The employment landscape has forever undergone evolution attributed to rapid technological change, globalization, the demand for skills and education, an aging workforce and greater ethnic diversification in the labor market. Diversity today reflects not only the traditional view that once focused primarily on gender and race but reflects upto the broader perspective of the workplace diversity. In the workplace, diversity is evolving from compliance to inclusion. The changing perception of workplace diversity, elements of an inclusive corporate culture, the business case, and human relation’s leadership are the factors elemental in maximizing the benefits of a diverse workforce in a changing market place. (Nancy, 2005).
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There is a vast range the concept diversity from personality and work style to all of the visible dimensions such as race, age, ethnicity or gender, to secondary influences such as religion, socio-economics and education, to work diversities as management and union, functional level and classification, or proximity to headquarters.
Diversity in the USA was first based on assimilation approach. Compliance is important in diversity. Today’s impetus behind workplace diversity is that of inclusion in the business. The collaboration of cultures, ideas and different perspectives brings greater creativity and innovation resulting to improved organizational performance. There are different schools of thought such as assimilation and differentiation. Today’s paradigm is integration and learning. Companies promote equal opportunities and value cultural differences, using talents of all employees to gain diverse work perspective. (Nancy, 2005).
An Inclusive Corporate Culture
Reflects societal values in the workplace. There should be a level playing field with everybody treated with dignity and respect. The benefits of employee and organization are achieved with growth opportunities, flexibility and adaptation. Diversity programs help to ensure the creation, management, valuing and leveraging of a diverse workforce achieving organizational effectiveness and competitiveness. Demographic changes affecting the labor pool and available talent are major drivers in the business case. Relations and talents in the workplace determine the flow of information between colleagues, work teams, customers and suppliers. (Nancy, 2005).
There are good reasons to tie workplace diversity to organizational strategic goals and objectives: greater adaptability and flexibility in a rapidly changing market place; attracting and retaining best talents; reducing turnover, absenteeism and low productivity costs; return on investment from various initiatives, policies and practices; gaining and keeping new market share with expanded diverse customer base; and increased sales and profit. A single action should have direct impact on financial performance. Workplace diversity has both direct and indirect links. In direct links involves expansion of customer base with a work force that is reflective to the clients. Indirect link involves having access to and retaining talent from a worldwide labor pool hence gaining competitive edge in the global market marketplace. Positive improvement in the corporate culture, employee morale, retention and recruitment of employees has a competitive advantage in a company. (Nancy, 2005).
Development of external partnerships with minority communities and suppliers leads to good will and reputation as an employer of choice. The knowledge of the minority employees assist the teams of a company dealing with sales and marketing to reach the minority groups with funds to purchase its products and services. One of the top economic trends is expansion into the global marketplace. Measuring the return on investment of diversity makes good business sense, which is considerable in areas such as; organizational culture, demographics, productivity, accountability growth and profitability. The determination of return on investment hard and soft data must be converted to monetary value. (Nancy, 2005).
Workplace diversity challenges can be considered within three interrelated categories; attracting and retaining talent, greater diversity among employees and training. Working in a diverse organization requires diversity competences including human resources, although not all human relations professionals are experts in diversity. Better experience in team building, change management, conflict resolution and cross-cultural communication is the expected contribution of human resources in workplace diversity. An organization that best utilizes full potential of all employees intentionally and thoughtfully aligns workplace diversity with strategic business goals.
Successful workplace diversity initiatives hinge on committed leadership, goals/targets of measures of effectiveness, strong diversity professionals, employee investment and ties to performance evaluation, as well as data to identity, quantity and communicate progress and challenges. (Nancy, 2005).
Workplace diversity is positively correlated with globalization since all the initiatives of the process reflect in one way or another aspects of globalization. In essence, a principle for increasing global connectivity, integration and interdependence in the economic, social, technological, cultural and ecological spheres is evident. There is also a sense of unitary process inclusive of many sub-processes such as enhanced economic interdependence, increased cultural influence, rapid advances of information technology and geographical challenges, that are increasingly binding people with the biosphere more tightly into one global system.
Diversity progress may enhance productivity through effective good leadership and management practices. Recruiting diverse people, management that is accountable for diversity, leaders who demonstrate commitment to diversity, rewarding people who contribute in the areas of diversity and training and educating to increase awareness and help employees understand how diversity can impact business results have great impact on overall perceived of diversity initiatives. Best performance outcomes occur when diversity is found across entire organization skills.
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