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Benefits and Disadvantages of Diversity in The Workplace

What is Diversity and Definition of Diversity

To critically understand the benefits that diversity brings into the workplace, one must completely understand the term ‘diversity’. The Committee on Diversity of the Chancellor describes it as: “The variety of experiences and perspectives that result from differences in race, culture, religion, mental or physical abilities, heritage, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and other features “(UT 1). Diversity brings people from all walks of life with a common goal to pursue into a single business environment. It also allows the organization to bring ideas and experiences from people from different backgrounds. Diversity also allows a company to pool into a wider range of resources, which is essential to perform business tasks and solve business-related issues.

Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace | Gender, Generation, Culture

  1. Greater Consumer Market Share

A diverse workforce can seize a larger consumer market segment. This is because it allows a company to bring people from different backgrounds, thus enabling the organization to better understand the different cultures, races or genders that make up the consumer market. Understanding the consumer market allows the organization to meet the consumer market preferences directly, as well as allowing the organization to market its products or services more efficiently. Furthermore, understanding different languages, cultures and ethics enables an organization to operate globally.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Diversity in The Workplace
  1. Recruitment from a Variety of Candidates means a more Skilled Workforce

Companies that do not prejudice their employee selection will find that they can select employees from a larger pool of candidates. This allows them to select only the best, and selection is based on talent and skills rather than culture, generation or gender.

  1. Fosters a More Innovative and Creative Workforce

Diversity promotes a workplace that is more “creative and innovative” (Dolly 1). Companies that incorporate a more diverse workplace can foster a wider range of ideas and points of view. As a result, employees can contribute more to the pool of ideas that a business uses to fulfill its business tasks. In a 2011 Forbes study, 85% of 321 global companies generating annual revenues of at least $500 million agree that “diversity is crucial to fostering workplace innovation” (Dolly 1).

  1. Increased Adaptability

Increased adaptability will be found among companies that promote diversity within their employee population. Having the capacity of a diverse workforce means that companies can pool business-related issues that the company may encounter in a wider variety of solutions. Employees can bring ideas or personal talents from various walks of life.

  1. Increased Customer Relations

Customers can come from extremely diverse backgrounds in an existing organization. Employees in any organization with similar natural diversity help significantly enhance customer relationships and connections. This is enhanced by sharing the vision of the organization with the staff. In return, it enables employees to reach out to customers and manage their needs in the way they want. This allows customers to develop a sense of assimilation with the organization and thus become part of the organization (Laura 1).

  1. Enhanced Reputation

Promoting diversity, talent and inclusion within a company gives customers, partners and media a favorable viewpoint. This attracts talented individuals because it is usually seen as a good workplace. The positive environment creates a successful breeding ground, attracting the brighter and best staff from all over the world.

Benefits of Gender Diversity:

Organizations who actively promote gender diversity in the workplace will increase the company’s understanding on preferences for women and children. With a population of just slightly lower than men, women make up about 49.7% of the entire world population. This just shows how equally important they are to the men.  Companies who recruit women are able to bring experience not only from a woman’s point of view but also from a mother’s perspective as a result, companies are able to tailor their marketing techniques and produce their products in a manner that fits their customer preferences.

Benefits of Generational Diversity:

Since World War II, every generation has been known to possess specific set of traits either positive or negative. The greatest generation applied to those born before 1945. In the generation members tend to sacrifice abide to rules and think of others before thinking of themselves. The me generation, baby Boomer, which was born between 1965 and 1964, was thought to change the world via working and relating well with others. The X generation, born between 1965 and 1979 was skeptical, inquisitive and self reliant hence result driven and realistic. Millennial generation is an achievement and service oriented, reluctant to refrain from difficulties. (Bigelow 1. the diversification of this services enables them to educate people of all ages.

Benefits of Culture Diversity:

Companies who employ a culturally diverse workforce are able to perform business tasks from a global perspective. Employing people from different cultural backgrounds allows the organization to better understand different cultures that make-up a consumer market. Therefore, they are able to market their products or service better. Bringing in different cultures also allows a company to design or cater its products or services in a way that is preferential to the global consumer market. Employing a diverse workforce also means incorporating a diverse work ethic; companies will have more ways of making a profit and can have greater knowledge of how businesses from around the world perform their tasks. In addition, the ability of a company to employ a diverse workforce relates greatly on its reputation. In a very ethnically diverse nation companies who employ a culturally diverse workforce will bring in more talented candidates from a more culturally diverse pool of candidates. Globally, a company’s reputation will also grow if they are able to employ people coming from different cultural backgrounds of the world.

Disadvantages of Diversity in The Workplace

  • Conflicts of Communication

Integration of employees from different cultural background and countries in your work force increase internal and external communication barrier filters. Heterogeneous work culture makes communication easier for employees do not strain to overcome language barriers and cultural issues. This is one of the reasons why big organization employs interpreters and diverse trainers to help employees overcome communication challenges of diversity (Kokemuller 1).

  • Cultural Resistance

Josh Greenberg the president of employee survey firm once pointed out that in the work place, resistance to change is general phenomena. The growth of organization and companies changes the nature of workplace and the kind of relationship exhibited there in. This change sometimes can be stressful among employees resulting to the development of negative working relationship poor morale in incidences of poor management and planning. Therefore, training employee about diversity is extremely important if it affects their work roles and processes.

  •  Discrimination

The companies that hire internationally often have human resource department in place to manage the diversity that occurs. However, it takes time for companies to become diverse on many level. Incidences of discrimination may be found in companies that become slowly diverse without a strategic plan in place between managers and employees. Since diversity is based on distinguishing workers trains, the presence of a diverse workforce probes opportunity for discrimination. For example, if a male dominated workplace is going to hire females, it is going to increase the workplace tension and unwelcome changes. Nobody likes to break homeostasis, and it takes detailed planning to create a new productive culture. At the worst, it could also lead to high employee turnover rate.

  • Increased Costs

Greenberg in his recommendation to effective diversity management, he included its assessment, implementation and development of a diverse workforce plans and approach as the step for its effective management. These approaches have cost association directly or indirectly. Examples of indirect cost are incurred in training and participating time employed by the company employees as well as others aspects of implementing diversity.

How to effectively manage the process to leverage diverse workforce?

A Harvard business review writer, Peter Bregman, suggested that it is critical to train the employee to see others as individuals, instead of categories. (Bregman 3)

Also Study: Example of Diversity in Organization

Work Cited;
  • Acevedo Laura. The advantage of work place diversity. Demand media, 2012, 1. Print
  • Bigelow Lisa. What are the benefits of generation difference in the work place?  Demand media. 3013. 1
  • Bregman, Peter, Mr. “HBR Blog Network.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business. Review, 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/03/diversity-training-doesnt-work/>.
  • Dooly Troy. Direct seller look forward to a prosperous holyday season minus traditional advertising. Word Press.  2013, 1. Print
  • Kokemuller Neil. Negative effect of diversity in the workplace. Demand media, 2013, 1.
  • The University of Tennessee (UT). What is diversity? Knoxville, The university of Tennessee. 2003, 1. Print.

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