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The origin of occupational diversity can be traced from the succession of the complex approaches that were introduced in the workplace over the 1960s. The inventive practice of diversity was particularly derived from affirmative action that was tailored on the law, coupled with the obligation to observe the equal opportunity employment provisions. This compliance-tailored approach prompted the conviction that remuneration was the main motive behind a personnel's recruitment into an institution when they diverged from the mainstream agencies. This mainly entailed race, age and gender. Even though affirmative action served as the guiding policy, the US companies are barred by the constitution from perceiving race or origin as one of the recruitment bases, besides recruiting to balance diversity quotas. Nevertheless, the federal judiciary has endorsed the appliance of minimal favoritism depending on race, ethnicity, or gender, especially in the case of a patent imbalance in conventionally isolated occupational positions. However, the modern diversity in workplace is associated with sex, age, linguistic, cultural background, economical fortunes, individual health, and religious doctrines. In consideration to the complex regional personnel as well as the international investments; cultural proficiency is probably an essential etiquette for constructive occupational performance within the contemporary context.
With the increasing globalization, workplaces demand more relations among people from different backgrounds. Gone are the days when corporations used to source their employees locally and operated in an insular market. Today, businesses are part of the global economy and are affected in every way by the global factors, including competition and cultural diversity. Given this complexity, companies require diversity to be more relevant and flexible in the market. They also need to recognize that the marketplace is diversifying. But the concept of diversity entails acceptance, respect and understanding of the uniqueness that exist among people.
The purpose of this paper is to look at the workplace diversity at Zebra Corporation, which manufactures food containers for recycled plastic and glass. In doing so, it begins by listing the issues and problems with cultural diversity at the company. It also looks at the benefits and opportunities that exist for the company. In addition, it discusses ways through which employees can be encouraged to be more understanding of each other. Lastly, the paper concludes by preparing a business plan to deal with the workplace diversity.
Overview of workplace diversity
According to Dijk et al (73-84), workplace diversity can as well be referred to as 'a communal issue,' encompassing the various distinctions as well as similarities exhibited among organizational staff members. It's normally granted a general definition to entail additional aspects as opposed to restricting it to those recognized constitutionally under the equal employment act, besides affirmative action and non-discrimination acts. Hence in interpretation, it involves the origins and attitude that employees poses, which might range from scholarship, experience, custodial status along with geographic backgrounds. As a theory, diversity endorses learning from workplace colleagues, distinctive cultures, and backgrounds, in an attempt to ensure dignity and self-esteem for all, apart from developing occupational settings as well as practices that endorse understanding in order to utilize the benefits of the different perspectives.
Culture regards the beliefs, customs, and norms that dictate the way a descendant of a given community views, thinks, associates, conducts, as well as makes resolutions. However, cultural competence refers to the potency to corporate productively with colleagues from distinctive backgrounds. This potency relies on the awareness of one's own cultural worldview, knowledge of other cultural practices and worldviews, tolerant attitudes towards cultural differences, and cross-cultural skills, while cultural obstacles ranges from misunderstandings to the physical conflict, which might all jeopardize institutional productivity (Neault and Mondair 72-80).
Issues and Problems of Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity in the workplace is a sensitive area that needs to be handled with extreme care. Without proper structures, it can just be one of the most challenging areas for any company. The issue is not just about acknowledging the differences among people and cultures, something which is of course good. But diversity demands that these differences be recognized and respected. This calls for practical approaches. Entirely, it means doing away with all forms of discrimination, and promoting an inclusive environment where everyone feels he/she is respected. Discrimination, in particular, has earned many corporations very bad reputations both locally and internationally (Harold 38-73). The other issues are prejudice and negative attitudes towards each other in the workplace. Relationships in the workplace play an integral part in the daily activities of the company.
Certainly, poor relationships (especially those based on discrimination) can damage the workforce morale, which may inevitably result in poor production. Workers must develop a healthy working relationship, and managers must employ proper criteria in managing the corporation, especially when it comes to promotions, incentives, and recruitments (Armache 59-75). Entrepreneurs should be ready to admit their errors, which will in turn allow, for instance the human resources sector to conduct an exit interview appraisal to establish why marginal workers are departing the institution and to adopt a solution to contain prospective departures. However, overlooking workplace diversity problems may gradually lead to time, resources, alongside efficiency wastage as noted by Mohamad and Tyner (62-73). A few implications may entail detrimental strains; meager output; incapability to draw and hold on productive personnel; criticisms and legal suits; thus reflecting negative ventures in hiring and training.
Benefits and opportunities of workplace diversity at Zebra Corporation
Diversity in the workplace is extremely beneficial to the company. Accepting and respecting each person in the workplace can greatly enhance productivity. Most companies that suffer low productivity are often as a result of lawsuits and infightings from within. Recognizing and accepting diversity reduces these cases, and thus the workforce energy is channeled solely on the production. This in turn, necessarily increases the opportunities of the company in the global market. For instance, when the company's reputation is good across the diverse cultures, it becomes quite easy for the company to attract and recruit more competent, creative and business oriented staff. This is particularly important in an increasingly competitive market. But diversity in the workplace also means the company gets more qualified people across the globe. Diversity in the workplace also drives the company's economic growth, as it captures wider consumer market. Furthermore, if diversity is properly fostered, it will increase creativity and innovativeness in the workplace. Everyone puts on the company pool their rich background experiences and differences where others learn from. Also, diversity in the workplace places the company at a leverage point to realize its full potentials (Armache 59-75).
Managing cultural diversity
It is essential for institutional managers to understand how these aspects affect production, dedication, accomplishment, and interrelations between employees. Organizational protocols and routines that have hindered some facets of diversity might be appraised, challenged, and eliminated. Workplace complexity can equally guarantee exceptional benefits in the sense of good morale, broader reasoning and teamwork, besides an environment of mutual awareness and recognition as suggested by Davidson et al (139-143). Managing workplace diversity is normally perceived as identifying as well as legislating institutional structures and doctrines to administer personnel's in an attempt to ensure that the probable benefits of diversity are capitalize on, whereas its potential shortcomings are curtailed. Addressing diversity guarantees unique benefits in the modern world that includes flexibility, ingenuity, and adaptability that are all fundamental to competitiveness. Heterogeneity enhances resourcefulness while heterogeneous staffs have proved to be more productive at the top level of critical evaluation. Every personnel exhibit the responsibility to implement the institutional culture towards embracing the values of the numerous diverse employees, though under guidance of the administration.
Managing customary diversity is a complex task that involves embracing individual disparities and distinguishing them as key to enhancing appropriate administrative protocols by deterring discrimination while advocating for inclusiveness. An appropriate workforce cultural competency should create potentiality to recognize, converse with, as well as successfully relate to workers from diverse cultures, besides observing the associated customary calendars. Some of the key cultural distinctions that an organization should often aspire to focus on include; communication, which facilitates the dispensation of accurate information and is essential to productive work alongside group performance as suggested by Dijk et al (73-84). While team-building is an essential aspect to utilizing cultural complexities as other customs cherish both internal and external collaboration, although others normally prefer individual operations. Team-building initiatives might occasionally prove to be challenging as a workforce might comprise of individuals from a combination of these cultural practices.
Cultures also seem to view time distinctively, for instance, they vary in the duration of attending to occupational and domestic errands, along with the workplace clash between social occupation conduct. As supported by SHIN et al (197-212), time observations highlight the value of cultural variation in the occupational environment, and impact on the routine programs. Moreover, the commercial world normally operates on the western secular year, which runs from January 1 to December 31, although other cultures tend to have separate calendars they often use to determine anniversaries or other ceremonial days. For instance, Jews have several holidays that range from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur among others. Such diversities normally interfere with the workplace programs as personnel's will require time off to partake and honor their customs. Nonetheless, as a manager, being familiar with such eventualities will ascertain successful performance and meeting of deadlines.
To create a successful diversity in the workplace, managers must acquire certain vital skills. Essentially, they must understand the concept of diversity and its implications in the company (McMahon 37-48). They need to understand how a diversified workforce can benefit the company and the consequences of the reverse. Equally, to create a diverse environment, they must begin by recognizing their own weaknesses, especially how they approach the unique differences and how they perceive other cultures. Treating each individual with respect by itself is enough to increase the employee-morale, which in turn translates into production. Diversity also calls for flexibility. This means that managers must themselves be flexible to changes in the workplace. In addition, to create a successful workforce, the management must understand the dynamics of the workplace. Teamwork, for instance, is an integral part of the workforce. But this can only be nurtured by understanding everyone and promoting an inclusive environment. Lastly, managers must develop diversity policies (Snow 8-11).
Managing diversity should always prioritize enhancing the aptitude of all workers to contribute to institutional objectives, whereas affirmative action normally inclines towards a distinctive group of conventional prejudice, such as women. Hence affirmative action embraces legal entitlements along with communal liability; while managing diversity is bias towards addressing business interests and economical issues such as underrepresentation of either gender among other marginalized groups in the workforce, and collectively ensures that complexity is being accommodated by everyone. As reported by Mohamad and Tyner (62-73), to accomplish this, managers must verify through recruitment that the hired employees can proficiently work in a culturally complex setting and be productive. It is also important to prioritize the workplace requirements during the interview sessions and evaluate the familiarity as well as convenient attributes and viable competencies, involving analytical, institutional, expression, and coordination. While the recruiting panel must similarly be varied, unit connection, occupation categorization, with extensive experiences to depict diverse opinions, besides negating bias recruitment practices. The company also should ensure that some disabled contenders have been recruited in case they meet the relevant job specifications.
Improving workplace diversity
Endorsing occupational complexity exhibits numerous bottom line proceeds, but the recruitment needs to be conducted holistically, since retaining personnel's might prove to be more demanding as contrasted to recruitment. Such a challenge is most likely to be faced by organizations in marginally complex localities where transferred minority workers may suffer isolation. The managers may need to take additional liabilities to assist them in adapting to the new culture. Alternatively, the company may contact the immediate communal institutions such as churches, societal centers and colleges. The existing employees may also be contacted to give referrals, as they will obviously know qualified colleagues in the sector who are out of work. Such hiring approaches will also assist the new workers to instantly adapt to the workplace, thus improving the firm's productivity. The company should also formulate and employ an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), using the federal provisions and guidelines, given the objective of developing a commendable recruitment practice, which collectively embraces and considers culture, age, sex, minority groups, and race as noted by SHIN et al (197-212).
A commission might also be formed to assist in amending the policy, besides espousing inventive ideologies on how to draw additional cultural complexity to the institution, as well adjusting the prevailing mission statement to depict the policy. Make the vacancies more attractive to job seekers by stressing on packages that will appeal to a more culturally complex contestant's, while being culturally insightful when clarifying what makes the institution an ideal and accommodative setting to work at. The institution should also open a diversity initiative to enlighten both its existing and new workforce on cultural issues. The entire workforce should further be aware that the recruitment decisions are tailored on identifying qualified and competent candidates as opposed to quotas. Making the hiring procedure open may assist in changing the impressions of doubting employees (Davidson et al 139-143). The director should also extensively acquaint himself with the advantages of a multicultural workplace, as he will need to rely on such awareness to legislate the workforce provisions in endorsement of the practice. Present packages such as onsite daycare, children grants alongside flexible programs, besides briefing new workers on the company's receptive stance on cultural, religious and diversity-ethical practices.
While those with no deep rooted cultural affiliation or familiarity should be encouraged to partake or enroll with the local department of commerce to lobby for additional or emerging diversities and accomplish the relevant needs. Managers should offer new recruits a cause to stay, besides allocating adequate amount of time as well as endeavor to keep new workers, such as briefing them on their new duties as well as the firm's culture. The first weeks presents the most tempting period for any personnel. It's essential to give them a guarantee on their prospect with the institution. Openly clarify the promotional bases, and creating mentoring initiatives to ensure cordial working coordination's, since finding role models that exhibit individual interests might assist in fostering new acquaintances as reported by Neault and Mondair (72-80). The institution should also develop affinity units through which it can support small organizations of workers to devise how to advance the product values or invest in new markets. As a result, organizations will hence acquire inventive ideologies while the workers feel secure about their tenure.
The concept of diversity in the workplace not only entails acknowledging, but also accepting and respecting the unique and cultural differences among people. Obviously, in an increasingly diverse company like Zebra Corporation, differences in race, gender, ethnicity and ideologies are inevitable. It is, however, how these diversities are integrated in the workplace that makes the difference. When properly managed, they can be extremely beneficial to the company. In fact, diversity in the workplace is integral to a strong financial system. When people are able to build strong relationships, they translate into higher productivity for the company as they increase the work morale. On the other hand, if not properly managed, diversity can be a nightmare in the workplace and easily bring the company down. Instances of lawsuits and infightings can harm the company reputation and production. For a successful diversity in the workplace, managers must understand the concept of diversity and its implications in the company. They must also be flexible to changes, and must understand the dynamics of the workplace. And lastly, they need to recognize their own biasness and prejudices they may have against certain individuals or groups.