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Diversity in an Organization: Differences Among Employees

Organizational diversity encompasses a wide range of differences among employees. These include ethnicity, gender, culture, age, education background, race, organizational function, and cognitive style. It involves establishing an inclusive environment that allows employees to respect the differences of their counterparts. Diversity involves the perceptions of how people perceive others, which in turn affects the nature of their interactions. The human resource personnel, therefore, needs to intervene in order to ensure that these aspects of diversity do not affect the duties and responsibilities of the employees. The HRM needs to handle the concerns of adaptability, change, and communication. It should also look into how these concerns affect the changing nature of the organization (Congleton, 2005).

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Once an organization embraces and deals with issues arising from diversity, it can realize multiple benefits such as increased adaptability to customer demands and fluctuating market because employees from diverse backgrounds can combine different experiences, talents and ideas, which can generate numerous solutions to organization’s problems. This diverse compilation of ideas, experiences and skills also enables an organization to reach the global market. Embracing diversity also allows and enhances employees’ inspiration, and satisfaction, which in turn translates to improved performance, high productivity, return on investments, significant profit levels and ultimate achievement of the company’s objectives (Wentling & Palma-Rivas, 1998).

Diversity also poses challenges to the organization including communication problems caused by perceptual, language and cultural barriers, which can result in poor teamwork among the employees. Some employees are resistant to change, and thus prove to be difficult to adopt the social and cultural changes that come with organizational diversity. This challenge of embracing diversity is closely linked to the issue of implementing the diversity policies. Therefore, the management or the HRM must come up with strategies of implementing and maximizing the effects of organizational diversity and establish a culture of diversity to allow for the smooth running of operations in the company. The implementation process can be achieved by including the employees in formulating and implementing the policies of diversity in order to deal with resistance of employees to change.

The employees need to contribute their opinions and ideas in order to promote an attitude of equality and openness. The management can also incorporate people or employees from different backgrounds in the leadership position as a means of promoting diversity. The employees also need to undergo training in order transform their perceptions of the policies of diversity (Mor Barak, 2000).

Employees need to learn the importance of organizational diversity in order to effectively represent the client’s base and deliver quality products and services. The organization can deal with a wide range of the population by embracing diversity policies instead of letting people from a given culture, race, gender, and age to deal with their respective customers. Involving the top management or leadership, who are responsible for steering organizational change, and making the policies of organizational diversity a necessity for ensuring the alignment of business strategy with diversity strategy, can serve to help the organization. The subsequent measure is to map out a change process and construct an effective system of communication and cultural understanding. During the process, of implementing the policies of diversity, the management of the organization needs to provide adequate support and development while leading the employees through the change process. Organizations need to define the aspects of diversity and be beyond the differences that exist among the employees (Congleton, 2005). Their main goal should be to have a balanced workforce that reflects people from diverse backgrounds by hiring employees on the basis of skills, experiences and merit. A concrete strategy for a diversity program can enhance a systemic change in the workforce composition that reflects the demographics of the society.

References

Congleton, R.D. (2005) Elinor Ostrom, Understanding Institutional Diversity. Public Choice 132 (3-4); 509-511.

Mor Barak, M.E. (2000). The Inclusive Workplace: An Ecosystems Approach to Diversity Management. Social Work 45 (4): 339-353.

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Wentling, R.M. & Palma-Rivas, N. (1998) Current status and future trends of diversity initiatives in the workplace: Diversity experts’ perspective. Human Resource Development Quarterly 9 (3); 235-253.

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