. This includes both the visible and relatively easily demonstrable personal characteristics such as gender, age and ethnicity, as well as the less visible personal characteristics, such as competencies, needs and wants, work styles and character traits. Each employee has his or her own, unique combination of such characteristics. Another definition describes diversity as creating high performing organizations through valuing and using all the talents of employees of different groups. Regardless of how diversity is defined, it is an issue that is weeping the nation. If the corporate society does not address the issue by learning how to manage diversity, they will fail.

1.3 DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT

Managing diversity is one of the most important challenges faced by manager sand their organizations. In today’s work environment, co-workers are likely to be of different gender, age, religion, cultural background, race and ethnicity. They also differ in terms of lifestyle, choices available, perspectives, attitudes, value system, beliefs, behaviors, expectations, skills and experiences. These issues are not just about discriminatory practices but they modify the nature and demands placed on leadership and management and bring into prominence the concept of diversity. How well or how prepared managers are able to invest in the concept of diversity will impact not just on work issues but also on sensitivity to customer’s needs, legal compliance, business’ ethical issues, profitability and even social cohesion.

Diversity management is a strategic process to manage a diverse workforce-including the fight against stereotypes, prejudice and all kind of discrimination due to the individual perceptions and assumptions- in the manner to maximize the benefit and minimize barriers of different opinions, behavior and attitudes of human beings within a company.

Diversity management is a strategy that is intended to foster and maintain a positive workplace environment. Usually initiated by Human Resources professionals and managed by department heads and supervisors, an effective diversity management program will promote recognition and respect for the individual differences found among a group of employees. The idea of this management style is to encourage employees to be comfortable with diversity in the workplace and develop an appreciation for differences in race, gender, background, sexual orientation or any other factors that may not be shared by everyone working in the same area of the company.

Diversity management can be adapted to many different types of working environments and be integrated into many different types of management styles. Promoting recognition and acceptance of diversity among the employees can convert a hostile workplace environment into a welcoming environment where people freely communicate and support one another with any tasks associated with the job. In doing so, the implementation of a diversity management approach often makes it possible for productivity levels to increase dramatically.

1.4 PRINCIPLES OF DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT

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1.5 CATEGORIZATION OF DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT

Diversity management can be divided into two categories:

1. The internal effect has an influence on organizational structural changes within the company.

2. The external effect concerns the environment of the company e.g. customers, stakeholders, suppliers etc.

The concept of diversity management is extensive; there are various components of diversity as follows:

Diversity of ethnicity, nationality and cultures.

Diversity of demography (gender, age and experience).

Diversity of competencies (educational and professional backgrounds).

Diversity of organizational functions and processes.

Diversity of networks (i.e. relationships and communications channels and/or patterns etc.)

Miscellaneous diversity (sexual preferences, occupational disabilities, i.e. handicap or physical mobility, etc.)

Chapter 2

2.1 WORK FORCE AS A CHALLENGE

First, there is an increase in the cost of training. This increase comes from costs associated with seminars, programs and lectures given to promote diversity in the corporation. These types of training are given to all levels of staff within the organization. They teach employees others. These programs also teach one how to deal with conflicts and prejudice in a professional and civil manner.

A disadvantage of diversity in the workplace is an increase in conflicts.

Conflicts arise when two or more individuals or groups do not see eye to eye on a particular situation. In regard to diversity, conflicts arise largely due to ignorance. Prejudice feelings or derogatory comments cause a lack of acceptance. “This can produce negative dynamics such as ethnocentrism, stereotyping and culture clashes”. The most common conflict comes from one feeling superior. If management ignores such conflicts, the company’s performance may suffer. If conflicts can be managed and controlled, creativity and performance can be increased. Employers will work harder to gain acceptance by creating a solution or invention first.

Increases in labor turnover and absenteeism are another disadvantage in having a diverse workplace. Research has shown that the turnover rate for African Work Force as a challenge.

First, there is an increase in the cost of training. This increase comes from costs associated with seminars, programs and lectures given to promote diversity in the corporation. These types of training are given to all levels of staff within the organization. They teach employees others. These programs also teach one how to deal with conflicts and prejudice in a professional and civil manner.

Increases in labor turnover and absenteeism are another disadvantage in having a diverse workplace. . Research has shown that the turnover rate for African Ameri-Ongori and Agolla 075cans in the US workforce is 40 percent greater than whites. Another study by Corning Glass stated that between the years 1980 – 1987, the turnover rate for women in a professional job was two times higher than males. Women also have a 58 percent higher absentee rate than men. Yet, another study shows that a person, who is not a member of the “inner group”, will be one of the first to leave a company. Some research contradicts the idea that flextime reduces these rates; however absenteeism and turnover can cost a company up to and over $3 million annually.

Workforce diversity increases labor turnover and absenteeism in organizations on employee satisfaction and productivity. Employees who perceive themselves as valued members of their organization are harder working, involved, and innovative. Unfortunately, minority-group members often feel less valued than do majority-group members due to stereotyping, ethnocentrism, and prejudice. Mismanagement of diversity in the form of denied access or unfavorable treatment can have negative consequences, such as inhibiting workers’ abilities and motivation.

2.2 WORK FORCE DIVERSITY: BENEFITS

Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people in an organization. That sounds simple, but diversity encompasses race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more. 

Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves, but how they perceive others. Those perceptions affect their interactions. For a wide assortment of employees to function effectively as an organization, human resource professionals need to deal effectively with issues such as communication, adaptability and change. Diversity will increase significantly in the coming years. Successful organizations recognize the need for immediate action and are ready and willing to spend resources on managing diversity in the workplace now. 

2.3 BENEFITS OF WORKPLACE DIVERSITY

An organization’s success and competitiveness depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits. When organizations actively assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported such as: 

Increased adaptability:

Organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands. 

Broader service range:

A diverse collection of skills and experiences (e.g. languages, cultural understanding) allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis. 

Variety of viewpoints:

A diverse workforce that feels comfortable communicating varying points of view provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences. The organization can draw from that pool to meet business strategy needs and the needs of customers more effectively. 

More effective execution:

Companies that encourage diversity in the workplace inspire all of their employees to perform to their highest ability. Company-wide strategies can then be executed; resulting in higher productivity, profit, and return on investment. 

2.4 WORKFORCE AS AN OPPORTUNITY

Managing diversity can create a competitive advantage. Potential benefits of this diversity include better decision making, higher creativity and innovation greater success in marketing to foreign and domestic ethnic minority communities, and a better distribution of economic opportunity.

Organizations with a diverse workforce can provide superior services because they can better understand customers’ needs.

2.5 WHY SHOULD WE STRIVE FOR DIVERSITY IN PERSONNEL?

An often heard argument to avoid having to put energy into diversity is that it only leads to misunderstanding, undesired formation of groups, communication problems and conflicts in the work force. When put like this, paying attention to diversity seems a useless investment.

But demographic developments cannot be ignored. In situations like labor

shortage, organizations cannot permit themselves to exclude a substantial part of the labor force. Diversity in personnel has different advantages pertaining to business economics:

Attraction for a wider group of customers: more people can identify with the organization. This could increase your turnover;

More creativity within the organization: diversity leads to innovative products and services, which is necessary to compete with other businesses;

An improved business image: more people see you as an ’employer of choice’.

Diversity covers a wide variety of issues, including communicating with

employees, whose first language is not English, helping a diverse team cope

with conflict, learning which rewards are valued by different groups, and

dealing with discrimination. Managers can improve handling of diversity issues

by following these eight behaviors.

Embrace diversity: Successfully valuing diversity starts with accepting the principle of multiculturalism. Accept the value of diversity for its own sake -not simply because you have to. You need to reflect your acceptance in all you say and do.

Recruit broadly: When you have job openings, work to get a diverse applicant pool. Avoid relying on referrals from current employees, since this tends to produce candidates similar to your present workforce.

Select fairly: Make sure your selection process doesn’t discriminate. Particularly, ensure that selection tests are job-related.

Provide orientation and training for minorities: Making the transition from outsider to insider can be particularly difficult for nontraditional employees.

Sensitize all employees: Encourage all employees to embrace diversity.

Provide diversity training to help all employees see the value in diversity.

Strive to be flexible: Part of valuing diversity is recognizing that different groups have different needs and values. Be flexible in accommodating employee requests.

Seek to motivate individually: You need to be aware of the background, cultures, and values of employees. What motivates a single mother with two young children and who is working full time to support her family is likely to be different from the needs of a young, single, part-time employee or an older employee who is working to supplement his or her retirement income.

Encourage employees to embrace and value diverse views: Create traditions and ceremonies that promote diversity. Celebrate diversity by accentuating its positive aspects. But also be prepared to deal with the challenges of diversity such as mistrust, miscommunication, and lack of cohesiveness, attitudinal differences, and stress.

Chapter 3

3.1 IMPORTANCE OF DIVERSE WORKFORCE

Our Nation is made up of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, customs and beliefs. It is those differences that contribute to the richness and strength of our society. Like our Nation, the workforce Is also becoming more and more diverse. As a result, in order to recruit, hire and retain the best people from every background and community, we must foster diversity in our workforce, manage it effectively, and value what it has to offer. A diverse workforce is critical for any organization that seeks to improve and maintain a competitive advantage. Focusing on diversity and looking for ways to achieve an inclusive environment is not just a “nice to have objective,” it makes a good business sense. A diverse workforce offers greater productivity and a competitive edge. Diversity improves the quality of our workforce and offers

a higher return on our investment in human capital. Our agency’s future

depends on the quality of employees we recruit today. New employees often consider an organization’s diversity efforts when deciding whether to accept or reject an employment offer. Potential candidates are usually more attracted to employers that are committed to sustaining a diverse workforce. Moreover, diverse perspectives increase creativity as they offer different perspectives, ideas and solutions.

People have a lot of viewpoints and having people from many backgrounds and places in life brings a lot of those viewpoints into the mix. In some situations, alot of viewpoints give us a lot of options. Plus, since there are many different viewpoints and environments in the workers, there are many opportunities for these different viewpoints to come into the planning of strategic initiatives, allowing the firm to serve a wider group of consumers and interests. The Various .advantages of having a diverse workforce are the following;

1. It helps motivating employees.

2. It enhances the innovation and creativity of employees.

3. It helps in reducing cost.

4. It creates flexibility in the organization.

5. Immediate access to problem solving.

6. Easy transfer of knowledge.

7. Better marketing structure.

8. Innovative work environment.

9. Immediate outcomes.

10. Fulfillment of social responsibility.

11. It helps attract and retain employees.

Management of Diversity in leading INC’s

A manager or the superior must be aware of the background, cultures, and values of employees. The motivation factors for a full time working mother to support her two young children are different from the needs of a young, single, part-time employee or an older employee who is working to

supplement his or her retirement.

3.2 ACCENTURE DIVERSITY

“Accenture is passionately committed to cultivating a diverse workforce both because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s a key element of achieving high performance,” said Armelle Carminati-Rabasse, Accenture’s managing director of Human Capital and Diversity globally. “Our company comprises people from a wide range of cultural, educational and geographic backgrounds-people who are able to challenge conventional thought, offer unique perspectives and generate innovative ideas. Our rich diversity is part of what makes our company strong.”

In an independent study commissioned by Accenture on cross-cultural communication problems, it was found that the chief factors causing problems between onshore and offshore workers were different communication styles (76 per cent of the times), different approaches to completing talks (53 per cent), different attitudes toward conflict (44 percent) and different decision-making styles (44 per cent). About 200 US business executives whose companies have outsourced business processes outside the country were interviewed here.

“We know the markets we serve are growing increasingly diverse and we are proud of how diversity management has become part of our day-to-day business practices,” said Clyde Jones, ADP Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer. “To consistently take our business growth to the next level and beyond, we must do the same regarding our commitment to diversity. This recognition from Diversity Inc is an important acknowledgement that we have continued to move in the right direction.”

3.3 GOOGLE DIVERSITY

“Diversity plays a large role in the way we’re developing our engineering organization around the world. We’re building a large worldwide office presence to establish ample global representation among our engineers, and we’re applying that same focus to establish a balanced representation of employees at Google. In the end, these efforts help us more accurately and relevantly represent our users, and our continued success depends on the best minds working from different perspectives and insights.

3.4 INFOSYS DIVERSITY

Globalization has changed the character of the modern workplace global company’s employee base should reflect the diversity of the world it serves. Infosys strives to employ people representing the widest possible variety of nationalities, cultures, genders and gender identities, sexual orientations, employment histories, and levels of physical ability. In doing so, the company is able to recruit new employees from all available global talent pools and provide paths to employment to all members of world societies, including talented individuals from groups who may have in the past been under represented within the IT industry. Within such a diverse company, people bring to the workplace contrasting opinions and worldviews. As these people interact, they develop new ideas, methods, and perspectives. Infosys recognize sand promotes this power of diversity to drive innovation.

Infosys actively fosters inclusivity across all of its business units and in everyone of its company offices. It encourages all employees to focus on the commonalities they share and leverage their differences towards productive team work. Inclusivity ultimately makes for a more informed and sensitive employee base that is better able to serve clients.

Infosys was the first Indian IT company to establish a company office to manage and drive all company initiatives dealing with diversity and inclusion. Today they have employees from over 70 countries. Women constitute more than 32% of their workforce.

Infosys Women Inclusivity Network (IWIN) promotes a gender-sensitive work environment. IWIN recognizes the unique aspirations and needs of women. It provides avenues for vocational, personal and psychological counsel to enable professional and personal development. Infosys won the first NASSCOM-India Today corporate award for excellence in gender inclusivity in 2007. Infosys actively seeks to hire and train persons with disabilities. In 2006 and 2007,Infosys BPO received the Helen Keller award for the best employer from the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).Infosys announced an intake of 300 graduates from universities in the US in2006 and about 25 from universities in the UK in 2007 as part of its commitment to create a diversified workforce. The new employees will develop their engineering skills at Infosys Development Centers across India for six months before returning to Infosys offices in the US.

3.5 TCS DIVERSITY

Diversity in companies is no longer about being melting pots, but being salad bowls,” according to Grady Searcy. “We want people to retain their identity yetbe integrated into the company Currently, 7.5 per cent of our workforce consists of non-Indians,” said the EXECUTIVE VICEPRESIDENT and head Global human resource, TCS while speaking at the NASSCOM HR Summit on `The War for Talent’ held recently in Chennai. In accession on managing cross-cultural teams, speakers emphasized that managing a diverse workforce is no longer a choice, but an imperative.

The Indian workplace is no different from global MNCs.TCS has announced plans to hire about 4,000 people from across the world.

3.6 WIPRO DIVERSITY

Wipro launched of its Women of Wipro (WoW) initiative, coinciding with the international Women’s Day. Wipro honored its women workforce with the title of ‘Green Ambassadors’ besides felicitating women achievers. The WoW initiative has been launched as a chapter of the Wipro’s Diversity Council, as the company’s Green Ambassadors will influence a change in the environment by undertaking various projects that emphasize on the aspect of ‘Green’.

The initiative will be driven by the Green Ambassadors at a personal level. Wow will also work towards creating visibility for its female leadership, both internally and externally. Building sustainable and growing networks that contribute to the success of business, the community and self-development would be the other highlight of initiative.

Wipro Chairman Azim Premji said: “In Corporate India, I have been seeing very positive shifts in the last few decades that have made it easier for women to contribute to organizational growth. There are many instances where the so- called glass ceiling has been shattered. There is no doubt that having more women in an organization can help in making it more profitable.”

Eco Bags specially made for women employees were given away on the

occasion. The ‘Eco-Bag’ contains quick and easy list of green steps, called

“Shades of Green”. Going forward, the WOW charter will include several

initiatives that have a significant social impact and where women can play a catalytic role in ushering change. The Core Diversity Council has been set up to breathe life into these initiatives so that they don’t remain buried in a PowerPoint presentation. The council consists of representatives from every function at a senior level.

Chapter 4

4.1 DIVERSITY PAYS

Today, with growing global consensus that workforce diversity is important, what trends do we see in India? If we take women in the workforce as a prime indicator, there is no question that the signs are encouraging. But are they similar across the country? Do companies big and small drive the change with the same vigor? Are we witnessing these trends across industries or only in more ‘progressive’ sectors? And more importantly, are an increasing number of women assuming senior leadership positions?

As a nation we have much to be proud of. Throughout the rich history of our nation, women have occupied positions of leadership, and have made a mark on the world stage. However, we have much to worry about as well. Female infanticide and low levels of female literacy indicate that many sections of our society are yet to accord an equal status to women.

So what is the connection? It is simple but important, businesses in India have a responsibility to send a strong message by their actions – everybody counts.

This will not be easy. How do we get there if our start point is three women in a workforce of hundreds? As always, we have to begin at the top. If the captains don’t get it; then we shouldn’t start! Let’s not forget, in this talent scarce market companies (should) want to attract people of all backgrounds, promote gender diversity and spread the talent net as wide as possible. And frankly, once a company builds a diverse team the pay back is through superior performance. Workforce diversity is an obligation to shareholders, to society and to employees.

Effective diversity measures and evaluation processes that determine the ROI of diversity management can provide an organization with invaluable information to support key business imperatives–such as the impact of diversity training and areas of improvement needed for recruitment strategies. Further, diversity initiatives that receive public acknowledgment through awards (e.g., Diversity In Top 50 Companies for Diversity) help attract bright talent and positively affect company brand and reputation.

FINDINGS:

Going beyond political correctness

As mentioned right at the beginning of this article, diversity should not be confused with political correctness. Take some typical situations. A white manager fears being perceived as racist if she gives critical feedback to her black subordinate. A black engineer passed over for promotion is reluctant to raise this concern for fear of being seen as “playing the race card.” A woman associate who wants to reach the board in an MNC resists seeking coaching on her leadership style; afraid that this would only confirm the notion that women don’t have what it takes to get to the top. A manager in an Indian public sector company takes care to ensure that the people belonging to scheduled castes in the department are never taken to task for poor performance.

In politically correct cultures, people worry about how others view them, rather than think of what is good for the organization. They feel inhibited and are afraid to address even mundane issues directly. People impulsively draw private conclusions and keep things to themselves. Resentments build, relationships fray, and performance suffers. The atmosphere becomes such that people skirt around the issues and one another. The result is misunderstanding, conflict, and mistrust, undermining both managerial and team effectiveness.

The Business case for diversity

The shift in labor market demographics seems to be the main reason businesses are supporting diversity. In many countries, companies are increasingly looking at talent pools they have not considered so seriously before. In India, women are entering the job market in a big way. In the coming years, people from the rural areas will also enter the job market in a big way. This trend has already started and will pick up momentum in the next five years. Many Indian software companies are also adding a large number of foreigners to their workforce. At a Nasscom HR summit in the middle of 2006, Infosys announced an intake of 300 graduates from universities in the US in 2006 and about 25 from universities in the UK in 2007 as part of its commitment to create a diversified workforce. TCS announced plans to hire about 4,000 people from across the world. So far foreign recruits have been mainly used by Indian IT companies in overseas locations to manage relations with foreign clients. But as India becomes an increasingly important and prestigious location for foreigners to work and add to their experience (and to their C.V.), a new dimension will emerge. Diversity will become even more important in helping these people to contribute to full potential.

Another area where diversity has the potential to create real business value is innovation, which has become extremely important today in view of the rapid changes in the business environment and diminishing cycle times. One of the best ways to encourage innovation is to have diverse teams where different perspectives are brought to the table. Age is a big factor here. The young can think out of the box but the old with their experience are better at knowing what works and what does not.

As creativity expert, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi mentions, the young, have fluid intelligence, or the ability to respond rapidly. They have quick reaction times and can compute fast and accurately. This type of intelligence is largely innate and its various components peak early – teens, twenty’s or thirty’s. With age, these skills weaken, and after 70, the decline is usually quite severe.

The older people have crystallized intelligence which helps in making sensible judgments, recognizing similarities across different categories, using induction and logical reasoning. These abilities depend more on reflection than quick reaction. They usually increase with time, at least until the age of sixty. By having teams with a judicious blend of old and young people, creativity can be enhanced significantly.

Diversity can also play a crucial role in improving the quality of decision making. As James Surowiecki mentions in his much acclaimed book, “The wisdom of crowds,” divers


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