Diversity in the Workplace

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Diversity in the Workplace Diversity in the Workplace

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Table of contents

    – Roger Wilkins

    When we make soup, we need different ingredients. However, each of them is essential to the taste of the soup. Similarly, in a workplace, we need people with diverse backgrounds and characteristics to develop unique ideas. In this explanation, we discuss diversity in the workplace, its importance, challenges, and benefits. Ready to dive into the topic of diversity in the workplace? Keep on reading!

    Diversity in the Workplace Definition

    Due to globalization and the increased mobility of the population around the world, diversity in the workplace has become the need of the hour and its definition has formed. Many companies have realized this change and have started to embrace it. A company with a diverse workforce offers much more in terms of productivity and performance. Let's discuss what it means.

    Diversity in the workplace means hiring employees of different demographics (age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, education, etc.). It also includes providing equal growth and participation opportunities to all employees.

    For companies, it is essential to have diversity in the workplace; the reason is simple – it enables them to introduce unique business solutions that could disrupt the market resulting in potentially increased market share or profitability.

    While addressing diversity in the workplace, it is crucial to understand its value to a company. Diversity is not just limited to the hiring process; it is a broader concept. Companies must create a culture where employees with diverse backgrounds have the freedom to express themselves and contribute to the common success. It would enhance the reputation of the companies, which would help them to attract top talents in the industry.

    Cities such as New York, London, and Berlin have become business hubs in the world because the companies in these cities feature a high level of diversity in the workplace.

    Importance of Diversity in the Workplace

    The importance of diversity in the workplace is about hiring employees of different backgrounds and allowing them to shine in the workplace. It adds value as these employees help a company to reach its objectives. We cannot downplay the importance of diversity in the workplace. It allows a company to build a workforce that can tackle various challenges.

    Diversity in the workplace also helps in building a well-rounded workforce. These employees have different problem-solving approaches and can grow professionally through collaboration. Diversity in the workplace increases employee engagement as they feel valued by management. Another important aspect of diversity in the workplace is a better understanding of customers. As the employees belong to diverse backgrounds, they represent society comprehensively. It allows the company to know the pulse of the customers and provide personalized products or services to them.

    Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace

    The terms "inclusion" and "diversity" in the workplace are mostly used together; however, these two are different terms that we must understand separately.

    Inclusion means including someone or something as part of a group.

    SHRM defines inclusion as the "achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization's success".1

    Diversity Inclusion
    Diversity means the differences in demographics that make people unique.Inclusion means policies and norms that make people feel included regardless of their unique demographics.
    Diversity in the workplace is about bringing people from different backgrounds together to achieve a common goal.Inclusion is about policies and strategies that help companies implement diversity effectively.
    Diversity can only be effective with inclusion.Inclusion is an important aspect of diversity in the workplace.

    Table 1 - Diversity vs. Inclusion

    Inclusion is equally important in the workplace. The management must ensure that employees feel valued and included in the company. It would ultimately increase the employees' job satisfaction and engagement. This would also ensure that the company reaches its objectives and improves its market position.

    It is now established that diversity in the workplace is tied to the inclusion of employees. These two, when used together, can bring positive change in the workplace culture. Diversity and inclusion policies must be incorporated together not only for ethical reasons but also for financial reasons. It would help companies to reach their objectives and maintain an excellent reputation in terms of workplace culture.

    Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

    What is cultural diversity in the workplace? When employees belong to different cultures, they could add more value to the organization. They bring different sets of skills, experiences, and approaches to the table.

    Cultural diversity in the workplace means forming a workforce that has people from different cultural backgrounds.

    For organizations, it is essential to develop a work environment where they welcome employees from every culture and give them equal opportunities to grow. Corporate culture management is key to ensuring the effectiveness of an organization.

    This is the reason why organizations should introduce cultural competency training to avoid problems. This will assist the organization in dealing with employees from different cultures. It also ensures that employees are aware of their own cultures and respect the practices of other cultures.

    Diversity in the workplace Cultural diversity adds value to an organization StudySmarterFig. 1 - Cultural diversity adds value to an organization

    Diversity in the Workplace Benefits

    Diversity and inclusion in the workplace mean acknowledging each employee's strengths and valuing their existence in the organization and therefore have certain benefits. It is a huge asset for an organization when managed effectively. Below we discuss some top benefits of diversity in the workplace.

    1. More perspectives – Having employees from different backgrounds means having more perspectives. Each of them could bring something new to the table. It helps an organization in problem-solving.

    2. Better decision-making – Having more perspectives leads to better decision-making. Employees could provide disparate information that would help in making better and more informed decisions.

    3. More innovation – With diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the management gives freedom to the employees to express their opinions freely. Employees feel valued, and they come up with unique business solutions. It leads to more innovation in the organization.

    4. Higher employee engagement Employees who feel valued by the company feel secure and satisfied with the job. It increases employee engagement which is essential for getting the desired results.

    5. Improved company reputation – In any industry, organizations that promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace are seen as ideal organizations in terms of work culture. It eventually helps them to attract top talents and improve their workforce.

    Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace

    Diversity in the workplace offers many benefits to organizations; however, some challenges come with it. Managers need to consider the following challenges to make the workplace culture diverse and inclusive.

    1. Communication issues – This is one of the common issues with having a diverse workforce. Employees belonging to different socio-economic backgrounds or age brackets may prefer different ways of communication. It could create problems for the organization as communication issues mean employees do not get the right information. An organization could face delays in projects resulting in a waste of resources.

    2. Cultural stereotypes – Cultural stereotypes and prejudices exist, and these things can negatively affect the culture of an organization. Employees could use these stereotypes to justify their actions. It would also hamper their ability to understand other cultures with an open mind.

    3. Trust deficit – Another challenge of diversity in the workplace is the trust deficit. Employees who belong to the minority group could feel unfairly treated by management. When they encounter any problems, they might not share them with the managers because of a lack of trust. It is the job of managers to build trust with the workforce.

    4. Discrimination – The issue of discrimination could arise with a diverse workforce. Some employees might feel they are being treated unfairly. It could prevent them from expressing themselves, resulting in a lack of job satisfaction.

    Diversity in the Workplace Examples

    Many companies worldwide have successfully integrated diversity and inclusion in the workplace; here are a couple of examples.

    Mastercard

    Mastercard sits comfortably in the top half of the table of companies with diverse workplace environments. It has taken some good initiatives to ensure diversity in the organization. It claims to support the idea of "equal pay for equal work." It also offers employee benefits without discrimination. These benefits include adoption assistance, fertility treatments, etc.2

    Lenovo

    Lenovo has managed to create a diverse workplace culture. It scored 100% on the corporate equality index in 2017 and 2019. This index represents the policies of organizations regarding LGBTQIA+ equality. Due to its policies of promoting diversity in the workplace, it can attract talented employees.2

    Diversity in the Workplace - Key takeaways

    • Diversity in the workplace enables organizations to introduce unique business solutions that could disrupt the market resulting in potentially increased market share or profitability.
    • Hiring employees from diverse backgrounds is not diversity in its true sense; they must be given equal opportunities to grow.
    • Diversity in the workplace helps companies to attract top talents in the industry.
    • Diversity in the workplace helps in building a well-rounded workforce.
    • Diversity increases employee engagement as they feel valued by the management.
    • Diversity and inclusion policies must be incorporated together for effective implementation.

    References

    1. Seattle SHRM, Diversity and inclusion: https://shrm-seattle.site-ym.com/page/Diversity128
    2. Kiely Kuligowski, 6 Examples of Diverse and Inclusive Companies:https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/15970-diverse-inclusive-companies.html
    Frequently Asked Questions about Diversity in the Workplace

    What is diversity in the workplace? 

    Diversity in the workplace means hiring employees belonging to different demographics (age, gender, sex, religion, education, etc.) It also includes providing equal growth and participation opportunities to these employees. 

    What are the 4 types of diversity in the workplace?

    Internal, external, organizational, and worldview are the 4 types of diversity in the workplace. 

    What are the five elements of diversity in the workplace? 

    The five elements of diversity in the workplace are race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

    What is the importance of diversity in the workplace? 

    Diversity in the workplace increases employee engagement as they feel valued by the management. Another important aspect of diversity in the workplace is a better understanding of customers.

    What are 3 ways to promote diversity?

    The 3 ways to promote diversity are: to acknowledge differences, avoid cultural prejudices, and establish trust.

    Which is the best example of diversity in the workplace?

    An organization that hires employees from different cultural backgrounds is the best example of diversity in the workplace. 

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    _________ can enhance the reputation of the companies. 

    Diversity in the workplace is about hiring employees of different backgrounds and allowing them to shine in the workplace

    Diversity in the workplace helps in building a ___________ workforce.

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