Diversity management is the functioning of planning, organizing, directing and bolstering the entire managerial talent for enhancing an organizations environment, where forth all diverse workforce regardless of their similarities and differences, contributes competitively to the effective goals and objective of an organization or a company (Dike, 2013). Primary and secondary dimensions in diversity management include age, gender, sexual orientation; religion, education, geographical location and income (Ashton 2010 cited in Dike, 2013). Globalization and workforce diversity differ as the latter addresses differences among people in a country. Workforce diversity has implications which are significant in management practice. Managers require a shift in their philosophies based on the differences in employees which are detrimental for output levels and employees retention, by responding to the aforementioned without discrimination (Dike, 2013; Robbins, 2002). Managing workforce diversity is significant in harnessing the differences and similarities of employees for meeting organizational goals and objectives, including shareholders interest (Krietner and Kinichi, 2004 cited in Ogbo, et al, 2014).
Although organizational diversity is relevant in achieving Organizational objectives in the diversity management discuss, this essay will argue that organizational diversity is relatively deficient due to lack of managing diversity effectively and management orientations.
The relevance of Organizational diversity in achieving Organizational objectives cannot be overemphasized. Organizational diversity provides organizational development which includes a wide array of employee backgrounds. The implication of workplace diversity on organizational targets is that the organization as a whole has more experience and expertise coverage in critical areas which affect the company. The organization can rely on diversity in talents, skills and experiences, innovation creativity and language skills. Nonetheless, below are some more elaborate pointers on how relevant organizational diversity is in meeting organizational objectives and goals.
• Various opinions and perspective
In an organization where there are varying experiences and background the tendencies for opinioned perspective abounds. This will hence create the opportunities for different solutions when discussing a problem or issues. When managed properly the strengths and insights of this multiplicity of contributions produces heightened productivity with far better result. Claudia Cadena, Strategic human capital management director at Sapurakencana Petroleum Bhd success is determined by the composition of the team.
Mixing capabilities is essential for elements and skills in strategic planning, execution, and communication follow up and conflict resolution. For cadena limited resources in diversity hinders the organizational objectives if not taken advantage of since individuals of similar backgrounds and ideas fails to actualize potentials offered by a diverse work force. Nevertheless, differences in culture enables employees to experience and test new cultures, opinions and ideas.
• Growth of employees
Employee’s personal growth tends to be achieved in an environment with exposure to different ideas, opinions and culture. There is need for employees to adapt to a new diverse environment circumstances, meaning working with differences in personality, culture and background. This confronts ethno centric traits as is overshadowed when work is undergone with a different style and culture.
• Unity of diverse strengths
Diversity in strength helps the organization to enjoy different levels of power and skills in the unison of diverse strength. The strength of a diverse work force is such that the strength of one party in management will combined with other weak in an area of sales, or yet still, the sales strength of one will be matched with the technical strength of the other. That is the unity in diverse strengths.
Also the cultural diversity of the workforce in terms of expertise can be enjoyed by the company, most especially for global organizations whose operations transcends national borders to meet the needs of segmented markets. Representative of same demographics would be paired with clients of such origins to create a sense of bonding with the company through the diverse employee.
• Company appears attractive
A company that employs workforce diversity and an inclusive work environment is attractive to consumers in the marketplace. The younger generations are attracted to such work force adopted by an open minded employer who explores culturally new ideas and styles. If it is the capabilities, skills and talents an organization seeks in an employee, rather than socio-economic background, ethnicity and more, then there is the possibility of a huge range of diverse applicants.
• The schedule advantage
The practical advantage in a diverse workforce is that workers despite their unique time commitments are able to complete organization task all year round. For example Siti Hajar Mohd Dahlan, AVP human resource in Malakoff Corporation Bhd a power generation company, suggests that there diverse work group in terms of race, religion and ethnicity ensures that there is a workforce available during every festive period during the year.
However the complexity of management diversity requires managers to train for handling diversity through a multicultural setting so future training would be passed on to the lower cadre in other to accommodate the diverse workforce as the workplace diversity increases as the organizations economic operation becomes more global because diversity is enormous challenge to the managing cadre (Forbes, nd).
The Nigerian organization is as though uncertainty mars the idea of what actually it takes to effectively manage diversity, partly because the significance and need of organizational diversity only stroke the minds of top management recently. It is thus necessary for the development of appropriate frameworks to organizational performance which researcher and practitioners have already begun to develop (Ogbo, et al, 2014). Managing diversity for achieving a company’s goals which is strategic surpasses the similarities and differences of the workforce or set human resource policy. The global political economy is taken into consideration so also is the demographic functions of the population changes (diversity). The process of managing diversity to attain company objectives are in four stages as follows:
• Recognizing the business economic consequences
• Managing diversity through an effectively developed strategy
• Implementation of organizational change through an action plan
• Diversity strategy must be evaluated
Furthermore diversity is encouraged by an organization by involving employees when formulating and executing any diversity initiative at the workplace and initiating an attitude of openness in the organization is also compulsory. The diversity policy can be sharpened by the training in diversity as a tool. Leaders and managers of organizations should enact diversity policies into every area of the organizations functions and objectives (Forbes, nd). Stereotype and prejudices are some of the common barriers to the management of workplace diversity. Some workforce differences are viewed to be weaknesses which equate diversity hiring with compromising quality and competence. Secondly there is lack of political will on the part diverse employee for inexperience in lobbying for favors and promotions in an organization. Women and colored workers have been excluded from the networks of organizations revealed in research findings (Ely and Thomas, 2001:229, cited in Ogbo, et al, 2014).
For example a comparative research on diversity for 5 companies including Coca cola, Ford Motor, Miljoy Group, Dabboussi International company limited and Dastia siivious Oy discovered that diversity management tools and techniques that the 5 companies used have been successful even though there were some challenges such as discrimination or nepotism, communication problems and resistance to change by coworkers, racism existed (Dike, 2013). Consequently most of the problems diversity manager’s faces in achieving organizational goals are the following:
• The nature of a company and the operations unable the ability of the managers to overcome diversity
• The work force is ineffectively managed by the managers for lack of knowledge
• There is limited openness in communication between the employees and the managers due to poor communication skills by the mangers
• Resource Employee Groups created by the management of large firms are not adequate to direct employees from challenges of diversity management (ibid).
Three companies from the findings of the above research proved that bad experiences emerged accepting their respective religion and culture, still the mangers emphasized that some of the employees felt discriminated against (ibid). Regards a managers ignorance of workplace diversity in an organization, seminars and workshop trainings should be delivered for manager’s diversity management development in organizational performance. This is instilled through business communication reminders including but not limited to e-mails, fax; and sms when the need arises. Mangers should be open to the employees through communication to give the needed confidence to reveal worker challenges (ibid).
Managers and new employees plus the existing staff could be oriented through cultural mentoring to blend in with their schedules and environments in other to benefit from the mentors.
Mangers can shuffle company strategies where the diversity management approach adopted turns ineffectual. Notwithstanding before the execution of the vision of change there must be prior communication. Moreover managers should apply to some form of change management principles before the adaptation of change (ibid).