MANAGING DIVERISTY AT THE WORKPLACE
Managing diversity at the workplace aims at providing employees with the environment, needs, and skills that may differ widely with the opportunity to engage with the organization and their colleagues in a way that produces a positive work environment and the best possible business outcomes for the company. Having a diverse workforce with employees from different ethnic backgrounds can be helpful for organizations that want to grow or improve operations in national as well as international markets.
Those who are not skilled in managing diversity in an organization have the following traits-
- Not efficient and comfortable with people much different from him.
- May not act in an appropriate way with them.
- Avoids conflict of varying views and agendas.
- Doesn’t see the business importance of diversity.
- Treats everybody the same without estimating their differences.
- Very narrow and intolerant; thinks his group to be supreme and best.
- May carry around negative and degrade stereotypes he has trouble avoiding.
- Those who are skilled –
- Manage all kinds of people in an equal manner.
- Deals efficiently with all races, cultures, disabilities and ages.
- Employs variety and diversity without regard to class.
- Establishes equal and fair treatment and opportunity for all.
Overused Skill –
- May support members of a particular class.
- Do not apply equal standards and norms to all classes.
- May show an incorrect preference for a certain class of people.
- May accommodate standards to achieve diversity.
Some Causes –
- Are not comfortable with different groups.
- Believe in diversity but are uncertain of what to do.
- Not aware of how diversity helps.
- Narrow and stern.
- Believe diversity means double standards.
- Uneasy with the new and different.
The Map –
In today’s global world and economy, markets are more diverse. Hence, almost all global company’s greatest opportunities are in diverse cultures. Those organizations that best manage large diversity will be successful. Managing diversity is basically deciding which differences make a change and enrich, and which don’t. However, until the benefits of large and small diversity are noticed, little change is likely. To do this, see people more as individuals and less as a member of a group, and treat some people a little different due to their lack of fortune in the past.
Some Remedies –
- Making the Business Case – Little will happen until you have the business case in mind for increased diversity in the organization. Studies show that diverse groups are more innovative than other groups. They have a different perspective towards opportunities. Companies known for managing diversity well, will choose the best and the brightest. Hence, more effective managers have a more diverse group of people around them.
- Dealing with People Equitably – See people more as individuals rather than putting them in groups. Many of us categorize people as can or can’t do this. Similarly, those whom you think are like you are good and get more attention, more feedback, progress the most and performs the best, unfortunately proving your stereotyping. You need to avoid judging individuals of a group you don’t like or are not comfortable with.
- Balancing People Processes – Women and people of color usually do not get developmental feedback. They do not participate equally in company’s meetings, where there is exchange of important business information. Special programs should be held to make them more equal.
- Diversity that Matters – Diversity of culture, perspectives, education, culture, help produce a good product in a global and diverse marketplace. Manage the most diverse team who have the skills to do the job but otherwise are different. Hence, try to spend more time with people around you who are different and seek their viewpoints.
- Prioritize Communication – For managing diversity in a workplace, organizations need to ensure that they productively communicate with employees. Policies, methods, safety rules and other important information should be constructed to perturb language and cultural barriers by translating data and using pictures and symbols whenever possible.
Some more remedies –
- Inspire Employees to Work in Diverse Groups – Diverse work teams let employees aquatint themselves with and value one another on an individual basis and can help break down biased notions and cultural misjudgments.
- Be Open Minded – Encourage employees to recognize that their own experience, culture and background are not the only things important to the organization. Look for ways to indulge a diverse range of outlooks and talents into efforts to achieve organizational goals.
- Hiring – To build a diverse workplace, it is important to hire talent from a variety of backgrounds. This requires leaders to overcome bias in interviewing and assessing talent. For a diverse workplace, they need to hire the most qualified people, those with the right education, experience and set of skills.
- Policies and Practices – Organizations managing diversity, need to ensure that there are policies and practices in the company to safeguard employees’ rights and stay agreeable with government regulations. Since the company’s policies and practices have a great impact on a diverse group of employees, they should create a way for employees to give feedback. They need to change policies that are not helpful for employees.
- Sensitivity Training – Employees need to be aware of how to work and achieve harmony with a diverse group of people. Therefore, sensitivity training can help an organization manage diversity in the workplace by helping employees become more self-aware and understand their own cultural biases and prejudices.
Managing diversity in the workplace can be very challenging. However, we can reduce these challenges if an organization tries to encourage a more varied environment by encouraging a culture of tolerance, open conversation and creating conflict management strategies to manage issues that may arise.
Contact us if you are interested in a diversity and inclusion program that is tailored to the needs of your organization or team.