Managers encounter enormous challenges as they try to manage diversity within the organization. To start with, they are required to learn how to handle individual versus group fairness. This refers to the extent to which the management should attempt to embrace human resource programs for purposes of dealing with diverse employee groups (Robbins & Judge, 2007).
Another challenge that the management has to encounter is resistance to change. Once an organization has embraced and adopted a working culture, it becomes very hard to try and change it later on. For example, resistance to diversity has made it hard for minorities and women to prosper and survive in the corporate sector.
Resentment is also another issue that the management has to deal with. For instance, because the government imposed the Equal Employment Opportunities on organizations, many companies responded to the change in question by grudgingly complying with the government’s directive (Harvey & Allard, 2009).
Although employee diversity may result in better problem solving and improved creativity, it could also lead to chaos and open conflict in the event that the organization is faced with a lack of respect and mistrust amongst its workforce. As such, organizations need to embrace diversity because it would enable them to undertake their duties effectively. On the other hand, diversity at the workplace is reported to result in enhanced organization effectiveness.
Diversity brings about novel ideas by fuelling innovation and creativity. This leads to the emergence of novel products and services that fulfills the needs and expectations of the customers. Diversity also results in better teamwork. This is because interaction within a diverse workforce results in enhanced motivation and morale, as well as better ideas in the organization (Harvey & Allard, 2009).
In addition, a diverse workforce gives companies a better image, patronage and reputation, in comparison with other companies that have not embraced diversity. Organizations that have embraced diversity are also likely to expand the most because of the reduced target crunch.
Managers who are able to handle diversity properly help the firm to not only improve employee productivity, but also increase their motivation as well. Thus, employees feel valued, and that the firm has accorded them the dignity that they deserve. Diversity also lowers attrition and reduces absenteeism. Population growth is projected to increase further in the coming years and this will mean that organizations will be faced by more challenges and opportunities in as far as the issue of workplace diversity is concerned.
There is the need therefore for the organization to prepare for the aforementioned challenges and opportunities associated with diversity. To do so, organization must first embrace diversity. Accepting multiculturalism is the first step towards embracing diversity (Robbins & Judge, 2007).
As such, the management should try to accept diversity both in words and deeds. The second step is to ensure that you recruit broadly. In case there is a job opening at your firm, ensure that you have in place a diverse applicant tool. Management should work hard to ensure that it does not rely on the existing workforce as a source of referral for future employees.
This is because existing employees are likely to recommend candidates with similar traits. Moreover, the management needs to ensure that the selection process remains free and fair, and that it does not allow for discrimination. More importantly, the management should ensure that the selection tests are related to the job at hand. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that all the other employees are taught on the need to embrace diversity (Robbins & Judge, 2007).
They should be exposed to diversity training so that they can realize the value attached to it. Recognize that various groups have varying values and needs because this is also part of valuing diversity. The management should also work hard to ensure that employees’ differences are reinforced (Schaefer, 2011).
Employees should also be encouraged to value and embrace diverse views. Accentuate the positive elements of diversity as a way of celebrating this concept. At the same time, management should also be ready to deal with the various challenges associated with diversity. They include miscommunication, mistrust, attitudinal differences, lack of cohesiveness, and stress.
The management should also try to avoid stereotypes. These are the preconceived ideas held by an individual regarding an individual. For example, there are beliefs that some specific traits or behavior are shared by members of a given race.
Thus, stereotypes establish classes and try to fit people into them. It is therefore a hindrance to diversity at the workplace. If we allow stereotypes to go on in the organization, this is bound to bring about natural divisions (Robbins & Judge, 2007). To combat this, managers should try and mix the existing teams.
There is also the need for organizations to implement a diversity policy. The lack of a proper diversity policy has been linked to the high rates of attribution experienced by organizations today. Even before trying to hire diverse candidates, it is important first to ensure that the organizational environment and culture support diversity. Failure to do so, we shall be faced with the challenge of retaining employees.
Harvey, C. P., & Allard, M. J. (2009). Understanding and managing diversity (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2007). Organizational Behaviors (12th Edition). New York: Prentice Hall.
Schaefer, R. T. (2011). Racial and ethnic groups (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.