July 17, 2013
Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity in the workplace is an array of differences that people from different facets of life bring to the organization. Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves, but also how they perceive others. When one thinks of diversity, usually ethnicity, race, and gender comes to mind; however, diversity is much more than that. Diversity in the workplace is human qualities that are different from others and outside the groups to which they belong. Diversity include; age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and work experience. All of these dimensions affect employee’s performance as well as their success in a business. People from all around the world come from different diverse backgrounds and view things from their own perspective. We cannot choose the race, ethnicity, or culture in which we are born (Payne, McDonald and Hamm). Furthermore, people are influenced by their experiences and those experiences assist in shaping their attitudes, views and decisions. Although employees of different backgrounds do have similar organizational motivations, employers should know that a diverse workforce does come with some challenges. Having an inefficient organizational strategy for a diverse organization can reduce both morale and effective communication, and heighten conflict. Having good diversity practices will help decrease employee turnover, absenteeism, low productivity.
Diversity can be beneficial in the workplace both to the employees along with the organization. It allows for better problem solving and decision making, more innovation and creativity, and more success in marketing and product development. Being able to recognize and accept diverse people allow people to feel included and can motivate them to work harder in their environment (CARMEN, GARCÍA and FERNANDA). Not only does diversity help prevent discrimination while improving the equality of the workplace, but it also helps develop an appreciation for differences in values and ideas.
Diversity management creates and maintains a positive work environment where similarities and differences of individuals are valued, so that all can reach their potential and maximize their contributions to an organization’s strategic goals and objectives. Diversity management ensures that all employees have the opportunity to maximize their potential and enhance their self-development and their contribution to the organization. It recognizes that people from different backgrounds can bring fresh ideas and perceptions, which can make the way work is done more efficient and make products and services better. Managing diversity successfully helps organizations to nurture creativity and innovation and thereby to tap hidden capacity for growth and improved competitiveness (CARMEN, GARCÍA and FERNANDA).
While diversity has its benefits in the workplace, there are also some challenges that come along with it as well: Language or cultural barriers as well as different perspectives can sometimes lead to ineffective communication which can result in a lack of team work as well as confusion and low workplace morale. Some employees may refuse to accept different cultural and social diversity in the workplace and may be unwilling to go along with the changes, which can inhibit creativity and progress (Payne, McDonald and Hamm). The diversity placed in the workplace must be customized to the particular environment for the greatest chance of success in the organization.
The U.S. workforce is undoubtedly becoming more diverse. As of June 2012 people of color made up 36 percent of the labor force. Breaking it down by race and ethnicity, approximately 99,945,000 (64 percent) in the labor force are non-Hispanic white; 24,679,000 (16 percent) are Hispanic; 18,758,000 (12 percent) are African American; and 8,202,000 (5 percent) are Asian. Approximately