Introduction to Workplace Diversity
Discuss about the Managing Workplace Diversity for Religion and Gender.
Diversity refers to the presence of differences between people in the organization based on age, race, personality, tenure, education, religion, gender and more. Diversity is important in the workplace as it helps in building great reputation for the company. The aim of this paper is to develop a clear understanding and plan to cater for the cultural differences (Peretz, Levi and Fried 2015). The opportunities and challenges faced by the employees are clearly stated. Cultural diversity refers to the group of individuals belonging to different societies or cultures. Cultural diversity includes variances in language, race, religion, ethnicity and others (Boehm and Dwertmann 2014). This paper aims at identifying and reflecting on the benefits and challenges of cultural diversity in the modern organization. The benefits such as developing a competitive workforce, increasing efficiency, innovation and productivity are identified. Further, the challenges such as team communication and employee motivation are determined. These challenges shall be transformed into opportunities for value creation. The paper also provides recommendations following which the organizations can maximize value creation. Further, a business case is formulated for the chosen organization. The organizational factors as suitable for the organization are examined.
Analysing the big picture environment, the two business challenges where cultural diversity might become influential are poor team communication and low employee motivation. In the business world, competition is the most common challenge faced by the organizations. Cultural diversity is important as it helps the business in being more profitable and competitive (Boekhorst 2014). Diversity does not mean simply having a heterogeneous workforce but is s also about developing new products, services and business concepts. The managers realize the need of diversity in the workplace to conceive new ideas and opinions. This can add to the competitive advantage of the business. However, the concept of cultural diversity may be a failure as it brings significant challenges in terms of team communication. Professional communication is misinterpreted and difficult to understand due to different language and culture. The communication style in the Western cultures is less discrete when they present their message (Mor-Barak 2013). Therefore, the communication between a Westerner and non-Westerner can cause confusion in the workplace. Although the diverse cultures add to the cohesiveness of the organization, but the perception causing confusion may hamper the productivity. Accents and fluency is an obvious challenge in a diverse workplace. Although English is the standard language across the globe, but the people not speaking English may go unnoticed and unappreciated. The employees may become less motivated as a team player and the organization may seem to have a fail in profitability (Brunow and Blien 2014).
Benefits of Cultural Diversity
According to Guillaume et al. (2015), diverse teams are highly productive and can give better results. The diverse teams boost problem-solving capacity and result in higher productivity. When the employees work in homogeneous teams, they may be willing to settle for the status quo. Diversity can help the team stretch in a positive way and help them achieve their best. Motivation is necessary in the workplace and the managers may require extra skill to motivate changes in the culturally diverse workplace. It is difficult to understand and motivate the behaviour of employees whose culture, values and background are different (Hoecklin 2016). Motivating the employees of one culture may be de-motivating the employees of another culture. Therefore, motivation is considered as another business challenge for the managers. The reward systems and motivational standards may be based on the origin of the company. There may be decline in employee satisfaction and efficiency if the motivational needs are not met (Hajro, Gibson and Pudelko 2015).
In my own organization, there have been cases or circumstances in which the challenges such as poor team communication and low employee motivation were encountered. As the organization is Australian, the main language spoken is English. As the organization encourages diversity, there are employees belonging to the China and India. There are numerous employees speaking Mandarin and Hindi. As both are Eastern countries, the language spoken and culture followed varies from that of the West. There have been situations in which different teams were formed in the organization. To achieve common goals, the team members were expected to work together in unity. It was noted that every team comprising of 10 members had people with different strengths and talents. The teams included employees who belonged to different origin such as India or China. The quality of communication is a key concern in the cross cultural teams. Certain forms of slangs or colloquialisms lead to misinterpretations resulting in team conflict. The organization faced troubles with accents and fluency causing interpersonal conflict and frustration among employees (Guillaume et al. 2015). It was also noted that the Indians and Chinese who tried to put forward their opinions were set aback as their ideas could not be well perceived. When they tried to convey their ideas in the best possible way, they wanted to say it in Hindi or Mandarin that could not be understood by the other team members. Therefore, the employees of different culture had low motivation as their innovative ideas were disregarded (Hoecklin 2016).
Challenges of Cultural Diversity
Motivation is regarded as a key aspect to boost employee productivity. There have been situations where the motivation and reward systems have been appreciated by one, but unappreciated by the other. Australia tends to place greater emphasis o individual compensation package, rewards and personal career development. However, the Indians and Chinese tend to value collective rewards and steady progression. It was found that the Australians performed better when they were individually rewarded and had personal opportunities for growth. However, the Chinese and Indians in the team performed better when they received seniority and promotion based on teams rather than individuals (Mor-Barak 2013).
Value can be created by admitting the existence of differences between the cultures. Open communication must be promoted and training can be provided to the employees belonging to the Indian and Chinese origin so that they can present their thoughts in the best manner possible. They shall be made acquainted with the foreign culture. Not only the other culture, but the Australians must be taught about the Chinese and Indian culture so that there is mutual respect (Boehm and Dwertmann 2014). Also, value can be created if the Indians and Chinese are motivated and rewarded based on high performance teams. This shall instigate the right enthusiasm and keep their motivation level high. The Australian team members can be given opportunities for personal career development and provided with competitive remuneration as it works best for them. Therefore, following the above ways, the challenges can be transformed into opportunities (Nederveen, van Knippenberg and van Dierendonck 2012).
The business case for diversity needs to be created as it connects the workforce diversity and workplace outcomes. There are four operating levels of diversity management: shareholder value, stakeholder value, regulatory context and global value chain. At the shareholder value level, the organization follows single bottom line approach. The organizations measure the contribution of diversity to return on investment, resources or profitability (Boekhorst 2014). At the second level, stakeholder value focuses on triple bottom line in which the organizations measure the contribution to profitability, employee satisfaction at work and sustainability of the ecological environment. At the regulatory context level, the organizations link the relevant legislation to the benefits of diversity by taking forms of political, legal, economic and industry regulation. In the last stage, global value chain connects the diversity management to national and international differences by enhancing cross-national learning (Suedekum, Wolf and Blien 2012).
Case Study of Workplace Diversity
Analysing the characteristics and features of the organization, my own organization focuses on triple bottom line. The impact of diversity is focused on people leading to customer satisfaction, turnover rates and employee satisfaction. The impact of diversity is focused on profits as it shall increase the return on investment. Further, the planet is saved by focusing on the ecological considerations (Podsiadlowski et al. 2013). The organization presents a case in which it considers multiple stakeholders in shaping the business case for diversity. The organization runs awareness and development initiatives, partnerships, employee networks and mentoring to promote gender equality and awareness about diversity related issues. The organization launched a forum for development of talent that encourages the employee of other cultures to disseminate professional development through networks (Peretz, Levi and Fried 2015).
Organizational factors refer to the factors such as organizational culture, stress, leadership, communication, work design environment and decision making. Organizational culture is important as it control the way in which employees behave in the organization. Organizational culture decides the manner in which employees interact at the workplace. Organizational culture enhances the competitive standards and motivates the employees to perform. The employees must be treated equally and no one should feel neglected or left out at the workplace (Peretz, Levi and Fried 2015). The leadership initiatives must be taken for diversity management. The leaders must integrate the diversity practices into all processes of the organization so that they can develop, identify and advance talent. Strong leaders create an environment where people don’t need to get into that defensive posture, or when they do, they pull them back out of it. Another factor is communication that helps binding the employees together. The employees need to discuss and brainstorm ideas that shall help the organization outshine its competitors. Individuals need to communicate effectively to know about each other’s customs, traditions, religions, culture and so on (Podsiadlowski et al. 2013).
A few recommendations are provided to present a strong business case and convince all organizational actors about the importance of diversity management. The organization must involve in gathering information, monitor and analysing activities to formulate a particular business case. The individual, organizational and national level of data must be collected while assessing the social, economic and environmental impact. The organization must develop short-term and long-term visions. Training programmes can help in tackling stereological beliefs. Diversity training can help in educating the employees and training people of different backgrounds. The needs such as learning English language thoroughly while working in the organization, resolving team conflicts and enhancing employee motivation. Diversity training can help counter the challenges and transform them into opportunities. Although an employees’ belief cannot be changed completely, but it shall impart knowledge, increase awareness and accept differences among fellow employees (Peretz, Levi and Fried 2015). The political, social and ethical barriers can be broken down if the employees work together as a team. A diversity program can be initiated by identifying the sponsors and stakeholders. Surveys can be conducted to analyse the behaviour including change management, cultural awareness, conflict resolution and dealing with gender issues. The managers must resolve minor incidents before it becomes huge. Avoid dividing people into categories, as this tends to reinforce the idea of the exclusion, rather than promoting inclusion. Greater focus must be on developing good communication (Nederveen, van Knippenberg and van Dierendonck 2012).
Transforming Challenges into Opportunities
Conclusively, cultural diversity refers to the group of individuals belonging to different societies or cultures. Diversity does not mean simply having a heterogeneous workforce but is s also about developing new products, services and business concepts. The communication style in the Western cultures is less discrete when they present their message. Accents and fluency is an obvious challenge in a diverse workplace. When the employees work in homogeneous teams, they may be willing to settle for the status quo. There may be decline in employee satisfaction and efficiency if the motivational needs are not met. As the organization is Australian, the main language spoken is English. There are numerous employees speaking Mandarin and Hindi. The teams included employees who belonged to different origin such as India or China. The organization faced troubles with accents and fluency causing interpersonal conflict and frustration among employees. It was found that the Australians performed better when they were individually rewarded and had personal opportunities for growth. The Australian team members can be given opportunities for personal career development and provided with competitive remuneration. Analysing the characteristics and features of the organization, my own organization focuses on triple bottom line.
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