Diversity brings different perspectives, experience and skills, which can encourage innovative, creative approaches. Unfortunately, a diverse team can also make people uncomfortable as they rub against co-workers with different attitudes, worldviews and outlooks. With good management, you can gain the benefits of diversity and minimize any disadvantages.
As you look around your office, is everyone just like you? The demographics of the American workforce have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. They were typically the sole breadwinners in the household, expected to retire by age 65 and spend their retirement years in leisure activities.
Today, the American workforce is a better reflection of the population with a significant mix of genders, race, religion, age and other background factors. The long-term success of any business calls for a diverse body of talent that can bring fresh ideas, perspectives and views to their work.
The challenge that diversity poses, therefore, is enabling your managers to capitalize on the mixture of genders, cultural backgrounds, ages and lifestyles to respond to business opportunities more rapidly and creatively.
Here are two examples of the challenges inherent in managing a diverse workforce: An American health insurance company hired employees from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds.
The variety of different native languages and cultures, however, did not mix. When the group needed to learn a new intake system, rather than pull together, they became even more estranged and productivity and morale plummeted.
In an American subsidiary of a global bank based in Japan, a few Japanese female workers complained to management that their older Japanese male bosses were being disrespectful to them.
The human resources manager questioned all of the women in the office. Every Japanese woman reported problems with the Japanese men. In contrast, the American women reported no problems at all. Confused, the human resources manager questioned the Japanese male managers. The Japanese men responded that they understood American expectations related to sexual harassment, so they were careful about what they said to the American women.
They were perplexed by the responses of the Japanese women. Any Japanese person would understand. It is much more complicated and interesting than that. An impressive example of this is found on the business cards of employees at one Fortune technology company.
Employees at this company have business cards that appear normal at first glance. On closer inspection, the raised Braille characters of employee information are evident. Many companies, however, still face challenges around building a diverse environment.
Part of the reason is the tendency to pigeonhole employees, placing them in a different silo based on their diversity profile. If an employee is male, over 50, English, and an atheist, under what diversity category does this employee fall? Gender, generational, global or religious?
In the real world, diversity cannot be easily categorized and those organizations that respond to human complexity by leveraging the talents of a broad workforce will be the most effective in growing their businesses and their customer base.
So, how do you develop a diversity strategy that gets results? The companies with the most effective diversity programs take a holistic approach to diversity by following these guidelines: Link diversity to the bottom line.
When exploring ways to increase corporate profits, look to new markets or to partnering with your clients more strategically. Consider how a diverse workforce will enable your company to meet those goals.
Think outside the box. At a Fortune manufacturing company, Hispanics purchased many of the products. When the company hired a Director of Hispanic Markets, profits increased dramatically in less than one year because of the targeted marketing efforts Your new customers may be people with disabilities or people over the age of How can your employees help you reach new markets?
If senior management advocates a diverse workforce, make diversity evident at all organizational levels. Show respect for diversity issues and promote clear and positive responses to them.
Does diversity at your company refer only to race and gender? If so, expand your definition and your diversity efforts. As baby boomers age and more minorities enter the workplace, the shift in demographics means that managing a multi-generational and multi-cultural workforce will become a business norm.
Also, there is a wealth of specialized equipment available to enable people with disabilities to contribute successfully to their work environments.
If your organizational environment does not support diversity broadly you risk losing talent to your competitors. How can your recruitment efforts reach out to all qualified candidates? Remove artificial barriers to success.Diversity Definition of Diversity-Management Best Practices Diversity management is essential to your company's success.
This primer provides an in-depth roadmap to build successful diversity .
Student Leader Learning Outcomes (SLLO) Project provides universal methods and tools for staff throughout Texas A&M University to use with student leaders in student organizations, programs, or activities to help in the assessment and documentation of enhanced learning in relation to the students’ leadership experiences.
A successful manager should be in a position to manage diversity by building a culture of tolerance through education, training, communication and conflict management strategies.
Here are some tips on making your teams diverse and reaping the benefit. Shonda Rhimes, creator, head writer and executive producer of "Grey's Anatomy," shared a video of the star of her show, Ellen Pompeo, talking about how white people need to be advocates for diversity.
Being headquartered in Salt Lake City hasn’t deterred learning management platform company Instructure from doing whatever it takes to improve on the diversity of its workforce. This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book.
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