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Workplace Diversity Is an Essential Concept

Introduction

The contemporary business world constantly goes through significant advancements and requires organizations to adapt to various changes. Companies no longer feel that their only aim is to fulfill the needs and desires of the clients but realize that creating a positive working environment determines the success of their operations. For this reason, businesses pay significant attention and invest in developing their communities and establishing the atmosphere for the personal and professional growth of employees. One of the concepts that benefit different organizations and industries and supports them in the global market is workplace diversity. As mentioned by Mor Barak (2016), the topic of diversity management became a “recognized field of scientific inquiry, and there are increasing numbers of research articles published every year in academic journals” about this idea (p. 16). Therefore, the following paper will discuss workplace diversity in detail by using various academic and internet sources.

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Definition

Workplace diversity is a concept essential for the modern business environment where companies have to cooperate on an international level and adapt to various innovations in the industry. This term is used to describe workplaces that consist of individuals with a wide range of characteristics that differ based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and culture (Mor Barak, 2016). In addition, people in diverse environments have distinctive features related to education and social background, which allows the management to use their knowledge in certain spheres (Mor Barak, 2016). It is also necessary to note that workplace diversity does not just require companies to hire individuals with diverse experiences and views but also expects them to ensure their equal participation in the decision-making process (Mor Barak, 2016). In case the active engagement is organized, the company is more likely to produce positive outcomes by incorporating various techniques provided by the diverse staff, and adapting to any changes that arise on the way.

In general, the incorporation of workplace diversity can lead to a number of both internal and external benefits. While such an environment will help to encourage productivity and cooperation within the company, it will also have a positive influence on partnerships with other local and international organizations. However, even though it seems that workplace diversity can only bring positive results for the companies, it is also related to various challenges and complications that will be discussed later in the paper.

The Benefits of Workplace Diversity

One of the most apparent advantages of workplace diversity is the fact that it provides organizations with different perspectives on familiar things. When a company decides to hire people based on a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities, it brings an enormous amount of opinions to the table. This phenomenon is caused by the fact that diverse individuals may have different ideas about the same challenges. Therefore, they can show their colleagues various ways of solving problems instead of guiding them in one direction (Davis et al., 2016). For this reason, this technique is largely associated with increased workplace productivity, better problem solving, a “higher level of employees innovation, and lower voluntary turnover” (Davis et al., 2016, p. 83). Hence, in the case workplace diversity is implemented, a company has more possibilities to promote change, use new practices, and encourage diverse employees to continue their operations.

Since diverse teams perform effectively, they are very likely to bring enormous profits to an organization. Numerous researches have concluded that diversity in top management positively impacts firm performance and financial outcomes (Davis et al., 2016). For instance, a McKinsey report that analyzed more than 350 public businesses found that businesses that promote ethnic and racial diversity in the administration were 35% more likely to result in higher than average financial returns (Davis et al., 2016). In addition, it was concluded that those U.S. businesses that have gender diversity in the executive boards possess a 95% higher return on equity than organizations that hires people according to gender differences (Davis et al., 2016). Consequently, it is clear that diversity in the workplace does not only have some short-term benefits, such as heightened motivation to specific tasks but also has a long-term effect on the companies. By influencing staff performance and the process of work, businesses can achieve their most desired financial goals.

In addition, workplace diversity is essential for employee retention. It is believed that those organizations that hire employees with different experiences and personal and professional features have a better chance of ensuring permanent teams (Zojceska, 2018). This tendency is caused by the fact that “companies with a diverse workforce are generally more inclusive of different individual characteristics and perspectives” (Zojceska, 2018, para. 25). The environment of acceptance and respect encourages all individuals to feel safe and valued, which leads to higher levels of job satisfaction (Zojceska, 2018). As a result, staff members experience positive feelings while working for the company and do not sense a need to leave their position in search of a better workplace (Zojeceska, 2018). Thus, workplace diversity creates an inclusive environment where everyone is supported and respected for their differences which leads to reduced employee turnover.

The Challenges of Workplace Diversity

One of the issues that organizations face after choosing to implement workplace diversity is misunderstandings related to the gender and lifestyle choices of individuals. The contemporary business world acknowledges that the members of the LGBT community, such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people suffer from disrespect, discrimination, and hostility from colleagues in diverse workplaces (Cletus et al., 2018). These behavior patterns and attitudes can not only have a negative influence on the personal feelings of LGBT members but also lead to adverse consequences for companies, such as low productivity and complicated problem solving (Cletus et al., 2018). Furthermore, gender-related issues, such as the decision-making power of men and payment differences, remain serious for any diverse environment. Women are still perceived to be physically, emotionally, and intellectually weaker than men which creates a negative foundation for their business performance (Cletus et al., 2018). Therefore, while diverse workplaces are inclusive, they are not free from judgment and discrimination based on gender and lifestyle differences.

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Other challenges that diverse environments have to face are connected to ethnic and cultural differences of individuals. This category includes such aspects as language, religion, race, age, and ethnicity (Cletus et al., 2018). The distinguishing features in these elements create “an atmosphere of multiracial and multicultural dynamism” in various organizations (Cletus et al., 2018, p. 43). Consequently, this tendency leads to people being more likely to express their frustrations and anger regarding various activities that they perceive to be cultural to ethically inappropriate (Cletus et al., 2018). These behaviors result in stereotyping, poor team bonding, bullying, gossiping, or even physical abuse at work (Cletus et al., 2018). All these issues considerably influence the workers and businesses in general and require management to establish plans to prevent the appearance of the challenges and help those who suffered from harassment (Cletus et al., 2018). Thus, in addition to being a benefit, workplace diversity adds challenges to companies that have to be taken care of.

In addition, hiring people with diverse experiences and backgrounds can lead to various issues in communication within a business. It is primarily necessary to mention that interactions are incredibly essential as they create and maintain cohesion in the workplace. Moreover, communication based on understanding, equality, and acceptance ensure the achievement of the company’s aims, tasks, and desires (Cletus et al., 2018). Even though diversity brings innovation and enhances the productivity and quality of work, it can also contribute to the emergence of conflict and misunderstanding, which are the signs of miscommunication. Differences between people can lead to conflicts that are associated with a lack of teamwork, confusion, and low morale in an organization (Cletus et al., 2018). For instance, in case an American company hires employees whose native language is French, other workers may experience difficulties while delivering critical information to them. Therefore, while planning to implement workplace diversity, businesses have to take into consideration the risk of experiencing problems in communication.

Successful Implementation of the Concept

Even though workplace diversity is associated with several challenges that are difficult to manage, organizations still need to implement this strategy to achieve various positive results. All the mentioned problems connected to diversity management can be solved if the company is prepared for changes and provides specific training for all employees. The benefits of workplace diversity are much more critical than its weaknesses.

Simply hiring individuals with various backgrounds, personality traits, and cultural norms will not help an organization to enhance its productivity and attain financial success. The company has to inform and educate its employees about the changes and innovations that are brought to the environment. This strategy will help the management to prepare workers for the new culture and raise awareness about different challenges that can arise on the way to success. It is believed that businesses that strive to adapt to diversity transitions have to invest significant funds in mentoring sessions (Cletus et al., 2018). This training need to both reinforce the existing company policies and encourage individuals to engage in appropriate behavior when communicating with people of different gender, race, or sexual orientation (Cletus et al., 2018). In general, diversity training is a strategic step that allows organizations to prepare their employees for a significant transition.

Moreover, since the concept of diversity provides businesses with a larger number of people interested in various positions, the human resources department has to create detailed job descriptions and be strict while choosing the candidates. During the interview phase managers have to be able to quickly determine an individual’s ability to work in a diverse environment, handle potential challenges, and cooperate with other professionals. According to Farndale et al. (2015), the implementation of such measures can support companies in creating specific policies and guidelines which outline an inclusive and diverse atmosphere. In addition, the strict process of choosing the best candidates will highlight the company’s desire to maintain a respectful culture of discrimination and harassment (Farndale et al., 2015). Thus, workplace diversity requires a detailed and careful procedure of hiring specialists.

Another technique that businesses can implement to support workplace diversity and diminish its negative influences is creating an atmosphere of encouragement and support. Organizations need to create a culture that accepts and cherishes employees with diverse skills and backgrounds. The workers have to be valued and awarded for even the most minor achievements. Top management is essential at this step since one of its leading roles is to ensure that everyone in the company is motivated enough to produce the best outcomes (Farndale et al., 2015). While feeling encouraged and empowered, the workers will have a strong desire to cooperate, accept diversity, and perform using their most powerful abilities. Consequently, to have positive results from workplace diversity, managements have to encourage their employee and motivate them throughout the working journey.

Conclusion

Overall, workplace diversity is an essential concept that is currently used by various organizations and industries worldwide. The continually changing business environment requires companies to bring innovations to their operations and hire people with different backgrounds and skills. While workplace diversity is associated with several benefits, such as increased productivity, high-quality work, and substantial financial gains, it can also lead to some adverse consequences. These negative results are usually caused by the fact that people are unprepared for the changes and challenges that diversity brings. For this reason, organizations have to put significant effort into educating professionals about various processes required for successful operations and raising awareness about cultural differences. Therefore, the presented paper discussed the concept of workplace diversity by investigating its strengths, weaknesses, and ways of its successful implementation.

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References

Cletus, H. E., Mahmood, N. A., Umar, A., & Ibrahim, A. D. (2018). Prospects and challenges of workplace diversity in modern day organizations: A critical review. HOLISTICA–Journal of Business and Public Administration, 9(2), 35-52. Web.

Davis, P. J., Frolova, Y., & Callahan, W. (2016). Workplace diversity management in Australia. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 35(2), 81-98. Web.

Farndale, E., Biron, M., Briscoe, D. R., & Raghuram, S. (2015). A global perspective on diversity and inclusion in work organizations. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26(6), 677-687. Web.

Mor Barak, M. E. (2016). Managing diversity: Toward a globally inclusive workplace (4th ed.). Sage Publications.

Zojceska, A. (2018). Top 10 benefits of diversity in the workplace (infographic included). TalenLyft. Web.

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