Introduction To Workforce Diversity Commerce Essay

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Workplace diversity refers to the extent to which an organization is culturally diverse. Cultural diversity includes the range of ways in which people experience a unique group identity, which includes gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnic and age. An organization's culture tends to determine the extent to which it is culturally diverse.

In a journal entitled The multicultural organization, by Taylor Cox, Jr., Cox talks about three organization types which focus on the development on cultural diversity. The three organization types are: the monolithic organization, the plural organization, and the multicultural organization. In the monolithic organization, the amount of structural integration (the presence of persons from different cultural groups in a single organization) is very minimal. "In the United States, this organization usually represents white male majorities in the overall employee population with few women and minority men in management jobs. "The plural organization has a more heterogeneous membership than the monolithic organization and takes steps to be more inclusive of persons from cultural backgrounds that differ from the dominant group. The multicultural organization not only contains many different cultural groups, but it values this diversity.

Benefits

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.

Challenges

Miscommunication and lack of understanding is bound to happen in diverse workplaces. Having a policy of diversity and utilizing team-building exercises can help employees learn to communicate and respect each other. Diversity training should be implemented from the top through the bottom of the company hierarchy. Employees are more likely to consider policies fair if those policies can be seen firmly in place at the manager level. Having zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination can help companies avoid costly lawsuits.

Action Steps

First, assess your company's diversity across all departments. It may help objectivity to hire an outside consultant to perform a diversity assessment. Document what things you want to change, and then make a plan to start diversifying your business. Set up reasonable goals for your company; you may want to revisit your company's policy of diversity every quarter or annually. Be aware of the difference between pursuing workplace diversity and affirmative action. Affirmative action, which is the process of considering a person's racial background during the hiring process, has been challenged in the courts. The Supreme Court has generally frowned on workplace quotas. Employers should be careful to avoid "reverse discrimination" during the staffing process. For example, pursuing workplace diversity is not the same as having positions that are only open to women or people of color; this is illegal.

[Cultural bias is an additional factor which challenges culturally diverse work environments. Cultural bias includes both prejudice and discrimination. "Prejudice refers to negative attitudes toward an organization member based on his/her culture group identity, and discrimination refers to observable adverse behavior for the same reason"

Another challenge faced by culturally diverse organizational environments is assimilation. Assimilation into the dominant organizational culture is a strategy that has had serious negative consequences for individuals in organizations and the organizations themselves. Those who assimilate are denied the ability to express their genuine selves in the workplace; they are forced to repress significant parts of their lives within a social context that frames a large part of their daily encounters with other people." She goes on to mention that "People who spend significant amounts of energy coping with an alien environment have less energy left to do their jobs. Assimilation does not just create a situation in which people who are different are likely to fail, it also decreases the productivity of organizations". (WIKIPEDIA)

EVOLUTION

OF

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY

http://www.ehow.com/about_5066229_characteristics-workplace-diversity.html

Workplace diversity was first encouraged in the U.S. by the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1963. This law required equal pay for men and women performing the same job. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This included making hiring or firing decisions based on these backgrounds. So far, sexual orientation is not one of the federally protected categories under equal rights laws. However, businesses may incorporate sexual orientation consideration when embracing workplace diversity.]]

IBM - first company to start work force diversity

http://www.citehr.com/46309-ppt-managing-diversity.html

IBM figured in the Fortune magazine's list of "America's Most Admired Companies" in the year 2004. It was appreciated for recruiting and retaining the best talent across the world. IBM actively encouraged recruiting people from various social and cultural backgrounds irrespective of their age, sex or physical status. In the same year, IBM had developed a talent marketplace to effectively manage its workforce. The marketplace supported employees to find the most suitable job across different organizational units within the company.

The ranking was based on eight variables like employee talent, innovation, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment value, and quality of products/services5.

Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, as IBM started operating in other countries outside the US, it actively promoted diversity. The company developed a well-structured diversity policy and implemented it within the organization. During the 1990s, diversity council and network groups were formed to promote diversity

In the early 2000s, a skilled workforce was one of the key differentiators for a successful IT company. IBM gave importance to not only recruiting and retaining the best talent but also to managing them in such a way that wastage of skills was reduced. In 2004, IBM developed Human Capital Management Services software to implement a talent management model within the organization. According to analysts, IBM's focus on talent management enabled the company to utilize its workforce properly and also to assess its future talent needs. They felt that the best practices in talent management could be further used to formulate and implement succession planning and leadership development strategies.

Work Force Diversity at IBM

Diversity at the work place in the US originated from the concept of EEO in the 1940s. At IBM, Watson Jr. issued the first equal opportunity policy letter in 1953. Later, it came under government compliance under the Civil Rights Act of the US in 1964.

With the onset of 'globalization' in the 1980s, organizations initiated efforts to broaden

their marketplace. In an attempt to sustain themselves amidst the continuously increasing competition, they started doing business across the world. This trend made it important for them to focus on diverse cultures across borders in order to offer products and services that suited the specific needs of different markets.

LITERATURE REVIEW

In today's society, cultural diversity is at the highest point it has ever been. As companies are becoming more diverse, it is becoming more important for them to understand and manage that diversity. People of different backgrounds, races, ages, sex, and/or religions create a diverse workforce. There is an importance of having a diverse workforce in order to provide better performance overall. With a diverse workforce, there arises a need for new management strategies, which require organization leaders and managers to know the differences among their employees and to know how to handle situations involving these differences. As Dr. Sondra Thiederman, a leading expert in workplace diversity, stated, ``whether you are a business owner, executive, salesperson or customer- service professional, your success will increasingly depend on your ability to function in a culturally diverse marketplace'' (Thiederman, 2000). 

The growth in diversity is continually on the rise. Today, one in four people in this country belong to a minority or are foreign-born (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001). These minorities are considered include any person who is not a white-male. Women today, who currently make up less than half the work force, are expected to fill 65 percent of the jobs created during this decade (Jackson et al., 1998). 

Cornell Cooperative Extension, February 1998 http://www.joe.org/joe/1998february/a1.php

Strategies for recruiting a diverse workforce are illustrated by case examples from the three stages in Cornell Cooperative Extension's staffing process. Organizational change to address diversity and pluralism requires a change in organizational culture. In the process of recruiting staff from diverse backgrounds, Cornell Cooperative Extension is creating new rules to become more inclusive. Implications indicate that retaining staff from diverse backgrounds needs to be as high a priority as recruiting them. Preparing the workplace to support staff from diverse backgrounds requires greater attention. Changing organizational behavior is the first step in creating a workplace that supports diversity and pluralism. Strategies for helping organizations become more inclusive are reviewed. Workplace diversity means new opportunities for both employees and employers. As organizations such as Cooperative Extension move into the 21st century, it is imperative to capitalize on the talents of employees from diverse backgrounds because it is their "differences that enrich us, expand us, [and] provide us the competitive edge"

ALLIED SOFT( www.microsoft.com/casestudies)

need to develop and manage your globally dispersed and diverse workforce more effectively - without sending your costs sky-high. To do that, you need scalable, advanced people management technology that drives your HR strategy across culture, nation and language - so you can efficiently manage your workforce, no matter where in the world they may be.

By Juliet Midgley and Rae Lewis http://www.onlineethics.org/cms/10977.aspx

Adjusting to diversity involves developing a new corporate culture that will work naturally for all. This culture has not yet been fully developed, although companies such as Honeywell, Aldrich Associates, and Pacific Bell are making the effort. According to Robert Roosevelt Thomas, pioneers will be needed to forge and solidify this new area of management and business. He envisions that diversity will be fully achieved and effectively managed only "in such a way as to get from a heterogeneous work force the same productivity, commitment, quality, and profit that we got from the old homogeneous work force."

'Creating diverse workforce greatest challenge for global firms'

By   IANS Tuesday,17 June 2008 http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/42798

           

 

Creation of diverse workforce would be the greatest challenge for corporations in a globalised world, Infosys Technologies chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy said here Saturday."As corporations grow and globalise, I am convinced that the greatest challenge they will face will be the creation of a diverse workforce," Murthy told shareholders at the company's 27th annual general meeting (AGM) for fiscal 2008. 

In a bid to address the daunting challenge, Infosys has built a global base to grow in the future, with over 91,000 employees from 70 nationalities working across 90 countries.

During 2007-08, the company recruited a record 33,177 people against its projected hiring plans for 25,000.As a global firm with a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic workforce and delivery centres, Murthy said the IT bellwether had taken several measures to create a high-level of diversity in its workforce by enhancing its recruiting efforts in different countries.Though Infosys receives a whopping one million job applications every year, just 2.3 percent of them are offered employment.

"We continue to hire from the best universities the world over and train them in our global education centre at Mysore in Karnataka. The first batch of graduates from Britain were hired in the last fiscal," Murthy pointed out.Riding on the success of its hiring and training programmes in Britain and the US, Infosys plans to extend the same to many other counties to build a world-class global workforce.

Murthy also informed the shareholders that the education centre at Mysore, about 140 km from India's IT hub, would be one of the world's largest such facility where 13,000 graduates can be trained at a time, with about 500 faculty rooms and 10,300 residential rooms.

Infosys's Globalization Strategy

Posted in:  Business Monday 23rd, June 2008 http://blogs.siliconindia.com/RajSheelvant/P0wU18365916020

Creation of diverse workforce would be the greatest challenge for corporations in a globalized world, says Infosys Technologies' chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy according to Silicon India article "Creating diverse workforce greatest challenge for global firms".

The only way to overcome ethno-centric corporate culture is to have multi-ethnic and multi-national top executives. Infosys needs to create diversity at the top executive level first. That will have a long term affect of neutralizing ethno-centric corporate culture and building a truly global organization. That is the onlyway for Infosys or any other company to achieve globalization strategy.

Globalisation and workforce diversity: HRM implications for multinational corporations in Singapore. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Globalisation+and+workforce+diversity:+HRM+implications+for...-a0166537374

This paper presents findings based on a study involving local and foreign medium to large-sized multinational corporations (MNCs) in Singapore. The findings highlight the connection between the stages of organisational development, headquarters-subsidiary orientation, and increasing workforce diversity in MNCs. The following section discusses the political, economic and social imperatives in the Asia-Pacific region as regional political and business leaders emphasise on strengthening institutional capacities to develop and implement effective strategies and practices that will provide a foundation for human resources development in response to globalisation (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, 1999, 2000a/b, 2001a/b). Subsequently, this will bring about significant organisational changes in firm structures. This study examines the impact of globalisation in Singapore as a result of such regional developments. The justification for the study in Singapore stems from the fact that it is strategically positioned in this particular region, whereby the nation's leadership have placed much emphasis on strengthening institutional capacities to develop and implement effective national policies and strategies that will provide a foundation for continuous economic growth in the 21st century. 

Attahir Yusuf International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development 2005 - Vol. 2, No.2  pp. 240 - 256 (http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=recordHYPERLINK "http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=6313&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or"&HYPERLINK "http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=6313&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or"rec_id=6313HYPERLINK "http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=6313&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or"&HYPERLINK "http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=6313&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or"prevQuery=HYPERLINK "http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=6313&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or"&HYPERLINK "http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=6313&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or"ps=10HYPERLINK "http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=6313&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or"&HYPERLINK "http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=6313&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or"m=or)

The study explored workforce diversity in the ''under-studied'' Arabian Gulf. Specifically, it investigated what small enterprises are doing right with respect to workforce diversity and what they are not doing right. It also studied the relationship between motivation to diversify, level of education, gender and level of workforce diversification in small enterprises. The result indicated that the organisations are doing much more towards diversification and there is also a positive and significant relationship between education and the level of workforce diversification in the SME sector. Diversified firms are also reported as recording higher performance levels compared to non-diversified firms.

Human resource practices and workforce diversity:an empirical assessment . Author(s): Brian D'Netto, Amrik S. Sohal,1999

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=6296A766136AA92DD3DBF557AE9AFEC8?contentType=ArticleHYPERLINK "http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=6296A766136AA92DD3DBF557AE9AFEC8?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=848256"&HYPERLINK "http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=6296A766136AA92DD3DBF557AE9AFEC8?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=848256"hdAction=lnkhtmlHYPERLINK "http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=6296A766136AA92DD3DBF557AE9AFEC8?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=848256"&HYPERLINK "http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=6296A766136AA92DD3DBF557AE9AFEC8?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=848256"contentId=848256

Workforce diversity has become an important issue in Australia. This study examined the extent to which human resource management practices were being used by organisations in Australia to manage workforce diversity. The study also assessed the perceived challenges and benefits of diversity in the workforce. The findings of this study indicated that overall, management of workforce diversity is only "mediocre". In particular, inadequate diversity management practices were found in the areas of recruitment and selection and training and development. As migrant employees do not create any problems and are very compliant, the challenges that workforce diversity presents does not receive adequate attention by organisations in Australia. However, these organisations seek several benefits from their multicultural workforce.

by Carol T. Schreiber , Karl F. Price , Ann Morrison

In the early 1970's, labor demographers were observing changes in the composition of the U.S. workforce that were expected to modify domestic employment patterns in the coming decades. In 1976 a Conference Board report forecast that the 1980's decade would see higher percentage increases in labor force participation rates for white women and minorities than for white men -- given continuation of current trends (Lecht, 1976, p.8). When the mid-1980's arrived, demographers, noting that anticipated workforce changes had occurred, predicted further acceleration of the trend by the milestone year 2000. Workforce 2000 projections forecast continuing increases in labor force participation for previously under-represented demographic groups, especially women and people of color. These projections indicated that by the year 2000, working women's representation in the labor force would increase to 47% (of the labor force); African-Americans to 12%; Hispanics to 10% and Asians to 4%; building on trends already apparent in labor force participation rates (Fullerton, 1989).

R. M. Wentling, N. Palma-Rivas

There are numerous ways in which diversity has been defined, there is no definition that fully includes all the characteristics that a diverse population may bring to the workplace. It also showed that there are many forces that are driving diversity issues in organizations. For example, there is a significant increase in women and minority populations in the workplace; Americans continue to mature; an increasing number of minority youths are becoming part of the workforce; gay men, lesbians, and bisexual individuals are becoming an important part of the workforce and marketplace; people with disabilities are also increasingly entering the labor force; and more business is becoming global.

This literature review indicates that the demographic composition is affecting not only the makeup of the labor workforce but also the makeup of the marketplace. Therefore, having a diverse workforce and managing it properly is perceived as a competitive strategy that can not only help attract diverse customers but also employees who have different perspectives that can contribute to the creativity of the organization. This review also indicated that researchers have found that an important reason for implementing diversity initiatives in organizations is to improve corporate productivity and profitability.

Ongori Henry and Agolla J. Evans

University of Botswana, Botswana.Accepted 27, June 2007

The extent to which managers recognize diversity and its potential advantages and disadvantages defines an organization's approach to managing the diversity (Adler,

1997). No organisation in this world of globalisation would survive without workforce diversity. It is the duty of the management to critically evaluate the benefits of workforce

diversity in their organisation. On the other hand the management should put in place conditions which would enhance the workforce diversity in their organizations, more especially in their strategies formulation on the diversity of the workforce. Hence, with the diversity of the workforce, the organisation would be internally and externally

competitive. Although, the process of diversification of organizations has six stages: denial; recognition; acceptance; appreciation; valuing; and utilization (Porras,

1991). It is believed that organizations should put in place strategies to enhance workforce diversity. In terms of organizational learning, organizations are still stuck on

the problem of getting people to value diversity and have not yet determined ways to utilize and exploit it

COMPANIES HANDLING WORKFORCE DIVERISTY

AT&T

Commitment to Employees

AT&T realizes that diverse, talented and dedicated people are key to a company's success. The company's philosophy is to provide employees with continued opportunities to grow and develop their careers. Management is charged with successful implementation of various diversity initiatives as part of this philosophy. AT&T leaders are expected to understand the importance of cultural competency.

Training and Career Development

We want to help our people grow and develop in their careers. In 2008, we invested $244 million in employee training and development programs and an additional $25 million on tuition reimbursement for employees. And 100 percent of our employees receive regular performance and career development reviews.

Employee Resource Groups

At AT&T, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are affinity groups open to all employees. The ERGs support our commitment to diversity and inclusion through efforts in the workplace, the marketplace and the community. We're proud to work with these groups to further the goals, values and interests of both our employees and our company. 

GENERAL MILLS

http://www.generalmills.com/corporate/commitment/workforce.aspx

We believe that diverse teams create more and better solutions. A diverse work force helps us stay ahead of our competitors through growth and innovation.

Employee Networks

General Mills' Employee Networks provide a supportive, positive forum for developing, sharing, and exchanging information and ideas. They support our strategic work force objectives by:

Attracting and retaining a highly talented diverse work force.

Creating and maintaining an inclusive work force environment.

Providing a voice to our leadership regarding barriers and opportunities.

Providing a support system and forum for exchanging information and ideas.

American Express

American Express was well known in American corporate circles for its commitment to diversity. The company not only made a conscious effort to recruit a diverse workforce, but it also created a work culture where diversity was valued and promoted. This case discusses the diversity initiatives of AmEx. It talks about how the company partnered with several profit and non profit organizations to ensure that it had access to a diverse pool of candidates in its recruitment efforts. It also talks about the culture and policies at AmEx that ensured that diversity was promoted in all parts of the organization. The case concludes with a commentary on the extent to which the diversity initiatives were successful at the company, in the light of a law suit filed by some women employees against the discrimination they faced.

Diversity at Amex

Diversity was an integral part of the culture at AmEx. AmEx believed that focusing on diversity was one of the ways to gain competitive advantage in the rapidly expanding global markets. 

Having a diverse workforce allowed AmEx to obtain a better understanding of the varied markets it operated in. Diversity has been defined in various ways by experts. The narrow definition, the one pertaining to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the US, defined diversity in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, religion, and disability. However, over the years the concept of diversity widened to include parameters like marital status, language, sexual orientation and tenure with the organization. AmEx embraced and promoted diversity in the broad sense, and its diversity initiatives covered a large number of groups including women, minorities, senior employees, people with disabilities, and homosexuals.

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."

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."

Alan Eustace - Google SVP, Engineering & Research

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

underrepresented 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 recognizes and promotes this power of diversity to drive innovation.

Infosys actively fosters inclusivity across all of its business units and in every one of its company offices. It encourages all employees to focus on the commonalities they share and leverage their differences towards productive teamwork. 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.

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 yet be integrated into the company Currently, 7.5 per cent of our workforce consists of non-Indians," said Mr. S PADMANABHAN,EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT and head Global human resource, TCS said while speaking at the NASSCOM HR Summit on `The War for Talent' held recently in Chennai. In a session 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.

DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT AT HYATT HOTELS

Formation of diversity councils at thecorporate and hotel levels

Provide scholarships for minority students pursuing degrees in hospitality management

Partnerships with national minority organizations.

Create action plans to increase women and minority representationat all management levels.

Creating a diverse workforce is visible in the faces of the total workforce.

Hyatt Mumbai has 46% females.

At managerial position 37% are females.

Training allows the employees to work more efficiently by developing effective management practices to include treating others with dignity and respect

Training allows the employees to work more efficiently by developing effective management practices to include treating others with dignity and respect

Reliance Energy Management

Institute (REMI) looks after the training of the managerial staff

Versova Technical Training Centre (VTTC) looks after the training of the technical staff

Managers can also have special training programs arranged if required by the employees.

It forms a connecting link between the regular workers and the upper management.

The contract labours have unorganized labour unions to solve their problems.

Diversity- The India Inc. Way

Bharti Enterprises and American Express have mandated their recruitment agencies to have 25 % and 33% women candidates at the interview stage.

Infosys BPO employs 112 people who suffer from different forms of disability and it wants to take the proportion up to 3-4% in the next couple of years.

A team of 24 people at Infosys BPO were taught sign language to help them communicate with the hearing and speech impaired.

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 titleof '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'.

CRITICAL

APPRAISAL

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.

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.

Why should we strive for diversity in personnel?

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 si0ngle 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.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Ward off change resistance with inclusion. - Involve every employee possible in formulating and executing diversity initiatives in your workplace. 

Foster an attitude of openness in your organization. - Encourage employees to express their ideas and opinions and attribute a sense of equal value to all. 

Promote diversity in leadership positions. - This practice provides visibility and realizes the benefits of diversity in the workplace. 

Utilize diversity training. - Use it as a tool to shape your diversity policy. 

Launch a customizable employee satisfaction survey that provides comprehensive reporting. - Use the results to build and implement successful diversity in the workplace policies. 

As the economy becomes increasingly global, our workforce becomes increasingly diverse. Organizational success and competitiveness will depend on the ability to manage diversity in the workplace effectively. Evaluate your organization's diversity policies and plan for the future, starting today. 

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