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Organizational background and the case of diversity management for CERA

Discuss about the Journal Of Behavioral And Applied Management.

One of the key roles of human resource management functions is to ensure that all the employees within the organization can work effectively. The human resource managers have to create a platform where different employees can work with high productivity levels. Today, organizations are under pressure to improve efficacy levels. The competition is high in the industry and it is not easy for organizations to be ahead of the competition.  Amidst this, one of the key agenda of organizations is to get the best talent from the market. It is still easy to get the best talent; however, it is difficult to retain the best talent. The talent management can be effective within the organization only when employer does not differentiate employees on the basis of caste, creed and culture. The policies and guidelines around diversity management ensures that organizations can provide a platform where all the employees get equal and fair treatment. The objective of this paper is to discuss the case of diversity management for CERA. A brief organizational background and the case of diversity management for CERA can be discussed as:

The organization, Civil Engineering & Research Associates (CERA) believes in the culture of innovation and sustainability. The company was established in the year 2007 and since then it has been able to establish a good position in Australian market. The direction or the company, Mark French, has always believed to recruit best talent from the market. The company has a team of qualified and high performing consultants who are the backbone of the company. The employees of the company are encouraged to think out of the box to come up with innovative solutions for its clients. This paper would analyse the business rational of diversity management for CERA with the objective to convince Mark French for increased focus on diversity management. The paper would discuss the arguments in favour of diversity management and it could be used as arguments to convince Mark French towards diversity management.

Mark French wants to ensure that the company can profitable in long term. The objective of the company is to create a niche for itself so that it has a set of loyal customer base. There are various elements of diversity management that any organization should consider. The key elements of diversity management for CERA would be age, ethnicity, gender, race, physical ability of employees, income, education, religious status, personal status of employees, etc. It is important to mention that overall diversity management is the combination of all the above elements. The integrated approach with the focus on all the above elements would actually help the organization to get the best out of employees. It is also important that Mark French should be transparent about its policies of diversity management with its employees. In fact, the management of CERA should include various employees and staff while developing and implementing the policies of diversity management. The cost-benefit analysis of diversity management would also help the organization to take risk free decision. The first step for Mark French would be to understand the key benefits of diversity management. The benefits of diversity management for CERA can be discussed as:

Analysis – Business Case for Diversity Management

Diversity simply means differences. Diversity at the workforce means differences in the characteristics of the people in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, marital status, people with physical disability, people from underprivileged communities to name a few. When so many different people come together to work for a single goal of the organizations, issues are bound to occur however there are no dearth of research articles stating the benefits of effectively managing and exploiting the differences among the people for the growth of an organization. Thus, there has been a growing interest in this area and more and more organizations are changing their hiring habits so as to make the workforce as diverse as possible. Not only this, as per the law in UK in April 2018, larger organizations, having more than 250 employees, has to publicly disclose the salaries gaps based on the gender and this initiative has greatly improved the public awareness of importance of diversity and inclusion initiatives at the workplace. In the same scenario, if any organization is having huge differences between the salaries of men and women, it will really be going to devoid itself of talented people of a group with lower salaries. On the other hand, organization that do not have much pay differences among the genders will definitely be attractive for all the groups and thus able to retain its talent in an effective manner. With this initiative, government is determined to promote the equality and inclusion among the organizations.

Also, today organizations are becoming global and deals with suppliers and customers of different countries. Thus, it makes sense for the organizations to have diverse workforce so that they can be effective in dealing with the diverse customers. In order to deal with the intangible issues and complexities of having a diverse clientele, it become necessary to have a heterogeneous workforce that can generate rich ideas as well as bring amalgamation of cultures, nationalities, thoughts and demographics.   If the company is expanding into global markets, it must hire local people and increases the diversity because local people will help the company to align in new culture as well as refine and improve its strategies so as to make the local sense (Hunt, Layton, & Prince, 2015). Local people will prefer to join the organization only if it has diversity and inclusion policies in place.

Another reason to have diverse workforce is that the cognitive diverse teams solve the complex problems faster as compared to the similar people as per the Harvard business review report by bringing large number of perspectives in to a discussion and evaluating the ideas more holistically (Tapia, 2017). Also, diverse teams able to make better decisions at a faster rate also. Such workplaces that have diverse workplace can also boast about its corporate social responsibility and use that to improve its image and brand in the market. This in turn will attract the talent from all the walks of life because people will feel that the differences are truly valued and accepted in such organizations (Hodge, Murata, & Lieberman, 2017).

Benefits of diversity management

Although diversity entails a lot of issues at the workplace, still the interest is growing very fast and more and more organizations are increasing their investments for effectively managing the diversity due to its benefits (Kakabadse, et al., 2015). If it is not managed effectively, it will create chaotic workplace leading to conflict everywhere, formation of groups and defeating the entire purpose of having a diverse workforce and therefore it has to be managed effectively. Some of the common challenges associated with diversity management are discussed below:

Communication: As part of the its diversity management policy, organization often hires immigrants who are not comfortable in English and this really hampers the productivity due to lack of effective communication among team members (Downey, et al., 2015). It also demotivates the existing employees of the organization because they are the ones who have to face communication challenges on daily basis. Organization can give the basic language training to immigrants to ensure that they can communicate effectively.

Accommodating people with disabilities: Sometimes organizations unknowingly hire the people with disabilities to increase the diversity without making appropriate arrangements for them. Physically disabled people needs ramps, special restrooms or it can be any other special equipment requirements (Farndale, et al., 2015). Thus, it is a big issue and organization must make appropriate arrangements.

Discrimination: It is about the unfair treatment based on the person’s class, age, race, sex or any other attribute. Though it is strictly prohibited in all the organizations, it is difficult to stop this practice at subtle level when people practicing discrimination knows that they can get away with it and no one can have caught them (Downey, et al., 2015). This really demotivates the employees and will create negative atmosphere. For example, there is often a cold war between old timers Vs newcomers in many of the organizations where if the management and leadership positions consist of old timers and they will not allow any newcomer to take up the management position irrespective of the talent (Oswick, & Noon, 2014). Apart from it, Old timers often demotivates the newcomers saying their new ideas won’t work in the organization as they know the organization from long time. Similarly, many experienced people discriminate the young workforce and do not accept their ideas simply because they are not much experienced (Barak, Findler, & wind, 2016). This will again bring a tension among different groups and is one of the biggest issue in diversity management.

Challenges of diversity management for CERA

Ethnocentrism: It is one of the biggest challenge of diversity management. In this, people view their own group or culture as the center of everything and judge other cultures using their standards, preconceived notions and culture (Bruya, 2017). If something is wrong in the particular culture but acceptable in another culture, still people will view that as negative in judging the other culture.

Compromise with Merit: This is the biggest issue in the diversity management when the existing employees started thinking that the HR initiatives of diversity and inclusion at the workplace have ease the norms for entering into the organization (Sabharwal, 2014). This impact the existing employees because they think that the new employees coming from diverse backgrounds are not talented enough but have been recruited only to increase the diversity at the workplace. This will really impact the existing employee morale as they find it difficult to collaborate with someone they don’t think is deserving.

Though diversity management is very important for the organization however the potential benefits will not begin to surface simply because of greater workplace diversity. Workforce diversity has to be managed, tolerance for an individuality has to be increased, changing the traditional mindset, creating the culture of inclusion and commitment to respect and value the differences among the employees. It is a slow and gradual process and requires change in people centered policies, hiring process, appraisal, revisiting payroll policies, identifying diverse trainings needs, identifying constraints of the people and making appropriate revisions around the same.   Thus, the most important step for the organization should be to develop a framework for diversity Management. The framework should consist of all the requirements, policies changes, new steps and enforcement of the policies.

Under each bucket, CERA can list down the key objectives and way to achieve. For instance, under requirements, organization can mention investment needed for this initiative of diversity management (Dobbin, & Kaley, 2016).  Investments may comprise of training needs for the people who are from non-English speaking nation, infrastructure needs for ramps and special toilets for disabled people, sensitization training for each employee of the company so that he/she should know the various cultures and think from overall perspective, equal opportunity and inclusion training as well for everyone.

Under policies changes, CERA should capture the key areas where it needs to change its existing policies Like hiring process, pay differences, appraisal, training to name a few. For instance, organizations who just focus on referrals for selection may be closing the doors for increasing the diversity because people generally refers their friends and families from a similar culture (Cotttrill, Lopez, & Hoffman, 2014). Thus, organization has to change its hiring policy. Also, if there will be too much difference in salaries of men and women or newcomers and old comers, it will demotivate the people. Similarly, performance appraisal should also be as much transparent as possible so that people will feel fair treatment.

Under new steps, CERA can define new policies like reasonable accommodation policy for disabled people, work from remote location for new mothers, and so on. Though, it is a tough task and not possible to formalize each and every process, but organization can do it gradually on a need basis.

Finally, CERA also has to create a platform where people can raise complains about discrimination in an anonymous manner. Organizations must have zero tolerance policy for the defaulters or those who do not respect the organization policies and must take appropriate actions against them (Benschop, et al., 2015). In order to ensure that the system is not abused, it is also important to appoint the ombudsman who can closely monitor the concerns raised and take action only if the concerned person is found guilty. This will foster the culture of trust, collaboration, inclusion in the organization and it will also attract the talent from the different cultures. Apart from this, all the initiatives have to be supported and practiced by the top management and only then these will become the culture of the organization in a long run.

Conclusion 

With the above discussion it can be said that diversity management must be practiced by CERA. It is recommended that Mark French should develop a team to implement the diversity management policies within the organization. It is also important that the senior management of CERA should collect inputs from various employees before developing any specific policies of diversity management. The inclusion of employees would bring a feeling of self-belongingness among employees.

References

Barak, M. E. M., Findler, L., & Wind, L. H. (2016). Diversity, inclusion, and commitment in organizations: International empirical explorations. Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management, 2(2).

Benschop, Y., Holgersson, C., Van den Brink, M., & Wahl, A. (2015). Future challenges for practices of diversity management in organizations. Handbook for Diversity in Organizations, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 553-574.

Bruya, B. (2017). Ethnocentrism and Multiculturalism in Contemporary Philosophy. Philosophy East and West, 67(4), 991-1018.

Cottrill, K., Denise Lopez, P., & C. Hoffman, C. (2014). How authentic leadership and inclusion benefit organizations. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 33(3), 275-292.

Dobbin, F., & Kalev, A. (2016). Why diversity programs fail. Harvard Business Review, 94(7), 14.

Downey, S. N., Werff, L., Thomas, K. M., & Plaut, V. C. (2015). The role of diversity practices and inclusion in promoting trust and employee engagement. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(1), 35-44.

Downey, S. N., Werff, L., Thomas, K. M., & Plaut, V. C. (2015). The role of diversity practices and inclusion in promoting trust and employee engagement. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(1), 35-44.

Farndale, E., Biron, M., Briscoe, D. R., & Raghuram, S. (2015). A global perspective on diversity and inclusion in work organisations.

Hodge, S., Murata, N., & Lieberman, L. (2017). Essentials of teaching adapted physical education: Diversity, culture, and inclusion. Routledge.

Hunt, V., Layton, D., & Prince, S. (2015). Diversity matters. McKinsey & Company, 1, 15-29.

Kakabadse, N. K., Figueira, C., Nicolopoulou, K., Hong Yang, J., Kakabadse, A. P., & Özbilgin, M. F. (2015). Gender diversity and board performance: Women's experiences and perspectives. Human Resource Management, 54(2), 265-281.

Oswick, C., & Noon, M. (2014). Discourses of diversity, equality and inclusion: trenchant formulations or transient fashions? British Journal of Management, 25(1), 23-39.

Sabharwal, M. (2014). Is diversity management sufficient? Organizational inclusion to further performance. Public Personnel Management, 43(2), 197-217.

Tapia, A. T., & Gisbert, G. (2017). Cultural Diversity in Organizations. The International Encyclopedia of Intercultural Communication.

Theodorakopoulos, N., & Budhwar, P. (2015). Guest editors' introduction: Diversity and inclusion in different work settings: Emerging patterns, challenges, and research agenda. Human Resource Management, 54(2), 177-197.

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