Facebook is an industry leader in technology and social media. Occupying a management position in such a company means having to deal with many complicated challenges. One of the most critical present-day challenges is posed by diversity, which includes differences in race, gender, age, culture, and functional background. A diverse team can achieve great results by combining varied strengths and perspectives, but this is not an automatic success. A diverse workforce makes it vital to develop an approach that would minimize conflicts between employees. Using management techniques is necessary to keep the team aligned with the company’s mission and values, providing a unifying overarching identity without negating diversity. This paper will examine the possibilities of putting together and sustaining a diverse team with positive dynamics and a strong alignment with the company mission.
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Creating a Diverse Team with Different Strengths
Diversity plays an increasingly prominent and influential role in the modern business world. The concept of diversity covers the differences in such varied human characteristics as race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and cultural and functional background (1, Mickahail and de Aquino). As such, virtually any workplace presents some form of diversity, though a large international company like Facebook would have a much broader range of employee backgrounds than small local firms. The differences in people’s backgrounds shape their experiences, perspectives, work styles, and values. The trend of increasing workplace diversity brings with it considerable challenges as well as unique opportunities. Compared to more homogenous teams, diverse teams can suffer from increased cultural misunderstandings and conflicts, which can undermine decision-making (1, Mickahail and de Aquino). However, their broader perspectives can also yield greater creativity, which can be useful in areas from research and development to customer service. Proper human resources management that reins in the harmful effects of diversity while harnessing its strengths is essential for a company’s success.
Creating a successful diverse team requires a clear understanding of what sort of employees the company needs. While requirements like loyalty and responsibility are universal, some characteristics are more important for specific companies and positions. As a social media company, Facebook places a high premium on communication skills, especially in customer-facing positions. Creativity is particularly critical for the development of new products or features. A multicultural workplace rewards cultural intelligence, especially in management staff (1, Mickahail and de Aquino). One method of discovering candidates with those qualifications would be through personal questions during interviews. For example, hobbies such as roleplaying can indicate heightened creativity and communication skills. People who grew up in multiethnic environments are likely to possess superior cultural intelligence. Interviews and test assignments can also reveal workstyles that may suit different roles in the team. Some prospective employees are natural leaders, while others may be better at multitasking or analysis (2, Schwartz). Recruiting to build a diverse team requires looking for ways in which diversity can benefit the company.
Methods to Improve Team Dynamics and Employee Behaviors
Team dynamics are the sum of relationships and behaviors within a team. A strong, dynamic, internally cohesive team is required to transform individual creativity into innovation (1, Mickahail and de Aquino). However, internal conflicts, mistrust, and fear of punishment for expressing heterodox ideas can severely undermine a team’s effectiveness (2, Schwartz). Fostering an atmosphere of openness, trust, and mutual support in which team members will feel free to express themselves and receive support for their ideas must be one of a leader’s foremost responsibilities. Positive team dynamics depend on constructive employee mindsets and behaviors. Leaders and managers can foster a healthy collaborative environment by setting the tone themselves through transparent and fair-minded conduct. They should listen to employees’ feedback and address any problems in a direct and timely manner, even if it means having to discipline problematic employees. Those considerations are particularly urgent when dealing with more diverse teams due to their higher number of potential faultlines.
Control systems such as rules and guidelines are essential for ensuring a good team dynamic in the workplace. While some older literature treats control and trust as conflicting priorities, more recent studies show control systems are crucial for ensuring trust (3, Verburg et al.). Fair and transparent rules should regulate employees’ roles, rights, and responsibilities, helping ensure good behavior while also improving morale by eliminating uncertainty. The employer should establish a formal mechanism for resolving any conflicts that arise within the team in an even-handed and constructive fashion. Guidelines should foster a safe collaborative working process without stifling employees’ initiative. While control systems cannot replace a positive mindset among employees, they can help promote it.
Two Management Techniques to Align Team Behaviors to the Company Mission
A company’s mission is the official purpose of its existence. It reflects its values and describes its long-term strategic goals. Facebook’s mission statement is “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” (4, Facebook). This statement conveys the company’s responsibilities to its long-standing customer base and its focus on creating social value through increased global contacts. Everything the company does must relate to its mission in some way, and all of the company’s employees must understand that they play a role in this mission (5, Gordon). This understanding is not only good for morale but also necessary for employees to not lose track of the big picture. By offering a shared identity and an overarching objective, a company mission provides a much-needed focus for a diverse, creativity-oriented team.
Aligning a team with the company mission requires the use of human resource management techniques. Facilitating two-way communications can help achieve both this goal and that of ensuring positive team dynamics. Holding regular group discussions on the state of the company with all of its departments is an excellent way to build trust and inform team members of big picture plans and results (5, Gordon). They also provide an opportunity to collect feedback, gauge the team dynamics, and address any outlying questions. Team-building exercises can be another method of bridging cultural divides (2, Schwartz). By helping team members from diverse backgrounds understand each other better, team-building activities such as games reduce friction within the team and present an opportunity to demonstrate company values. By using those and other management techniques, an effective leader can empower a diverse team to work towards common goals suggested by the company mission.
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Effective human resources management in a modern company requires harnessing diversity. Workplace diversity can pose considerable challenges from the management standpoint due to the increased possibility of conflicts. Still, if handled successfully, it offers unique advantages in the form of diverse skillsets and viewpoints. A diverse workplace makes ensuring positive, constructive team dynamics and employee behaviors especially important. Control systems such as rules and formal conflict resolution mechanisms can help by offering certainty and trust. Aligning team behaviors with the company mission is a crucial objective for human resource management. The management techniques employed to reach that goal, such as group discussions and team-building exercises, must create a unity of purpose without sacrificing the real benefits of diversity. The company that manages to make the complexity of modern life work in its favor will stand to reap high dividends in the future.
Bethany K. Mickahail and Carlos Tasso Eira de Aquino, eds., 2019, Effective and Creative Leadership in Diverse Workforces.
Susan G. Schwartz, 2017, Creating a Greater Whole: A Project Manager’s Guide to Becoming a Leader.
Robert M. Verburg, Ann-Marie Nienaber, Rosalind H. Searle, Antoinette Weibel, Deanne N. Den Hartog, and Deborah E. Rupp, 2018, The Role of Organizational Control Systems in Employees’ Organizational Trust and Performance Outcomes. Group & Organization Management, Vol. 43(2), 179-206.
Facebook, 2019, Investor Relations.
Gus Gordon, 2017, Leadership Through Trust.